By Jason Lee Miller
There were so many concepts, and so much information packed into Shel Holtz’ presentation on using podcasts for internal communication at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo, that we’ll have to save the fanfare and just jump right into it.
“Employees who are not engaged can undermine the best communications,” said Holtz. “I’m really discouraged about the state of internal communication and I think technology is to blame. Email and intranets have killed communication.”
In the fast-paced office environment, employees don’t have time to read a deluge of email or to peruse a windy internal blog. “We become blurb writers,” he said, denying company employees the information and connection they really need to be great team players.
Often, when items are posted, they appear in order of chronology, not importance. For example, the top posting on the intranet may be an announcement about the dress code, rather than the a major acquisition, news of which could be at the bottom of the page.
“One-shot” emails are sent out to all employees, whether or not the information is applicable to them or not. “Some just delete email as soon as they get it, because the volume of news is crazy and irrelevant.”
“Why do we communicate to employees?” he asks. “To persuade. We want them to be brand ambassadors. We want them to help the company reputation. Organizations with large populations of actively engaged employees see double digit growth.”
“Something you’ll never an employee tell his spouse is ‘no breakfast for me, gotta go read the intranet at work.'”
He says the number one complaint from employees used to be not being able to find information. Now, the number one complaint is that they have no time to read it all. There are projects, deadlines, pressure to complete, but also have to read a 1500 word article.
The benefit of podcasting, he says, is that it allows you to get the right message to the right people, and get it to them when they have time to hear it. Podcasting is not hard or cost prohibitive. It allows you to target an employee audience, international employees, too. You can introduce a new employee, where he’s from, why he is with the company, and you can put all of that on an internal RSS feed, and host it on the company blog.
Holtz gave four benefits an employee podcast can help achieve:
1. Build trust in employee audience. If there’s no trust, why would you want to work hard for this company? We’ve put you through this tortuous interview process, we’ve said how important you are, but we’re going to monitor every click, every website, every email. Now be engaged! There’s no trust there. Employees want to be led by leaders who lead.
2. Employees want to involved in the decisions that are made. That doesn’t mean it has to go their way. They just have to feel they are involved.
3. Role knowledge: What is my job and how does it contribute to the bottom line?
4. A connection to the marketplace: The vast majority of employees are never in touch with customers. They don’t know about the competition, or what the impact of the economy is on the company. If you have an environment where employees understand marketplace factors, they’re never surprised by change, or say “Who the hell is running this place? The Keystone cops probably.”
About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.