People love telling stories. Think about your childhood telling ghost stories with your friend, or early man sitting round the campfire. Stories teach and inform us: they have the power to change how we see the world and how we interact with it. Storytelling is how we connect with each other.
That’s why when it comes to telling your business, the most powerful stories aren’t told in adverts and brand books. The stories that speak to the public on an individual level come from your people – from the heart, in a narrative you don’t control, but that you can inform.
Your people should be your business’s best storytellers: true advocates of the brand with their own individual take on who you are and how you deliver what you promise. People look to their peers and a business’s employees for the real scoop, especially when it comes to careers. Look no further than Glassdoor to prove the point.
Advocacy is a key outcome of engaged employees, and one that can be commercially measured. We’re talking contribution to product and service revenue, as well as the more commonly measured HR and employer brand metrics, like reduced cost of hire.
The reality is that your people are already saying something. It may not necessarily be bad (most people want to keep their jobs, after all). The question you should be asking is whether their stories are authentic, relatable validations of your corporate communications. Do their stories corroborate your brand messaging?
If you have a proud and engaged workforce, you shouldn’t be afraid to let them tell their stories. In fact, you should support them to build brand love from the inside out. Here’s how.
We’re all the hero in our own story, so we tell it from our own perspective. At work, this is heavily influenced by our manager and the corner of the business we call home. By helping your people understand the big picture (think external industry, internal strategy, and a clear understanding of what your organisation is trying to achieve) you position them to explain the context of what you do and why you do it. That why is important; it can dramatically change a story – for the better.
Don’t just remind your people that you do what you say you do with proof points (like employee profiles). There’s no denying that’s important, but first-hand experience of your values, your purpose and your EVP is even more powerful. The solution is to design your employee experience to prove you are who you say you are, and help your people live that reality.
Don’t tell your people you trust them online, show them. Revise your social media policy. Provide social media training. Help them build a stand-out LinkedIn profile. Build leadership capability in the social space. And always communicate transparently to your people first.
August 15, 2018, Michelle Boyde