Podcasting Adds Personality to Employee Communications

Liveblogging of session presented by Sabita Singh of ALTANA Pharma

introduced monthly series of podcasts from their V.P. of Sales, called “Ron’s Cast”:

  • 10 to 15 minutes in length
  • originally scripted it, but once he go comfortable they just prepared questions
  • audio recorded in his office
  • he has a great voice and personality for this
  • writes his own blog posting
  • indexed so people can skip to the part they are interested in
  • archived
  • flash player
  • English only currently, but they incorporate French clips where they can
  • promoted by sending email to all staff; gave out iPods to all employees; staff can subscribe through iTunes; word of mouth has been important
  • early adoption; 80% of employees listen

I like that Sabita incorporated audio into her presentation, including clips from Ron’s Cast and comments from employees about the podcast.

This is one of the first companies to use podcasting internally; has been profiled 3 times by the Globe and Mail.

Also be useful for:

  • employee events, promotional (interview speakers as “teazers”)

Things to consider:

  • do you have enough content
  • are you willing to develop a blog (podcasts are usually hosted on a blog to allow comments)
  • do you have a suitable show host?

Q&A:

Security since this is internal?

  • housed on ALTANA’s intranet, inside the firewall
  • podcast link available through iTunes, but it is still secure inside the firewall

How does this fit into other internal communications?

  • quarterly staff meeting
  • newsletter
  • podcast

Is it just Ron talking?

  • no, they incorporate interviews

What percentage of employees download versus listen from the intranet?

  • sales force are listening to it via iTunes, the rest are using Flashplayer

Is this making people feel more connected to the company; is it motivating the sales force to sell more?

  • used the podcast to get people excited and engaged about a new product – the key function of the podcast
  • they have not quantified it yet

Does he respond to comments on the blog himself?

  • Yes, he does not have a communications team handle it for him

Is Sabita an employee of ALTANA?

  • Sabita is from an agency working for ALTANA Pharma. They do not have enough people in the IT or corporate communications team to produce their own.

Would they consider video?

  • they have considered it; more expensive.
  • they hope to down the road

How would you adopt this for non-profit agency?

  • speak to your community
  • promote your events
  • does not matter if it is a small organization; easy way to promote yourself inexpensively, make yourself stand out and look innovative

80% listenership is amazing compared to other internal corporate communications.

How often do they record?

  • released once a month; they sometimes record two at one time for efficiency
  • recording one hour, editing one hour
  • most difficulty is co-ordinating everyone’s schedules to get together to put the recording together.

ALTANA is going to be bought; how is that going to affect Ron’s podcast?

  • she doesn’t anticipate it changing
  • it will help tell employees what is happening with the changes, will help explain how it is going to impact everyone.

What equipment do they use?

  • Digidesign, Audacity, Garage Band
  • they mic the individuals being recorded

Have they thought of repurposing it for the clients the sales team are visiting?

  • not really recorded for that purpose, but good idea
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