How storytelling can help organisations win the war on talentby
Hybrid working may have expanded the talent pool but to attract and retain the best people, companies need a compelling story that elevates their Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
The pandemic-enforced pivot towards remote and collaborative working represents a seismic shift in employment patterns that will define the way organisations hire, train and retain their staff for years to come. Among the many emerging challenges and opportunities this presents, organisations are having to come to terms with the fact that in this new ‘work-from-anywhere’ world – the talent pool has just become borderless.
It's all gone a bit hybrid
Hybrid working gives employees the freedom to be more selective about where they work – and consequently more selective about who they work for. The necessity to live within commuting distance to a specific on-site workplace has diminished, and in many cases, so too has the need to even work in the same country or time zone.
A recent Accenture report revealed that 83 per cent of the nearly 10,000 workers they surveyed globally prefer a hybrid work model to stay healthy and productive – with a variety of factors influencing their ability to thrive, whether they’re working on or off-site.
The shift towards hybrid models also opens up new and exciting recruitment possibilities
It will take time for leaders to find the right workplace solution to fully meet the future needs of their organisation. The shift towards hybrid models also opens up new and exciting recruitment possibilities for employers to widen and diversify their search for the best candidates. However, as more companies embrace these new ways of working for the long-term, the competition to recruit will only intensify.
Already, this has led many organisations to develop or revisit their EVP. Clients of The Storytellers, all large organisations, have revealed they are feeling the pressure as well. Many have come to us for help in readying themselves for these future attrition and recruitment challenges in fear of their talent base steadily diminishing if they don’t start to take action.
Building a purposeful EVP
As the restrictions of pandemic life recede, record numbers of people are leaving their jobs not only in search of more money – but momentously – for more flexibility, happiness and job satisfaction too. In April this year, a record 4 million people in the US handed in their notice after reevaluating what work means to them, how they are valued, and the values of the organisation they work for.
Meta themes such as climate change and diversity and inclusion have risen to the top of the agenda. Together with the attitudes and behaviours that social media has evoked, for some time now, the social purpose, culture and values of an organisation have become increasingly influential in the decisions that prospective employees make regarding their choice of employer.
Storytelling can be used to help an organisation to connect its people with what it stands for
The Deloitte Insights 2020 Global Marketing Trends Report found that purpose-driven companies had 40 percent higher levels of workforce retention than their competitors. For companies to maintain their talent base, a strong EVP which is clear on its purpose, vision, and values – as well as reward and company culture – is more vital than ever.
Storytelling can be used to help an organisation to connect its people with what it stands for, its values and what makes it a great place to work, as well as helping to ensure employees feel that their personal contribution is valued. Leaders also need an authentic, persuasive, and credible narrative, which links every element of the EVP to bring people with them on their journey.
With digitisation and new technology driving many transformations, new skillsets are constantly required and are often in short supply, particularly in sectors such as IT. People with these skills have never been more sought-after, or accessible – thanks to hybrid working. For example, in the UK, the Office for National Statistics recently reported job vacancies ‘soaring’, while remote working job ads have gone from one per cent to five per cent, since the start of the pandemic, according to Reed.
It therefore makes sense for organisations that want to succeed in this new employee-driven environment – even if they’re right-sizing rather than recruiting – to concentrate on how to further engage with and enhance the capabilities of their key talent though upskilling.
Those small, human pride stories that run through every organisation can be captured and shared to validate the master narrative used by the leadership
Harnessing employees’ unique talents and skills by delivering standout personal development programmes can help improve levels of loyalty and engagement, as well as optimise performance. Furthermore, embedding a storytelling culture that continuously learns from real and personal examples of best practice, success, and even failure, will also help to ensure every individual develops trust in the people development process, feels valued, and fully understands their future role in the business.
Stand out with a compelling story
It’s easy to tell people you offer a ‘great place to work,’ but storytelling enables organisations to demonstrate the ‘truths’ that create belief to elevate and reinforce their proposition to current and new employees. Those small, human pride stories that run through every organisation can be captured and shared to validate the master narrative used by the leadership – providing critical proof points that underpin what an organisation truly stands for.
This sense of purpose connects colleagues, helping them to understand the much-valued role they play, and wherever or however they are working, ensure they feel empowered to prioritise and make decisions to ensure they are able to perform at their best.
Healthy, thriving organisations are clear and confident in their story. They use storytelling as a key enabler to communicate – both internally and externally – its vital differentiators, to support its EVP. A storytelling culture also helps to reinforce the proof points that provide the means and build momentum to achieve your organisation’s future people and performance goals.
Interested in this topic? Read Recruitment: Three ways to attract talent in a candidate-driven market.
Alison is Co-Founder and Director at culture change consultancy The Storytellers. She spent her early career in B2C PR and marketing before setting up The Storytellers in 2003.
Alison has spent the last 12 years working with business leaders of large, complex, multi-national organisations to help them use storytelling to make change...