Storytelling is as old as culture itself—and I’m not just talking about company culture. Culture as a concept must have storytelling, because without it there’s no way shared traditions and values could be passed down. In today’s world, it’s easy to equate storytelling with the forms of media we take in—books, movies and music—but there’s still forms of storytelling in its purest sense of someone getting up in front of a group of people and telling a story.
TED Talks is probably one of the biggest platforms that comes to mind when we think of modern day storytelling, but there’s also platforms like Humans of New York, a social presence and website that shares short stories from everyday people, or podcasts like StoryCorps and This American Life that broadcast people simply telling stories.
It’s no surprise that these all intersect in an interview TED posted with the founders of Humans of New York and StoryCorps where they discuss the art of storytelling. They highlight the importance of letting someone talk candidly and openly about their experiences to get the best story out of them. You have to trust the person and offer a judgment-free zone for them to tell their truth.
These concepts permeate every type of storytelling, even the story of your company culture.
When looking at employer branding and creating a company culture, there’s obviously no one who can do it better than the people who are already on the inside. When our recruitment marketing team comes in to get an employer brand established and expressed, we don’t ask the CHRO what it is, we ask the employees themselves who work for the company.
One of the best ways to express an employer brand is by getting those high quality employees to sit down and get them on video or in a Q&A to let them tell their story. But that last part is key—they have to tell their story.
Storytelling v. Robot Responses
Think to most employer brand videos. What comes to mind?
Happy looking people working in their workplace.
People saying, “I love my company because we’re a family.”
Others saying, “This is the best place to work!”
And still others, “We’re a collaborative workplace. Everyone helps everyone!”
Behind their eyes, you can kind of see their soul dying as they repeat these canned responses that have been handed to them on a script. You know why? Because every workplace says it’s a family where people love being because they all help each other out. You know what can make you stand out from these sad corporate robots?
If your workplace truly is like a family, get an employee on camera talking about how they met their best friend at the office and they help put on the annual Thanksgiving lunch. If someone loves working at your company, get them talking about a specific time the reasons why they love working for your company were exemplified.
A video or a Q&A where it sounds like little corporate robots are just repeating what they were told to say will no convince any candidates—active or passive—of applying to join your team. Having questions that can prompt employees to share their real experiences is where your role (or ours) comes in as a recruitment marketer. In the end, you want a video that would fit in more with an episode of StoryCorps than alongside the corporate robots in a Henkel employer branding video.