Employee Engagement Manager Speaks With uStudio About Starting a Private Podcast
Zoe Bell | Podcasting
Meredith Leitch, the communication and employee engagement manager at Intel Graphics, reached out to us on International Podcast Day with a quote that intrigued us. We connected and Meredith shared information about her private podcast strategy and the engagement it has created with her listeners.
Hi, Meredith! How familiar were you with podcasting before starting this private podcast initiative?
“I always knew podcasts would be a great addition to our internal communications strategy, however I wasn’t a podcast listener myself,” Meredith said. “I talked with friends and family whom I know enjoy listening to podcasts on the way to work and asked them which they liked and why. I gave some a try (Armchair Expert, Joe Rogan) and thought for sure I am going to design my podcasts significantly shorter.”
Do you host all of your private podcast episodes?
“I think having consistency in the host is best, however I also enjoy having guest hosts that have more experience about the topic. Since we are a very technical group and I am non-technical, I leverage all the intelligent engineers around me. I started listening to other podcasts to get ideas about different host styles so I can continually improve, however being myself seems to work the best.”
Can you speak to how you went about building and since managing your private podcast content calendar and overall strategy?
“Graphics on the Record" podcasts were created to provide a world-wide population of 4,000+ employees the opportunity to hear about Intel’s graphics business and get excited about our future. The podcasts typically run about 10 minutes, which is even longer than the average attention span in an ever-diminishing society. The calendar and topics are created by asking our employees what they would like to know more about and finding those content experts to be guests on the show. I don’t plan topics or guests more than a few weeks out and try to publish at least one per week. The strategy is intentionally built to be flexible so that it supplements a regular day job and doesn’t take precedence over that job.”
In what way was organizing a content initiative for private podcasting easier or more challenging than others?
“I believe podcasts are a much easier way to communicate than other methods, such as having open forums, building beautiful PowerPoint slides, writing emails, and more. The prep time for podcasts is minimal and includes researching the guest, as well as the topic, that we will discuss. I send the guest a few questions in advance but after that it becomes a natural flow of a conversation. Many of our leaders are engineers who are more comfortable talking 1:1 verse in big open forums and can really get into the story that they want to share.”
What sort of private podcast content are you seeing the greatest engagement among your employees?
“The podcasts were designed to give people an update on the business, however, we are finding out that employees also like to hear about people within the organization. For example, I had two guests join an episode last month to talk about millennials in the workplace and what they value. I received a lot of feedback from long-time managers who really appreciated learning how they can be more effective with their millennial workforce. It was eye-opening for them to realize that millennials value understanding the bigger picture of their work, having flexibility to do things outside their normal job responsibilities, and developing new skill sets every couple of years.”
Do you have any tips for creating consistent content for your private podcast?
“The biggest tip I tell people that want to start a podcast is to just go for it. Don’t overthink it. Purchase good audio equipment, secure a private room for recording, and produce an interesting name for the podcast series that reflects what you will be covering. I chose to have consistent music and an intro which I have only updated once. I think a branded look and feel is important, so people know what to expect. I like to throw in at least one edgy question so the guest’s sense of humor comes out and they become more authentic. A member of my team also edits each guest’s portrait into a neon portrait using Adobe Photoshop. I would also suggest getting over yourself! The podcasts are designed for the audience and if you keep that in mind—then you won’t worry about how you sound. I, for example, don’t like hearing my own voice and assume many people can relate to that. Also, if you are having trouble thinking past the first 5 private podcast episodes, talk to your audience! Send out a survey to the workforce and talk to leadership about what they want to share with the employees. Topics are limitless.”
How do you get employees excited to listen to your podcast?
“I’m looking for different ways to engage employees to listen to the podcasts. For instance, I started transcribing them so that employees have more options to get the information in their own preferred way. One idea that I would like to try is to plan the topic out in advance and advertise that I’m going to be speaking with X guest about X topic and have them submit questions. Then, when I read their question, I will mention their name on air and follow up with some type of small recognition for them."
Meredith proves that you don’t have to have a background in podcasting or be an avid podcast listener to incorporate this consumer medium into your workforce. If you are interested in starting a private podcast initiative of your own, you can request a free personalized demo of our private podcasting solution on our website.
With uStudio, your enterprise can leverage podcasting and video for your internal communications and training needs without sacrificing IT security and scalability. Visit our website to learn more.
About Meredith: Meredith has over 25 years of experience in Human Resources and Internal Communications for high tech companies. She has worked at Intel for 20 years and is responsible for establishing internal comms strategy in conjunction with senior leaders in the Graphics industry so that employees are engaged and informed about Intel’s vision.
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