Building Deeper Employee Relationships with Internal Podcasts

Marketing friends, meet the newer member of the corporate communications family: the internal podcast. But unlike some of its brothers and sisters, internal podcasts aren’t meant for blasting notifications or doling out one-way information — or at least they shouldn’t be. Just like the consumer and B2B podcasts we all know and love, internal corporate podcasts are meant to tell stories and present content in a creative and convenient way. 

Thinking about starting a corporate podcast? This could be an incredible idea. But you want to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and goals. Just take it from the seasoned podcast pros we’ve interviewed. In today’s blog, we’re dishing up some of the best internal podcast outcomes you can aim for. 

Goal #1: Engage Employees

The number of disengaged employees has averaged a whopping 70% for nearly two decades. That may not be such a big deal if it weren’t for engagement’s direct correlation to productivity and profit. But it is a big deal — not just for corporate health, but for human well-being, too. Among the top reasons for employee disengagement? Communication, trust in management, and lack of connection to the organizational vision. And an internal podcast may just be the ticket to combat all three struggles. After all, podcasts create a unique intimate conversational setting that does wonders for building trust and connection. It’s hard to find that mix in other forms of internal communication. 

“[An internal podcast] is very personal,” says Scott Monty, Principal of Scott Monty Strategies and former Global Head of Social Media at Ford Motor Company. “If you’re doing an internal podcast well, it doesn’t seem like a corporate mouthpiece. It should seem like a series of stories.”

True employee engagement isn’t about just capturing the audience’s attention between the hours of 9 and 5. It’s about cultivating an emotional commitment to the organization and its goals — wherever and whenever that may be. 

Luckily, internal podcasting doesn’t require employees to be chained to their desks and listen from a laptop. While some early adopters of corporate podcasts have hidden their shows behind firewalls, many — like American Airlines’ Tell Me Why — are now making them public (or at least making private podcasts available on public apps for easier listening). 

Goal #2: Communicate Effectively

Just because your podcast is internal doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve the same strategy and planning as your external channels. But just as you developed your B2B podcast strategy, you must start with the most basic, foundational questions to establish how and why your internal podcast exists. To Mat Zucker, Prophet’s Marketing Practice Lead, these include:

  1. The Employee Journey
  • What does the employee journey currently look like?
  • What’s available to employees now?
  • At what volume and velocity will you produce content?
  1. Channels
  • Will your internal podcast be a part of the corporate communications mix?
  • Will the podcast be an independent project with a specialized initiative?
  1. Ownership
  • Who will run the show?
  • Is it a joint venture between departments?
  • Whose resources and budget will this come from?
  1. Concept
  • What’s the idea for the podcast? 
  • What’s the challenge you’re solving? (Why should it exist?)
  1. Success
  • What does success look like? (e.g. employee satisfaction, engagement scores, learning a skill)
  • Do you need a communications plan? 
  • Will the podcast receive the same respect and structure as other projects?

Goal #3: Build Trust

Perhaps most importantly, starting an internal podcast should be about building trust with your employee community, having genuine conversations at all levels, and getting feedback on the company’s products/services and culture — something no email newsletter or all-company alert could ever do. 

“The point of a show is to develop trust and love,” says Jay Acunzo, Founder of Marketing Showrunners. “You’re going deeper in a world trending more shallow. It’s this trust accelerant you’re throwing into other activities you do.” 

At Casted, our fearless leader, Lindsay Tjepkema, regularly encourages podcasters to “seek first to connect, not convert.” (Seriously, I think all marketers need this on a t-shirt, don’t you?) This same mantra should hold true for your internal podcast. Of course, accomplishing this kind of meaningful connection is not without its challenges. For Jay, internal podcasters must:

  1. Say something that matters. Your employees don’t need more alerts and notifications from around the business (make it stoppp!). Instead, dive deeper to explore your company’s history, why certain decisions are made, or how employees can grow their careers, for example.
  2. Get listeners to the end. “As a showrunner, you should be paranoid people will bail at all times,” says Jay. Conduct an experience listeners immerse themselves in instead of just talking incessantly. Make it so good that listening time feels like it flies by.
  3. Deepen the audience relationship. As an internal showrunner, you may be in marketing, corporate communications, or HR, but you should be acting like a product manager working to better know your audience. Glean insights and take them back to the team for regular improvement and audience-building.
  4. Avoid stagnation. Even the most successful shows are at risk of growing stale if they never innovate. Watch, listen, and learn, and continue to reinvent the show by sharing content that matters most to your audience. 

“Use the same ideals of community development,” says Jay. “It’s just your teammates or employees instead of prospects and customers.”

If you’re thinking about starting an internal podcast, don’t forget that your employees are listeners who want to be engaged in the same ways your external audience does. With regular communication, strategy tweaking, and content development, you might just create a show that gets more attention than the leftover morning meeting donuts.

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At Casted, we’re a team of both creators and listeners. We get the struggles of not only building an engaging podcast, but one that your critical audience of employees will enjoy. Stop guessing and start knowing with the industry’s first podcasting platform for managing your entire show, activating it across channels (and audiences), and measuring its success with deeper insights than just the number of downloads. Go ahead and take a look under the hood of the Casted platform and start maximizing your brand podcast today.