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Listen While You Work

Podcasts are increasingly popular; tap that energy for internal talent development.

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Tue Jul 09 2024

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According to Listeners, Growth & Trends, some 465 million podcast listeners exist worldwide, with the number expected to rise to 505 million by the end of this year. Most likely, among them are your employees.

Under the heading of meeting your employees where they are, in terms of technology and information modes, talent development leaders can tap podcasts for learning and development, engagement, retention, and more.

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In “Internal Podcasts From A to Z,” Shannon Martin advises on how to get started.

Go Team!

As with so many things TD related, launching an internal podcast cannot be done in isolation.

To make your internal podcast a success, you want to gain buy-in from top leadership. You can do so by explaining the benefits of this form of communication to both the organization and employees, state the problem the podcast will solve, talk about the resources you plan to use, and share your vision and marketing plan for the podcast campaign. Some of those leaders may even become your champions, which will be instrumental as you try to generate buzz around the podcasts.

You’ll also want to work with IT on the technology you use to record and post episodes. Additional partners and players include, as Martin writes, “a host; a producer (who will plan episodes, manage strategy, and direct recordings); a technical manager; a postproduction editor; and a lead for publishing and marketing, including internal promotions.”

An external vendor is another possible partner in your endeavor depending on your budget, team size and bandwidth, and capabilities.

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Strategize

Why are you launching the podcast initiative? Who is your audience? What types of podcasts do employees currently listen to? What format (interview—and if so, external or internal leaders, an individual speaker, two varying viewpoints, and many others) do you plan to use?

Those are among the questions to ask yourself as you move forward. For example, are you trying to reach employees in one department? Engage disengaged employees across the organization?

Do employees need to hear from senior leaders aftera merger and acquisition because they feel disconnected to the new organization? Would hearing from teammates foster inclusion? Would employees feel listened to if you heard managers respond to their questions on-air?

Would time-stressed employees be aided in their learning and development via podcasts they can listen to during their commute or before or after their lunch hour? Are you sharing wellness tips—mental and physical health, financial, social—by giving employees information in a format that they can access while they are walking, discuss with colleagues, and gets them away from another meeting and more screen time?

Other considerations include title of the podcast and individual issues, branding, marketing and communications, and frequency of distribution.

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Production and Postproduction

Depending on whether the content you produce is proprietary will be a factor in the platform you use to host your podcasts.

If you’re interviewing external leaders for your episodes, ensure that they are properly prepared and equipped for the discussion. Have a pre-interview to increase their comfort level and test for recording volume and clarity.

Consider the type of microphone you and your guest will use, editing software, and tools to provide you with transcript for purposes of accessibility.

Keep in mind the intro and outro for episodes that can hook listeners and leave them with a takeaway or reflection question.

Measure and Evaluate

Most external vendors will be able to help you with analytics: how many listeners do your episodes have, are employees listening all the way through, do individuals tend to stop listening at a particular point?

You can also ask listeners about the experience. What would they like to learn more about, in what format? Is the length of the podcast ideal for their purposes and preferences?

Are you hearing employees talk about what they’ve heard, or putting into practice content from the podcasts?

Use the data to continue to improve the podcast experience for your listeners. Remember that those 505 million listeners are probably onto something.

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