By Dr John Sullivan
ATC June 16, 2015
Part 2- Ensuring Your Stories Are Shared And Have Impact
In my previous article I discussed why you should be using stories in your recruitment efforts, but how do you ensure that the stories you have are the right ones, and will have impact on your recruiting results?
Approaches For Spreading Your Stories
Your managers and employees need access to powerful stories about the firm in order to use them for attracting prospects and selling candidates. Managers need to be aware of powerful stories for use in their speeches, to respond to reporter’s inquiries, during candidate interviews and as sales tools for closing finalists for their open positions. In addition, stories can be proactively “spread” by including them in newsletters, in videos, in executive speeches/blogs, they can be presented during management meetings and they should be included as part of employee referral program materials. The fact is that by not having a formalized effort to gather, distribute and provide access to stories, you are limiting your firm’s ability to recruit and brand by letting as many as 75% of your stories remain “in limited distribution”.
The Stories Must Cover The Most Important Areas And Also Contain A WOW
The stories that you list and spread must be in areas that are considered to be most important by your target audiences (i.e. benefits, rewards, learning or community related etc.). Obviously it makes sense to start out by surveying some of your potential applicants and candidates to find out specifically what “your targets” care about. In addition, these stories and programs must have some glamour or WOW factor, which makes them exciting enough to be talked about by your employees, the media and others in your industry.
The Top High Impact Stories
The 25 high impact story areas or categories that I have found in my research to be important in most industries and jobs include:
1. “I will make a difference”
Stories that show how an employee’s work has a high impact on the company, the environment and its customers.
2. Great coworkers
Everyone wants to work alongside a team full of extremely talented people, so provide stories that illustrate how experienced and knowledgeable your employees are.
3. Great managers
Everyone wants to work under a great manager, so provide stories showing how you have exceptional managers that manage using a style that is desired by potential employees.
4. Career trajectory
Potential applicants and candidates are impressed when there are multiple opportunities for an individual to grow and move rapidly. As a result, stories that show that your firm supports career development, there are multiple career path opportunities and that your opportunities are more accelerated than the competition are all likely to have a powerful impact.
Provide stories that reveal how your employees are free to innovate, take risks and experiment.
Reveal how your employees are given the freedom to choose things that are important to them.
7. Performance is recognized and rewarded
Top performers expect to be rewarded for results and performance, so provide stories that reveal how excellent results are more highly rewarded.
8. Learning and development opportunities
The best employees want to continually learn, so provide stories demonstrating the many opportunities they have in this area.
9. The little guy makes good
Highlight examples where “the little guy” who started an entry-level has jumped multiple job levels or has been offered extraordinary opportunities. Showing how the little guy (low-level employee) matters and that they got some attention or benefit from a program is always good.
10. Opportunities to make decisions
Provide examples of how your employees are involved in decision-making and the types of decisions that they are allowed to make on their own.
11. Free time
Provide stories relating to how your employees are provided with free time to plan and to work on their own projects.
12. Fun and happiness
Because so many firms and startups are pushing the concept of employee happiness, it’s important to provide stories illustrating examples of how your employees are happy and that they have fun on the job.
13. The best tools and technology
Those that desire to master their profession are almost always interested in working with the latest tools and technology. So make sure that you provide examples in your stories that illustrate that your firm is on the leading edge of technology.
14. Great products
Almost everyone wants to work with a winner, so include compelling stories about the excellence of your products and services and how your firm leads the industry.
15. Awards received
Stories that cover programs or events that were recognized with an outside award or recognition are superior. Inside awards are less powerful but still helpful.
16. Two-way communications
Provide stories relating to how your managers listen to, meet with and exchange information with their employees.
17. Job security
Provide examples of how your firm has gone to extreme lengths to assure continuous long-term employment for its employees.
18. Employees share in company success
Provide examples of policies or approaches that allow employees to also share in the economic success of the firm.
19. Pay and benefits
If your firm pays exceptionally well, or it offers compelling benefits, it’s important to include stories illustrating those features.
20. Concern for the environment
Be able to provide stories on how the firm and its employees are doing positive things for sustainability and the environment.
21. Teamwork is encouraged
Most employees want to work in a strong team environment, so highlight stories that show that team players are appreciated and celebrated.
Stories that focus on the success of diverse employees are very powerful. Showing high participation levels by diverse individuals or the inclusion of diverse individuals at higher organizational levels are great recruiting stories.
23. Strong corporate values
Provide stories that show that the company actually “lives” and practices its corporate values.
24. Flexibility and work life balance
Provide stories that illustrate the fact that employees have enough time to enjoy life outside of work.
25. Human interest
Be sure and include stories that make your employees seem “human”. Especially cases where employees, whether on or off the job, went beyond what is normally expected to help their fellow employees or local citizens.