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What’s the best way of staying in touch with your workforce in these weird times?

We’ve been in unusual times for a while – so much so that it’s almost becoming, well… usual.

Now things are uncertain again with some people going back to work, or doing some hours in the office, or heading back on the road for socially distanced meetings – or some sort of combination of these and more.

Regardless of your situation, and your business’ circumstances, communication remains key. In fact, it’s even more important, isn’t it? You’ll have new rules, new procedures, all manner of health and safety considerations, and it seems to be changing every couple of days.

So, what’s the best way of staying in touch with staff?

Whether everyone’s still working from home, or they’re split between home and workplace, or they’re out there on the road – you need to keep checking in.

Probably the easiest way is to do a daily email newsletter. Your staff can read that wherever they are and in their own time. But it isn’t very personal is it? And it’s all too easy to miss something important or – heaven forbid – someone bin it without really reading it at all.

So how about doing regular video conference calls so they can see you and hear what you have to say? That’s a great way of getting the information across. But it’s reliant on everyone being available at a set time, and if you have people out driving they’d miss out. It’s not very personal either when you end up with dozens of people all on one call… not to mention the inevitable technical issues.

So thinking about this, the actual best way would be to just chat to each staff member regularly, one to one, at a time and location which suits them. Maybe you could do it every day?

But woah, hang on – that is WAY too time consuming, isn’t it? And a real logistical nightmare to plan out.

Well… what if it wasn’t?

Let me introduce you to the idea of an internal podcast.

Don’t be put off if you don’t really understand what a podcast is or the slightest clue how to go about doing one. Let me break it down. Essentially, an internal podcast is an audio recording of yourself, or someone else from within the business, talking through anything that’s changed, any action points, answering any queries, etc. That’s it. ‘Podcast’ is just the name given to them years ago that has stuck.

So you can really easily start to do an internal podcast, even as frequent as every day if you like, and then allow your workers to listen on their own terms – at home, in the office, in their vehicle, while out exercising, in bed, in the bath… you get the idea.

You also keep that one-to-one connection. You’re talking directly to them – not a load of blank faces on Zoom.

And it’s super easy – no expensive equipment required.

Here are a few quick tips on how to put together a good internal podcast:

Keep it simple
An internal podcast doesn’t really need loads of bells and whistles. Remember, you aren’t releasing this to the world, so don’t get caught up worrying about fancy intros and clever production if you don’t need it. It’s important to have direction – know what you’re going to get across and don’t waffle on. People only listen to ‘public’ podcasts because they get something from it, so it’s no different for a ‘private’ one.

Short and sweet
Everyone is busy and time is precious. Why take an hour to say what you can get across in half an hour? And heck, if you can say it in 30 minutes, you can probably say it in 20 minutes. Trust me, your staff will appreciate it if you’re brief. Remember, this can always sit alongside other forms of internal communication, so you can point people to your intraweb or newsletter for a more indepth look at things.

Make it personal
There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and for all of us it can get overwhelming. The joy of an internal podcast is you can talk about the stuff that matters, in practical ways. So, less an overview of new regulation, and more about the one way system on the stairs at the back of the office. And give staff a shout out for work they’ve done – it’s an opportunity to really connect with your workforce.

Answer questions
Podcasting isn’t a one way street. Ask questions just like you would do in real life, and make it really clear how you want staff to respond. Most importantly, answer them on future episodes. Make sure your staff feel there’s value in listening. Invite your workers to come up with ideas for the podcast itself – and maybe some of them might actually want to appear on it

Of course you’ll have a ton of questions at this point. How to record it, how to publish it, how to tell staff about it – and plenty in between.

If you’d like a free consultation call to talk about how an internal podcast could work for you and your business, just give me a shout: james@jae.media

About the author, James

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