Over the last two years, organizations and mega-companies such as Prudential, Marriott, and John Hopkins Children Hospital have adopted podcasting as a way to not only connect with consumers but employees as well. Plus, in 2017, according to a recent report from Edison Research, 124 million Americans listened to a podcast. Clearly, this is an opportunity for companies to address one of the biggest challenges for leaders: employee engagement. For CEOs, managers, and HR leaders who are often viewed as uncaring, podcasting can help you build better relationships with your employees and provide an easy way to deliver company news.
To gain some actionable advice on how executives can create a lane for podcasting in the workplace, we caught up with Ahyiana Angel, founder at Mayzie Media and podcaster behind Switch, Pivot or Quit, a highly buzzed about personal development and self-help podcast featuring interviews with women who have successfully switched careers.
Can you share two to three podcasting formats that might be suitable for leaders to reach employees in the workplace?
There are many ways to produce engaging content for an employee-centric podcast. The goal is to create the most favorable listening experience for the audience. Ideally, something that will get employees buzzing from the watercooler to meetings. You can think of it as being similar to a company newsletter since you can arrange for the podcast to only exist within the company intranet, which makes it only accessible to those that it is intended for.
The most effective podcast presentation formats would be an educational or interview style — conversations with two or more hosts especially if the company culture lends itself to comedy or discussing light social topics. I would advise that brands stay away from solo-casts, especially hosted by the Founder/CEO, as it may feel isolating to employees. The idea is to create a show that feels inviting, informative, and collaborative.
Connecting and engaging employees is one of the biggest challenges that many business leaders face every day. What topics should leaders consider?
Leaders should consider their audience before developing a company podcast. Who will be listening? Produce a program that will speak to the audience’s interests, fulfills their needs, and helps to establish a deeper connection with the brand. For example, a startup tech company could produce a podcast that incorporates exploring industry trends as well as interviewing innovators in their space. They could also share the company’s “making of the brand” by using storytelling to uncover what the origins of the company looked like. Dig into the emotions, drivers, and motivation that was present early on. In return, this may cause employees to become even more invested in the vision of the brand. They may find themselves rooting for the company in an entirely different capacity.
Beyond having a highly buzzed about podcast, you have a background in entertainment public relations. Are there any topics or nuances a leader should not record for the podcast?
I would suggest that leaders keep the company tone in mind when participating in producing a podcast specifically for their employees. It’s important for the podcast and the style of the show to feel like an extension of the brand. As you mentioned, with my PR background in mind, my advice would also be to avoid making statements on the podcast that are not set in stone with relation to the business and growth as well as avoiding getting deep into political issues if that is not typically something infused in your company brand. The podcast is there to help foster community and inspire, not cause tension and division.