Effective internal communication is the key to fostering a cohesive and motivated workforce. By embracing innovative channels, your disability service can lead through the use of an in-house podcast, to bridge hierarchical gaps, creating a more connected and informed organisational ecosystem. In this blog post, we will explore how an in-house podcast serves as a catalyst for strengthening internal connections, bringing leadership messages to life in real-time and cultivating a sense of unity among employees.
Breaking Down Hierarchical Barriers
- Podcasts as a Dynamic Information Channel: In-house podcasts serve as an accessible channel for disseminating updates, news and messages from organisational leaders. Unlike traditional written communication, podcasts inject vitality into the delivery of information, capturing the attention of employees and transforming routine updates into engaging conversations. They do not require an email to be opened, to be read and to be responded to, if necessary. An in-house podcast will load automatically to the podcatcher of the staff member’s choice. They can play the episode whilst driving, running, doing the dishes and so on. Audio is the most accessible medium for everyone without a hearing impairment. The hearing impaired can still receive this material in written form, keeping everyone in the loop. The same private rss feed used for the audio is also capable of sending .pdf files to ensure oral and written options are available simultaneously.
- Corporate Updates: In many organisations, the organisational structure can create a perceived distance between leadership and the rest of the workforce. In-house podcasts create an intimacy through the spoken word that the written word just cannot. Leaders have a platform to communicate in a more relatable and approachable manner. This departure from formal written communication fosters a sense of transparency and openness within the organisation. The voice is not somewhere to hide but instead opens the listener to the speaker’s motives and drives. The direction your organisation is headed is much easier to convey orally but having everyone together, all at once, is rarely possible. An in-house podcast allows management to speak to every other member of staff, one on one, one at a time, all at once. A truly remarkable yet underutilised communication tool to change your organisation’s understanding of where you’re headed and how its getting there.
- Fostering Real-Time Connectivity: Real-time communication is a hallmark of in-house podcasts. Whether it’s a live broadcast or a regularly scheduled episode, this immediacy allows leadership messages to reach employees in the moment. This real-time connectivity is particularly crucial for disseminating time-sensitive information, responding to emerging situations and maintaining an agile and well-informed workforce. The growing number of climate related emergencies make this form of communication invaluable. By having an episode outlining protocols and procedures for, say, bushfires, staff can refresh their understanding of what’s required at the start of the fire season. Equally episodes on flooding, heat waves, storms and blackouts could also be created, updated as needed and remain part of the feed for refreshers and reference material.
- Flattening the Organisational Structure: The conversational and humanising aspect of audio content plays a pivotal role in breaking down hierarchical barriers. When leaders engage in candid discussions through podcasts, it humanises their roles and positions, making them more approachable to employees at all levels. This, in turn, contributes to flattening the organisational hierarchy, at least psychologically, creating an environment where every team member feels valued and heard. It also avoids the transmission of errors as the message passes from Corporate to middle managers to team leaders to staff. Interpretation errors can still occur but the original message is disseminated to all and this lowers the possibility of multiplying errors through the organisation.
- Voices from Every Level: Incorporating voices from various levels of the organisation in the audio productions further reinforces a sense of unity. A round table discussing implementation ideas for new service options allows the organisation to access a wider set of inputs and to disseminate these to all other staff and managers. This ensures ideas are nurtured, ways of implementing them are based upon the experience of all levels with the service and have, therefore, a greater chance of improving the client’s lived experiences. Whether it’s featuring team members from different departments, project leaders or front-line staff, an in-house podcast highlights the collective strength of the organisation. This representation ensures that everyone feels included in the larger narrative, reinforcing the shared sense of purpose.
A Conversational Touch
- Humanising Leadership: A decision to use a conversational tone for audio content has a profound impact on humanising leadership figures. Through podcasts, leadership can share not only professional insights but also their personal drivers. Their “voice” and their mission become one and the same. This personal touch makes leadership decisions more understandable, fostering a stronger connection between leaders and employees. This sense of familiarity contributes to a workplace culture where everyone feels like part of the larger, interconnected whole. This benefit cannot be overstated. Audio is the preeminent medium for building connections through authenticity. Leaders who can and actually do speak to their people will be able to take the entire organisation with them. This is especially helpful during times of change. In the disability sector change is, well, the point and the norm. Toss in external changes such as the NDIS reforms and the ability to speak directly to staff and bring them with you through what could be an upheaval but with good leadership is a dance to a new way of doing things. The ability to speak to every staff member, one on one, all at once is a powerful tool and one of the major benefits of an in-house podcast.
- Fostering a Unified Organisational Culture: This flows on from the humanising effects just discussed and is, in a sense, an emergent effect of humanised leadership. In-house podcasts contribute to the cultivation of a unified organisational culture. The conversational style creates an atmosphere where everyone, regardless of their position, feels like an integral part of the same community. This shared culture becomes a unifying force that transcends individual roles, promoting collaboration, mutual support and a collective commitment to the organisation’s mission based upon the qualities of the leadership team. When leadership gives a voice to all levels within the organisation, the effects become embedded in the culture. Not every episode necessarily needs to include all levels of employees but to do so on a regular basis is best practice. Say one or two episodes in a ten week season.
- Creating a Sense of Belonging: Following on from the humanising voice leading to a unified vision, the human voice plays a crucial role in creating a sense of belonging with the organisation. When leaders and team members engage in open conversations, it sends a powerful message that every voice matters. And when this is amplified through consistent episode and seasonal structures, the power of the spoken word has time to work its wonders. Then the humanising effect of the voice creates outcomes just not possible with an email or video meeting.
A Vision Driven Organisation
To sum things up, by breaking down hierarchical barriers, facilitating real-time communication and infusing a conversational touch into leadership messaging, in-house podcasting transforms routine updates into opportunities for connection, collaboration, leadership and mission reinforcement.
There you go. The next episode in season 11 is about building an engaged workforce through in-house podcasting.
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