Employee engagement, that intangible element that inspires employees to pour their heart and soul into their work, can be tough for some companies to achieve. That emotional connection enables employees to trust and communicate with both management and other employees about how their work helps the company succeed and encourages them to take pride in their association with the organisation.
Many people in management struggle with forging that emotional connection between their employees and the company, although when it comes to their customers it’s a different story.
Why not forge that emotional bond by treating your employees like valued customers? After all, employee engagement may be the one factor that determines success or failure for the company. It is they, after all, who either become brand evangelists or naysayers, depending on their relationship with the organisation.
On the other hand, disengaged employees can cost your company billions in lost productivity. Whether through turnover or shoddy work, they can cause money to drip out of your coffers like a sieve.
Create employee engagement with the power of story. A story, science shows, engages areas of the brain that forge emotional connections, loyalty and devotion to a cause.
When you use storytelling wisely in your company’s internal communications, you can attract, keep, and continue to engage the finest talent in the world. As you build on these stories, you’ll increase their productivity, and more importantly, inspire them to become brand evangelists.
Start by encouraging your employees to share their stories about how they’ve helped customers. Soon, you’ll have employees looking forward to meetings, not finding ways to avoid them. These stories, told from the heart, will inspire others to go and do likewise. Employees will connect with the value they create through their work on an intimate, personal level.
The best method to encourage your employees to tell such stories is for you to model this storytelling yourself. Here are six ways that you can help your employees to tell great stories.
Telling your personal story often involves familiar situations your employees can relate to. Your story will help listeners connect with you as a human being, not as a ‘boss’. That human-to-human connection will build a bond between you and the employee. That bond, in turn, will validate why they work for you. Connection is the quickest way to build those bonds.
People aren’t born compassionate. They learn compassion and empathy through putting themselves in the other’s shoes. One of the best ways to do that is through story. Tell stories that take your listeners on an emotional roller coaster ride. Use the ‘hero’s journey’ to show how you have endured hardships and pain, just like they have, yet have conquered them. As they begin to relate to these situations, your listeners’ brain chemistry changes, science tells us. These feel-good chemicals shape listeners’ attitudes toward compassion in their hearts, even for the ‘boss’.
Honest stories that lay out both highs and lows give you more credibility in your employees’ eyes. Share lessons learned and mistakes made. Not only will your employees empathise with you, but they’ll see you as a truth-teller. As an authority figure in the company, you exhibiting authenticity will increase the credibility of the company itself. Your employees' trust will grow with your honest, laid-bare stories.
Stories are how any organisation, nation, or people pass on their culture. Your company is no different. In your stories, tell the what and the why about your company’s culture and how it creates a more favourable environment for employees, management and customers alike. Your employees, especially newer ones, will internalise these stories and the culture they convey.
Introduce the element of surprise into your stories. Whether it’s a mystery, a challenge, or an unusual situation, you can hook listeners with such a tactic. Don’t settle for the old stories that have been making the rounds of annual meetings for years. Find new plots and new twists that will grab your listeners’ attention.
McCann, the advertising titan, still lives by its century-old tagline, ‘Truth well told’. That should be the mantra for every internal communications department in every company.
Often internal communications teams rely on old truisms and faded technology, and then they wonder why their employees aren’t engaged. With the power of authentic storytelling on every channel, you can boost employee morale and turn them into brand evangelists.
When you can conference with employees online, on the phone, or wherever they are, that gives you a platform to communicate the truth to everyone, even to remote teams and freelancers. Add to that the ability to illustrate your points through audio and web conferencing, and you have the perfect platform for storytelling.
To see if Express Virtual Meetings’ conferencing platform is a good fit for your business, try seven days of web and audio conferencing on us. Get out there and tell your story! Tell it well, and encourage your employees to do the same.