Storytelling has been around since the dawn of civilisation. Through oral narrative, music, art, writing and dance humans have enjoyed re-enacting events, fables and legends, passing them down from generation to generation.
In today’s modern world, storytelling has never been so important. Amongst the mass overload of information at our fingertips, it is powerful human stories that shine out and captivate an audience.
For businesses, storytelling is also an effective way to express the unique qualities of their brands to their employees, consumers and stakeholders.
To capture the hearts and minds of employees and potential candidates organisations must express their ‘offer’ – their Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Storytelling is a compelling way to convey an authentic view of a unique employment experience.
So why is storytelling so effective in bringing EVPs to life? Here are 6 key reasons.
- It’s Real.
There is nothing more authentic than a personal story. By hearing employees share their own experiences rather than through the corporate voice - the EVP really comes to life in a human and engaging way. What’s more, it’s unique to your organisation. Letting your people tell the EVP in their own words helps differentiate your employment offer from your competitors.
When you see and hear people telling their personal story, it’s human nature to empathise with them. In that process you start to see yourself in their position – picking out the relevant benefits and values that would appeal to you. Equally you pick up on stories that don’t appeal – which is fine because you don’t want your EVP to appeal to everyone.
- More Memorable.
When reading corporate or HR ‘speak’ it can be easy for the EVP to get lost in generic statements. However when organisational benefits (tangible and intangible) are told as real experiences, they come to life, are easier to listen and engage with and therefore much more memorable. Human brains are wired in such a way that learning is much more effective when presented in social contexts.
- Universal Appeal.
Stories can help bridge cultural, linguistic, gender and age divides. Because they are genuine and often emotional pieces of communication, we as humans can all identify with workplace feelings of passion, aspiration, values, enjoyment, challenges. These stories help create a cultural picture of the entire organisation. Even if the person’s role is not relevant to the viewer their story may have strong cultural appeal.
- Living Values.
Most large organisations have a set of corporate values for their employees to align with or uphold in their behaviours. For some, values are just seen as a checklist on a website. For others, they live and breathe their values everyday as part of their workplace DNA. By expressing how employees live these values in a day-to-day sense through their own words and images, the values take own greater meaning and depth – again storytelling helps embed and reinforce the values that are unique to your EVP.
- Shared Unity.
Listening to your fellow employees about their personal employment experience can help to foster a shared understanding about what the EVP is and means. You will find most employees will love being asked to tell their story. By simply being given the opportunity they are instantly more engaged, feel valued and become an ambassador (storyteller) for your EVP throughout your organisation and beyond.
About the Author: Simon Druery is an evp and employer brand strategist, designer and owner of creative communications consultancy The Ideas Hatchery. The Ideas Hatchery has worked with some of Australia’s leading employers such as AGL, BHP Billiton, Bankwest, Minter Ellison and Bayer to help develop their EVP and Employer Brands.