Authentic storytelling in the workplace (and outside of it in social media channels) is an amazing way to impact talent strategies. It’s part science: apparently, we respond to storytelling with a change in brain chemistry. It’s part social: a great way to build trust and confidence, and to increase your audience. It seems like a soft skill — it’s called storytelling after all. But companies and leaders that don’t explore their own authentic stories face a hard lesson when faced with more candid competition.
Storytelling is about sharing goals, expectations, and experiences. For an organization’s talent strategy, storytelling has a multi-tiered payoff:
- It’s an ideal way to attract different types of candidates.
Particularly passive candidates can be hard to reach (they’re not actually looking for a job, so they’re not toiling over their professional profiles or reaching out to HR). But put interesting, relevant content out there, and you’ll pique their interest.
- It’s a mission refresher for your corporate culture.
There’s no better way of galvanizing and consolidating what’s most important in your corporate culture. It’s also an impactful opportunity for leadership to step up and play a key role. There are countless ways to start authentic storytelling in the workplace. But it should include questions like: What are the important moments in your company’s history? What are the turning points? What are your company goals? When leadership articulates the answers, it puts a human face on the company story.
- It’s a way to drive employee engagement.
Telling a company’s story is an undeniable way to bring everyone closer to an organization’s core values, and to turn employees into a community with shared experiences and goals. In the workplace, shared experiences forge an emotional connection, building community in a way nothing else can. They connect leadership and employees, strengthen individual goals to company goals, and turn a sense of mission into a call to action that each individual can relate to.
As for marketing, HR and Recruiting, storytelling is indeed a softer approach, but it packs a wallop, expanding audience and increasing visibility. This may be a bit of a tongue twister, but say it with me: Meaningful content is very different than content marketing.
Stories have a relevance, a resonance: they imply that there is an audience who can relate to the experience. That’s entirely different than a product pitch, which says, all too often, we know what you want. One is inclusive. The other can be, at the least, irrelevant; at the worst, alienating. What’s your story?
The deeper a company goes into the act of telling its own authentic story, the deeper it can entrench its own employees and community in its mission and culture: to tell a relevant and meaningful story you have to do a certain amount of company soul searching, a process that not only deepens a company’s own sense of brand and culture, it creates a culture of sharing an experience. And that, in turn, is great for all aspects of HR, as word gets out that Company X is a great place to work, with great goals, a great brand, a great story. I’d go so far as to say that authentic storytelling from an HR standpoint is akin to a feedback loop of win-win.
A version of this was first posted on Forbes.