Stories are a part of our lives. From childhood onwards we have been regaled with stories, fables, legends, we read story books and we enjoy films that have a good story line. Stories, well told, can have a very powerful effect on listeners. They can draw you in and hold your attention for a long time. They can engage and motivate and influence listeners and readers in a variety of ways.
When organizations look for and recruit people, an effective way to get them interested is to tell them the story of the company – what was the inspiration behind starting it, how it began, who were the people involved, why did they feel compelled to join the company, what problems did they overcome, etc. If the new employees feel involved with the history of the company, they will also wish to contribute to its future success.
Stories evoke emotions, they build a connect
Stories evoke emotions, they build a connect between its characters and the listeners and readers and this is what ultimately enables people to remember what has been said. Ideas, concepts, slogans – we can remember and recall them better if we are able to relate to them. Even brands and products have higher recall if consumers can connect them to something familiar or to something in their own lives.
So organizations of the future need to tell stories to their stakeholders if they are to have a positive impact on them. If they relate good stories, people will be attracted towards them – they will want to work for such companies because they strike a chord in the hearts of the people. They will want to buy products and services offered by these companies. And wanting something – a job or a product or service – will work better than needing it.
Companies like Hindustan Unilever or Amul or Nestle or Cadbury’s or SmithKline which tell stories to their customers via their advertisements influence people into buying their products and brands. Consumers can identify with the characters shown in these advertisements and hence they see the value of being associated with these companies in different ways. They want to work for such companies and they patronize products sold by them.
Companies that welcome new recruits
In the same way, companies that welcome new recruits by taking them on a journey through the story of the company immediately draw them in. Stories become more impactful if employees, especially new ones, are shown the place where the company started initial operations, if they are introduced to older employees who have helped to grow the company, if they are made aware of those who have come before them and taken the company to new heights, if they are told about how the company got to where it is today and what plans there are for taking it forward.
Employees, in particular those belonging to the younger generation (Millennials and Gen Z) want to work for companies that they can identify with, that give them pride, respect and a sense of involvement. So in order to attract and retain such employees, companies of the future have to undertake a variety of measures to nurture and engage these people and telling them inspiring, compelling stories is one of the more powerful ways of doing so.