There is a reason campfire stories continue to work, a thousand years since their advent – it’s that emotional connect and recall that stories offer. Analogy and allegory are two important elements that successful storytelling employs. For example, talking about how an employee turned a difficult situation around underscores the power of resilience.
In an earlier post, we looked at the impact of storytelling in organizations, over and beyond marketing and sales. In the second part of this conversation, we look at how storytelling plays a part in managing talent, and shaping and demonstrating corporate culture.
- Stories help attract talent
In a time when the younger generations of employees are looking for more than just a paycheck and where employee loyalty comes from aspects even such as the company’s CSR initiatives and worldview, storytelling can support recruitment efforts.
Wegman’s initiative to support marginalized groups in local communities is a great example of how the company demonstrates its commitment to caring for those in need and giving back – something that many millennials and Gen Z employees consider, when choosing from job offers. Recruiters could share stories of company-led CSR initiatives that resonate with the younger generation of employees and job seekers, and through that, present a stronger employer brand.
- Stories help retain talent
Many organizations have initiatives that enable employees to take ownership of issues that matter to them and demonstrate a company culture of employee support and motivation. Sharing stories of such initiatives helps organizations further a sense of belonging among employees, and encourages them to bring their full selves to work.
Accenture supports many giving back and fundraising initiatives, and even has a platform called MyGiving, where employees invite colleagues to fundraise. Accenture provides a $500 contribution after a certain amount of funds are raised. In a heartwarming example, a fundraising initiative crossed the baseline amount, and the company came forward to match the amount given by employees.
- Stories humanize corporate culture
Storifying a moment in the company’s history where adversity was overcome makes for a great way to share the company’s history and emphasize the value of fortitude that the company leaders pride themselves on. When you share a real example of a pivotal moment that defined the company trajectory and speak of how the company dealt with a challenge or big change, you inspire and educate employees, giving them a reason to cheer for the organization as well as strive to continue with the good work and momentum. Sharing with employees the company’s roadmap and strategies that led to a big win or successful quarter motivates people and helps them learn, humanizes the corporate culture, and provides the emotional reason for an employee to continue working for the company.
Today we live and work in a world where a growing remote workforce has to be engaged, where recruitment happens without a face-to-face interview, and where an organization’s online presence and behavior is a determining factor for prospective employees, not just its customers. In such a world, stories have the potential to attract, excite, and engage the workforce, and storytelling is thus a tool that every function in the organization can harness to great effect.