Lori's Blog

Uncovering the Stories Your Employees Want to Tell

employee storytelling employer value proposition
employee telling his story to another person

Employee experience stories are huge trust builders in your recruiting process. When your employees talk about the value that your company brings to their professional and personal lives through their real life stories, you’re able to engage job candidates while providing them with answers to their “Why should I work for you?” questions. Because stories stimulate empathy, using them in a proactive recruiting process will build relationships with potential candidates, and stir up feelings of good will within your company.

Communicating Your Employer Value Proposition

The business objective behind sharing employee experience stories is to improve recruiting results by communicating your employer value proposition (EVP). You might have a good idea about what your EVP is, or you may have never thought about it. Your employer value proposition is the value that you bring to your employees in addition to the salary and benefits you promise.

You can find your core values within your EVP but they may be expressed in a different way. For example, if one of your core values is “Work and win as a team”, your employee may talk about how they were a department of one at their previous position, and how they now have a team of co-workers on which to depend.

What’s really exciting is seeing how your employer value proposition becomes a two-way street, and your employees’ stories attract the exact people who would be a good fit for your company.

It’s All About the Interview

The one and only way that you’re going to get the best employee stories is by having open-ended conversations with your employees. Through these interviews, you’ll be able to uncover the story that your employee wants to tell; stories that won’t come out through surveys or through employees producing stories on their own.

An open-ended conversation is guided by a series of questions that stimulate reflection on the employee’s part. These questions stir up feelings that the employee doesn’t think about every day.

Pulling Out Employer Value Themes

As you process your employee interviews into stories a main theme will emerge, however, each story will most likely touch on several different EVP themes. If you have never gone through the process of developing your EVP, employee experience storytelling can help you to get started. You can pull out specific quotes and connect them to an EVP theme through qualitative analysis of employee interviews.

If you’ve been intentional at building a good culture at your company, then the themes that emerge won’t be too surprising.

Here are some examples of EVP themes:

  • Professional development
  • Work-life balance
  • Impact on customer success
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Work environment

Expect Surprises When Your Employees Talk

While you can anticipate the themes that will emerge from your employee experience stories, be prepared for some surprises – in a good way. First, your employees don’t express their thoughts about their employer in this manner every day. You’re going to hear some things that you’ve never heard before.

Secondly, people are amazing! You just never know what’s going to pop out of their mouths. For example, at the end of one interview that I did, I asked the employee to complete this sentence: I know it’s been a good day at work when….”

She paused for a moment and then said, “When there’s spontaneous clapping.” She went on to describe how someone in the office will stand up and start clapping. Then the next person, and the next, and the next will do the same. Soon the whole office is standing up clapping.

She said, “We don’t even know what we’re clapping for except that someone did a great job for a client.”

Now you can say that client success matters, or you can describe spontaneous clapping. Which do you think will have a bigger impact on your audience?

Learn How to Uncover Employee Stories

I've developed a process to interview employees and use what they say to create compelling recruiting messages. You can learn this process in my online course - Better Message. Better Talent Pool. Get the details here.

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