The latest edition of Harvard Business Review (June 2007) has a small note on how employees can leverage technology to learn and revisit their company details and how companies, in turn, can leverage the same technology for internal branding. The article, Employees get an Earful, by Anders Gronstedt, talks about how employees, particularly salesmen, can either listen to podcasts or watch vodcasts (video podcasts) to get latest updates on their company, just before their meetings and calls.

“At companies that use internal podcasting or vodcasting, employees don’t have to stop working to learn, and they can make productive use of their downtime. People can listen while driving to client meetings or watch while waiting in airports. For those who don’t mind blurring the line between free time and work, podcasts enable constructive intrusions into commuting, walking the dog, or running on the treadmill”

According to the article, “Portable media players, including video-enabled phones, have rapidly become mainstream tools for internal business communications”. Now that initial investments are controllable (as mentioned in the sidebar “Getting started in internal podcasting”), companies have started exploring this channel with keen interest.

With companies like IBM, Xerox, National Semiconductor,etc. incorporating this in their internal systems and processes, it is only a matter of time that others would follow, too.

Looking ahead, podcasts and vodcasts would act as critical tools in internal communications, in cases where employees have an established comfort level with the technology. It is quite relevant for salesmen/field reps, since they need to be connected to the system real-time and need to process information under time constraints. There are cases where employees are more comfortable with this technology, and prefer it over white papers and training sessions.

Subsequently, this could be incorporated into other internal functions of the organization – be it in terms of training modules, or PR or internal branding.
As companies create data/media tools on a regular basis ensuring regular usage by employees, this can be considered as yet another element in the emerging Social media: Encouraging C2C interaction by way of developing communities and storing podcasts on social platforms like blogs & forums, employees are encouraged to get more engaged with the company – a perfect way for reinforcing internal branding.

…worth keeping a watch on..

For now, something to cheer for the workaholics – NO time is FREE time now! 😉

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