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Welsh Water reaches for tech to keep staff connected

Credit: Welsh Water / Bengo Media

With working from home or remotely set to become the new norm for the foreseeable future, companies are looking at new and innovative ways to keep their workforces engaged.

Last week, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, announced plans to continue the lockdown in Wales for the next three weeks. In a report due out later today on the road out of lockdown, advice is still expected to be that if you can work from home or away from the office that you should do so.

One such company looking at how it communicates with workers is Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, whom has teamed up with Bengo Media to create a new podcast for its staff who are working through the Coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s 3,500 staff have continued working to keep water flowing freely to the three million people it serves during the crisis.

In an effort to keep everyone feeling connected, Dŵr Cymru asked audio production agency Bengo Media to create a new podcast.

Dŵr Cymru’s Morgan Lloyd explained that a podcast felt like a great way to reach out to staff during the pandemic.

He said, “Across the business we have thousands of people who have had to adapt to new ways of working. Many of our operational colleagues are still out and about delivering an essential service – from keeping water flowing to unblocking sewers and protecting our environment. Hundreds in our support services, such as contact centre workers, are now serving our customers from home.

“We’re a tight-knit company, and people naturally miss each other and feel more isolated in the current circumstances.

“We wanted to do something to boost morale and help everyone feel more connected. A podcast specifically for – and about – our colleagues has been a really effective way to reach people in all of those different settings.”

With Bengo Media’s help, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water recorded and launched the pilot episode of ‘The Tonic’ podcast on 27th April. Feedback from staff has been positive so far, and the podcast is set to become a weekly production for the duration of the crisis.

Morgan continued, “Podcasting is a new medium for the company, but it felt like the perfect fit for this project. It means that people can listen wherever they are – whether at home on their laptop or listening whilst travelling in their vans or tankers.

For something created remotely and under such unusual circumstances, it’s been surprisingly straight-forward to do, and really well received. It’s also helped to have Melissa Knight as presenter. Melissa now works for Welsh Water as a Marketing Manager but used to present on Capital FM and has come together with her old radio partner Jason Harold to entertain the Welsh Water family”.

Steve Austins

Steve Austins, a former BBC Radio Wales station editor and co-founder at Bengo Media says the work they’ve done with Welsh Water is part of a new strategy to help companies record and publish podcasts during COVID-19.

He explained, “Whether aimed at staff, stakeholders or the general public, a podcast is a great way of communicating a complex or a detailed message to a specific audience, in a format that they can digest in their own time.

“We are helping companies to use the equipment and technology that they already have within their organisations and at home, to create professional podcasts that people will want to engage with.”

Bengo Media’s remote podcasting offer concentrates on three areas of support; technical – focusing on how to capture the audio from multiple guests / locations; storytelling – including identifying what the audience wants and developing narratives; and editing and distribution.

Steve continued, “This unique set of circumstances we’re adapting to could provide businesses with just the right spark to get going on a podcast idea they’ve had for a while – and we’re ready to help.”