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Amanda Cupido is an author, TEDx speaker and entrepreneur. She is the founder and chief executive officer of Lead Podcasting and an adjunct professor in the School of Media at Seneca Polytechnic.

As podcasting celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, the medium can be credited with solving a lot of big problems: exonerating the wrongly convicted, bringing justice to cold cases and helping reconnect long lost family members. They’re also widely popular; Statista cites there are now more than 500 million podcast listeners, worldwide. As someone who made their first podcast in 2010, I’ve been invested long before they were mainstream. Now, I’m confident a new slate of business problems will be solved with podcasts.

It’s no surprise that leaders and organizations have taken advantage of the medium to help establish their reach and credibility. Podcasts have been proven to be an effective marketing tool; they are the most trusted medium and 75 per cent of the U.S. podcast listeners surveyed say they have listened to a podcaster for a product endorsement, according to a 2023 study done by Acast.

But a new use case has been emerging to help deal with an increasing concern within organizations: employee engagement.

Gallup’s 2023 State of the Global Workplace report shows that less than a quarter of Canadian employees are engaged at work. Gallup also reported that U.S. employee engagement has reached its lowest level since 2015. And this is hurting business; a survey done by Psychometrics Canada shows there’s a direct link between employee engagement and productivity.

The intersection of a general decrease in workplace engagement and over all increase in podcast listening, has led many organizations to land on the solution of internal podcasting.

They are being touted as the future of internal communications with “transformative power.” The thing is – it’s hard to learn about them, because they’re private. Most are being shared on encrypted RSS feeds or directly on local intranet sites.

As the founder of Lead Podcasting, I’ve overseen the production of numerous internal podcasts for organizations and I’m here to pull back the curtain.

The first internal podcast I created was in 2020, at the start of the pandemic. I was working with a global non-profit organization that had more than 30,000 employees across nearly 100 countries. At the time, local lockdown measures differed, public work assignments needed to be adjusted and the CEO was newly appointed. The workforce was disjointed and scared.

Cue the podcast.

The organization had three goals with the podcast: provide a sense of connection, instill trust in the CEO and mobilize knowledge. Each episode featured the voices of two employees: one who was interviewed by a communications representative and one who was interviewed by the CEO. The CEO interviews were booked back-to-back and recorded in bulk sessions in order to streamline his involvement. The communications representative was more flexible with her availability and acted as the co-host to introduce each episode and incorporated timely updates into the script. The episodes were released every other week for three months.

It was an instant success. They distributed new episodes through an internal newsletter, which saw a more than 20-per-cent increase in engagement. The qualitative results were even more powerful: offices who had a team member featured would gather around and listen together when it was released, cheering for their colleague. A long-standing employee, who had worked decades for the organization, was honoured to finally get one-on-one time with the CEO – and began tearing up after hearing the CEO directly thank them for their work. The communications team had teams across the country pitching ideas for future episodes. I was told it sparked something within the team that hadn’t been seen before with any other type of internal communication.

Since then, Lead Podcasting has recently seen an increase in requests for production support for these kinds of podcasts. We’ve created internal podcasts for organizations like Sleeman Breweries and World Vision International, but know the trend reaches far beyond our slate. There have been success stories with companies like Shopify, Rogers and American Airlines.

Examples of how you can use internal podcasting include:

  • Employee recognition: After achieving a certain internal goal, employees are invited on the podcast for an interview to share learning and successes to inspire others. If you already have an app that provides a digital “star” or “high five” as a form of recognition, getting a specific number of accolades can lead to a podcast interview spot.
  • Onboarding: Have introductory materials recorded and provided to employees so they can get to know the company’s leaders and processes.
  • Recaps: After an annual general meeting or town hall, have a podcast that summarizes the main points. This is proven to increase chances of employee replay and allow for those who missed it to catch up quickly.
  • Knowledge mobilization: To humanize messages from senior leadership, don’t just send a mass email – share company information through conversation. Invite employees to submit questions to be answered on the podcast.

If you’re excited to get started, let me leave you with some advice: don’t just go hit record. Like any strong communications or marketing tactic, creating an internal podcast should feed into a larger strategy. Take the time to establish what you’re wanting to accomplish and develop a format that supports that vision.

This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about the world of work. Find all Leadership Lab stories at and guidelines for how to contribute to the column here.

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