- As people get more comfortable working from their home offices, tech companies need to find new ways to increase employee engagement and improve retention.
- In a Q&A with Jen Grogono, CEO of uStudio, she explained the benefits of audio-based communication.
- Instead of relying on read/write mediums, providing company communication through audio and video platforms gives employees flexibility over how to consume content.
Tech culture is notorious for perks like ping pong tables and kombucha on tap in order to edge out the competition for top employees. But as people get more comfortable working from their home offices, tech companies need to find new ways to increase employee engagement and improve retention.
According to Jen Grogono, CEO of uStudio, the key is audio-based employee communications; things like podcasts and video.
People don’t read as much as they used to, many dislike meetings, and audio-based communication increases understanding 500% vs text-based learning resources.
Grogono works with Dell, Salesforce, Facebook and others to change their meetings, blogs, and internal newsletters into engaging, streamable podcast episodes only available to employees.
In the coworking industry sector, a large number of centers have podcast rooms/studios for their members to use, and this may become more popular in the future of work.
In a Q&A with Jen Grogono, she explained the benefits of audio-based communication.
Allwork.Space: What are some ways tech companies can increase employee engagement and improve retention?
Jen Grogono: Before the pandemic, tech companies used traditional lifestyle perks to attract and retain top performing employees. Large urban campuses were filled with young software engineers in t-shirts playing ping pong on breaks, lounging on ergonomic chairs, and sipping on free nitro cold brew.
But when working from home became the new normal, employees began looking for new meaning in their work and new ways to engage with teams.
Today, tech company leaders can expect their employees to value more personal work experiences that fit naturally into their daily lifestyle. Employees want to feel understood as much as they want to feel informed.
One of the best ways for tech companies to increase employee engagement and, ultimately, hang on to those valuable employees longer, is to transition from long instructional emails and fixed meeting appointments into streaming media.
By serving employees podcasts over PowerPoints, employees can listen anytime they want, using a familiar application that doesn’t require any ramp-up or training. Plus, we know the value of voice is 5x higher than text when delivering meaning in a message, so employees will feel more connected than ever. Our most successful customers do this well. They use a Spotify-style model to deliver content from the CEO, for example, in the most familiar, flexible way.
Allwork.Space: Why is audio/visual communication so vital for tech?
As Albert Mehrabian’s famous research noted, audio and video simply let you convey emotion better than any other medium. A company CEO can share an update once a month, but if it’s sent through email or even as a standalone article on a company Intranet, it’s all too easy for employees to misinterpret tone or meaning. Audio and video also hold an individual’s attention better than print, making it far less taxing on the individual.
All of this adds up to happier, more engaged employees who are more productive and more likely to stick with their jobs. Plus, positive workforce experiences directly translate to your customers. Gallup’s annual workforce engagement survey confirms that companies with highly engaged employees are simply more profitable than others.
The last point I’ll share is about measurability. We can’t measure the consumption of print and email to understand how and if it’s actually being consumed. We may know that you clicked on a link to an article or an email, but do we really know if you read it? Audio and video stream data gives us, for the first time, a way to understand just how long someone listened or watched.
This puts business leaders and trainers in a completely different position – able to use real, actionable data around what messages employees consume and their preferences for when and how. Think about how much better content and content delivery can be when we have accurate and systematic feedback loops built into our internal comms, sales enablement, and training initiatives.
Allwork.Space: What are the benefits of audio-based communication?
Employees are inundated with text-based communication on a daily basis, whether it’s email messages, presentation decks or reports. Instead of relying on read/write mediums, providing company communication through audio and video platforms gives employees flexibility over how to consume content, finding the method that works best for them.
We’re also seeing this trend towards audio/visual comms in the consumer landscape with the growth in consumer podcasts and audiobooks. That trend emphasizes how relying on read/write channels in the workplace doesn’t align with our listen/watch multitasking cultural realities.
The benefits of audio-based communication are also backed by research. 57% of Americans have consumed a podcast, with more than 80 million considering themselves weekly listeners. That growth indicates a consumer desire to take in content in new ways. Additionally, audio-based communication increases understanding 500% vs text-based learning resources.
Allwork.Space: How can tech companies change their meetings, internal newsletters, etc. to be more engaging?
The latest Gallup survey revealed what we’ve suspected for a while – fewer than 1 in 3 employees are engaged at work. Yikes! Clearly, something needs to change.
Employees want more flexibility, and they want to use the tools they’re already using and familiar with in their daily life. If your employees feel comfortable with podcast apps and playlists or audio and video messages, those should be a part of your company’s offerings.
You don’t have to completely eliminate meetings and emails, but think about how to enhance them. Instead of a wall of text, an email newsletter can include an audio update from the marketing or IT team. Instead of an hour-long all-staff meeting where everyone is stuck at their desks, record those updates as a podcast for employees to listen to when it’s most convenient for them — and when they’re most likely to absorb what’s being said.