HOW COMPELLING STORIES AFFECT EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
You have been waiting all your life to get this job and all of a sudden it happens; you are so excited, you promise your boss to be the most valuable employee the company has ever had. You are determined to put in your whole heart into striking deals, winning clients over and maintaining the company’s mission.
But then after six months into taking your dream job, you start to feel exhausted, you feel like your work environment is affecting your productivity, your colleagues are not helping because you know 90% of them are probably going through the same phase as you. Then you begin to ask yourself what exactly the problem is?
In organizations, the story every employee has about their work matters a lot; it plays a significant role in determining employee engagement. Stories construct how we make sense of work and how we connect with others in the workplace.
The stories you tell your employees about your organisation determines their level of engagement or commitment to the growth of that establishment. Employees who often struggle with work engagement do so because they have seen multiple versions of a story played out. Employees see their bosses as villains and themselves as victims while the boss sees it the other way round.
How then can an organisation increase employee engagement with storytelling?
Organizations must learn how to construct a compelling strategic narrative. According to the Engage for Success movement, one of the four enablers of employee engagement is the organization’s strategic narrative or story. This is the story of the organization from origin and history to present day and future aspirations.
The strategic narrative should be able to draw collective action from your employees; it should be a guiding force for their day to action. You should be able to look back at your employees as an employer and see everyone working in unison because strategic narrative offers employees meaning and purpose than something larger than their individual selves.
That story should transform your employees into working heroes and most importantly you serve as a mentor to them.
Below is a sample of a compelling strategic narrative gotten from Lindex and also why it works as one:
Brand Name/Story: The Toms Story, founder Blake Mycoskie “witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes” while travelling in Argentina in 2006. “Wanting to help, he created Toms Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need.
To date, Toms Shoes has given more than 50 million pairs of shoes to children in need, has helped restore sight to over 360,000 people, and has helped provide over 250,000 weeks of safe water in six countries. In addition, Toms launched its Bag Collection in 2015. With each bag purchased, the brand says it will help provide a safe birth for a mother and baby in need.
Why it Works: It solves a problem, employees feel they are working for a cause which guides their daily activities to produce quality shoes that would last long for every child in need. At the same time, they feel like heroes saving thousands of kids out there by adding value to their lives just by producing quality shoes.
What is your company’s compelling story and how has it affected you?