Why Authentic Storytelling Matters for your Employer Brand

Our people are our greatest asset.

We offer great upward mobility. 

We like to work hard and play hard.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrases before.  Honestly there are a lot of us who have uttered them before ourselves.   The thing is, when the phrases are so commonplace and everyone is saying the same things, it strips any real meaning from the words.  It’s like going to see an Expendables movie.  You never really have any fear that Sylvester Stallone is in any actual danger of not making it to the end of the movie because you know he’s already planning on starring in Expendables 8.  The movies, like our recruiting pitches, become interchangeable like so many grains of rice.

Now listen to this story instead.  You are interviewing with a recruiter and they share Jill’s experience to illustrate the potential career paths.   Jill had been working as an admin at our company for 2 years.  She does great work, and everyone loves her.  She notices an entry-level position coming up in the marketing department.   Jill’s passion is actually marketing but she doesn’t have the experience to be competitive for the open position.  Jack, the head of marketing, knows Jill and sits down with her to explain she isn’t getting the role right now, but if she is serious about making the hop to the marketing team, he has some projects she can help with over the coming months to help get her feet wet and learn the processes.  Jill jumps at the chance and the next position that opens becomes hers.   That was 5 years ago.  Jill whom you just met earlier in that panel interview is now our Director of Marketing.

If I am a candidate and I hear an authentic story of a real person that to me is believable and sticky.  When I leave that interview I will remember that story and think about being Jill and picture myself advancing in that company.  Leveraging elements of storytelling is a great way to attract, connect, and engage with your candidates and there is a bit of science behind it too for my Bill Nye fans out there.   Paul Jarvis explains writing for Inc., “We're still hardwired to learn better if someone's words have meaning and emotion to them (proven with science!) because the use of narrative helps our brain focus. That's because the neurons that fire when we're listening to a story are the same ones that'd fire if we were actually doing what's happening in the story (Brilliant: The New Science of Smart, Annie Murphy Paul). It's why you get scared during a scary movie even though you know it's not real”

Now there are a lot of ways you can leverage storytelling.  You can connect with the passion and emotion of your firm’s origin story.  You can inspire with true career paths with actual employees.  You can illustrate with videos why employees chose to work with you and how your company’s core values resonate in that message.  With storytelling, how you do it is often as important as what you do.  Luckily in our webinar How to Use Stories to Make Your Employer Brand More Interesting and... on September 29, 2015 at 2pm ET, I have storytelling expert David Lee, Principal at HumanNature@Work, ready to break down the topic and share how to be successful with some great examples and stories from his clients.  If you have always wanted to know more about storytelling or weren’t sure how to get started in the first place join us next week for some practical advice on where to begin and how to get better.

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