How to leverage storytelling for employee engagement 

Employee Engagement Using Storytelling

The workplace has undergone a massive shift since the pandemic and changes continue to happen. Many companies have started to get employees back to offices and many still operate remotely or through a hybrid model.

A McKinsey study reports that 40% of employees are likely to leave their jobs in the next 3-6 months, and most without another job in hand. The Great Resignation is underway in the west, and it’s speculated to hit India (Asian countries) too. This means more employees quitting their current jobs and joining new ones in the coming months. Thanks to remote working, the expectations people have of a job has already changed. This will continue to disrupt the status quo of teams and force organisations to respond and adapt to changes.

So, how can companies (their leaders, managers) create the right environment for employees to engage?

Storytelling is a powerful ally

No matter how attractive the purpose and values of you company are, the real test is in the way employees bring them to life in their everyday actions and behaviour. Leaders and managers have a pivotal role in communicating with employees and reinforcing key messages.

The common use of corporate jargon and dull presentations to convey messages can have undesired effects on people. Well, we have all heard of ‘death by power point’. Storytelling offers better and powerful ways for leaders and managers to communicate with employees.

For example, a company that has ‘integrity’ as one of their key values can state it on their slides and on posters in the office. But, integrity will mean nothing much to their people, unless its leaders learn to drive it through storytelling.

Their leaders can illustrate ‘integrity’ through an incident involving a newly appointed security staff who denied entry to the Managing Director who had arrived without his ID card. The security staff politely informed the MD that he needs an ID to enter the premises. The MD gained entry only after he got his driver to fetch his ID from his residence. As a consequence, it gained appreciation from the MD, who also went on to share this in a few of his meetings.

This incident also made its way to the new hire training material to drive the message of ‘integrity’ being a key value of the company. While the security staff displaying integrity in his actions was one part of the story, the other story was about the MD who respected the security staff’s actions. And this became a benchmark for the kind of culture that leadership encourages and supports. This story about the actions of the MD were enough to drive a clear message of leadership living the values.

Employee Engagement Matters

The current situation puts the focus on employee engagement more than ever. Companies need to prioritise creating the right foundation that allows people to connect with the company, understand its purpose and align with its goals. Engaged employees feel passionate about their jobs, contribute better and commit to delivering great brand experiences.

Leaders and managers are responsible for key communication in organisations, and their storytelling abilities helps connect with employees and build employee engagement.

What stories can you think of that propagates company values? Tell us.

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