I want to tell you a story

I want to tell you a story - storytelling to attract top talent

With low unemployment levels and a growing skills gap, organisations need to adapt their strategies from an administrative approach to something that feels more personal in order to attract top talent. Essentially, companies are looking to humanise their brand, to outline a personality, a set of values.

And what is more personal and human than a story? We all love them. Whether it’s the books we remember from childhood or the latest blockbuster film, the best stories engage us emotionally, connect to something inside us and stay in our memories. So it’s maybe no surprise that storytelling is starting to play a part in recruitment.

The new generations

Millennials and Gen Z are set to make up over half the working population in the next decade, and these are people with a drive to understand how they will fit in and progress within a company. They don’t want to read a list of bullet points; they want to learn about what it’s like to work for you. Storytelling can help to articulate your brand. A great JD will help candidates to visualise how they will fit in and the impact they could make. These generations are looking for connections, and by helping them to bond with your employer brand and understand what you stand for, you are tapping into this need. 

Cut through the distractions

Job seekers today can be overwhelmed with information about an employer. Using storytelling techniques can help you cut through the noise with a clear and attractive message. Think about the channels you can use for your story – video is highly valued by Millennials and Gen Z. Social media will be crucial, but remember to carry your story through to more traditional channels such as brochures and websites.

How to structure a business story

It’s the same as with any other story. You need a cast of characters. An engaging environment. Throw in a resolution of conflict. And that all-important personal connection.

Introduce characters

When you associate faces with your organisation, it helps candidates to identify with the people behind the corporate façade. Find compelling stories from all types of people in the organisation. Include them in your website, not with a bland biography, but with a fun write up that lets the person’s personality shine through. 

Refer to your employees on social media. So rather than “today, we’re running a training course” go for “here’s Helen in full flow training some of her favourite customers.” Look for ways to really personalise your company. We can guarantee a video of someone in your organisation talking to camera will generate a stack of interest.

An engaging environment

When you communicate about your company, let candidates see what it’s really like to work there. So yes, the physical environment is important, but also, it’s about the ethos of the place. Let’s say ‘caring’ is one of your values. Make this tangible with photos of your staff doing work in the community, talking head videos about how a member of staff has been helped by a co-worker, details of your mentoring scheme, and so on.

A resolution or conflict

Not all conflict has to be life or death. Companies wouldn’t exist if they weren’t solving some sort of problem for their customers. Think about the challenges you tackle every day. Customer testimonials that focus on how you have helped them, case studies that show that your product or service has solved a problem for someone. One company we know started selling a software product that helps companies with global teams easily work together despite being geographically dispersed. It’s saved hours and hours in decision-making processes, helping them to get products to market more quickly. That’s a resolution. Show that your organisation helps people and it builds a compelling story about why candidates should work for you. 

A personal connection

Employee engagement is driven by the emotional affinity your staff feel for your company. An engaged employee experiences a sense of belonging in a company, its culture, its well-being. It’s not just a workplace; they are part of the company, and that forms an important part of how they define themselves.

Research bears this out. A survey by Virgin Pulse found that 60% of employees feel their relationship with their employer positively impacts their focus or productivity at work.

In conclusion

Using storytelling to effectively promote your employer brand is simply finding ways to connect with people on an emotional level. Using the techniques of storytellers can really help you to stand out in a saturated marketplace and attract top talent. Why not give it a try?

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