Insurity is a leading provider of cloud-based software and analytics for insurance carriers, brokers, and MGAs with over 500 customers worldwide and a team distributed across the globe.
Their team has always prioritized creating connections across the organization, but the pandemic reframed the way Insurity measured employee engagement.
During a time when people were screen-bound more than ever before, the conversation around screen fatigue made them reconsider how to promote engagement and education in a way where employees could pursue it on their own time, and in their own way.
In an episode of our “Behind the Mic: The Creator Series”, AVP of Learning and Development, Julie McGoldrick, and Learning and Development Generalist, Danielle Oostergo talk about how starting a podcast has led to increased engagement, connection, and communication across the organization.
Click here to listen to the full episode: https://www.buzzsprout.com/881431/11567064
How podcasting kickstarted engagement
The idea to start podcasting at Insurity developed years ago, explains L&D Generalist, Danielle Oostergo. However, it wasn’t until the pandemic that the team truly kicked off their private podcasts.
“Everyone was talking about how busy they were,” Oostergo says, “and we’re talking about screen fatigue and things like that.”
Insurity settled on podcasting as a way to create engagement because of the flexibility of the audio format. Email newsletters felt too formal and impersonal, but a video felt too intimidating for many employees.
With a podcast, employees can listen to anything from training to interviews while they’re folding laundry, out walking the dog, or completing a menial task at their desk.
After brainstorming and some research, the team landed on two different topics to start:
- Julie McGoldrick, AVP of Learning & Development, hosts an interview-style show with the senior leadership and executive teams. The casual format helps listeners get to know leadership through questions about their careers and free time.
- Danielle Oostergo hosts a more informal “Hot Seat” series, where she interviews employees across the organization with simple rapid-fire questions.
“Podcasting creates an emotional connection between the listener and interviewee”, says Oostrego, “but doesn’t create as much pressure as a video interview.”
How a “hot seat” creates connection and mobility
With a team dispersed across the globe, making meaningful connections can be a challenge. There’s no water cooler to gather around, and getting to know people across a Zoom call felt silted, especially at a time when that was the primary mode of workplace interaction.
That’s where Oostergo’s “Hot Seat” podcast came in.
The fun and frank series asks employees everything from their pizza preferences (pepperoni or pineapple?) to their day-to-day roles at Insurity. This format helps coworkers get to know each other across different teams and roles, as well as provides insight into the different roles within the company.
“We really believe in internal mobility,” Oostergo explains. “This podcast is helping us to tell those stories and have some fun with getting to know the people that work in different departments that I wouldn’t have access to or work with on a daily basis. So we can also break down those walls, you know, into those silos that different departments have.”
Insurity drops a Hot Seat interview nearly every Wednesday, and the regularity has made it a highlight. “It’s generating so much conversation,” McGoldrick says. “The biggest thing that we can say here is that people are opening up, they’re learning about each other and they’re breaking down their own walls. They just can’t wait to see who’s next on the show.”
From idea to launch: Starting a company podcast
While Oostergo and McGoldrick felt intimidated getting started, the biggest hurdle was simply hitting record. That, and remembering to always have a backup (a lesson they only had to learn once).
Want to get started? Here are some of Insurity’s lessons:
👉 Plan ahead. While McGoldrick is passionate about podcasting, she admits that her day-to-day demands can get in the way of production. To start, “I basically filled my hopper,” she says. “ When things got tough on a week where I might not have been able to dedicate that time, I had an episode locked in and ready to go.”
👉 Start small. Originally, the team at Insurity had upwards of 5 different podcasts they wanted to create. But they started small, concentrating their efforts on two series, to begin with, so as to not make the process feel overwhelming.
👉 Remember ROI. Podcasting is fun, but Oostergo knows it takes work and needs to serve a purpose. “My advice would be ‘identify the need,’” she says. “the more that you can prove the return on investment, well that’s excellent.”
👉 Do your research. Starting out can be intimidating, but researching is as simple as slipping on a pair of headphones. Listen to podcasts you love, and take note of everything from the intro to music cues and interview style. All of these observations can help you script and plan your future podcast.
👉 Prioritize promoting. In the intro of each podcast, Oostergo and McGoldrick make sure to include a call to action for listeners to turn on push notifications in the Storyboard app to know when the latest episode drops. They also ping teams in company-wide feeds, sharing details on the latest episode and urging employees to listen.
Engagement begins here
Whether it’s helping your team get to know each other better, or using a medium that avoids the tedium of screen fatigue, private podcasting can be a powerful tool in your team’s arsenal.
“Behind the Mic: The Creator Series” is Storyboard’s own podcast featuring users who share why they brought podcasting to their organization, what makes audio a distinct communication tool for deskless and remote workers, and much more. Listen to all of our episodes, linked here.