Recent data from our Rally® Inside ™ Recruitment Marketing Analytics Report found that after job-related content (i.e. individual job postings), people-centered content was the most popular content topic posted by recruitment marketers in 2021.
You’ve likely heard that employee stories are important for a while, but this new data proves it — to engage and attract talent, you need to be creating and sharing employee stories across your Recruitment Marketing channels. But even with high quality content, if you’re getting bogged down from an operational standpoint of finding and eliciting stories, then what’s the point?
This is one very important aspect of employee stories that often gets overlooked, but it’s vital that you put in some effort to plan, build and manage your employee story library so that no matter how much you grow your program, you’ll always have the time and resources you need to find and use your stories effectively.
Rally note: To learn more about how to build a scalable library of employee stories, grab our full free ideabook: Ultimate Guide to Building an Employee Stories Content Library.
As you’re building your library of employee stories, here are the 5 boxes you want to make sure are checked.
1. Determine how employee stories will be used and the objectives of your strategy
Before you do anything else, think about how you plan to use employee stories. Do you primarily plan to use them externally, to support your recruiting efforts? Or internally, to support a culture of appreciation and equitable visibility? Or both?
Picture this: you want to use employee stories to shine a light on the innovation taking place within your engineering division to attract more tech talent. But after all is said and done, you realize that none of the stories touch on specific tools, projects or other information particularly important in a tech candidate’s decision to join your company. With a strategy in place from day 1 detailing the specific purpose of the stories and what exactly they need to feature, you can avoid scenarios like this.
One final tip on planning your employee stories program is to not feel limited to one purpose for this content. In fact, we highly recommend that you consider using them for both internal and external purposes (each with a different strategy for gathering and promoting them, of course). We all know that candidates want to hear what your employees have to say, but so do the rest of your employees! There’s true power in making employees feel that their voices are heard and valued, especially in their own words. Plus, with many employees continuing to work remotely, employee stories can show appreciation and keep your team connected.
2. Identify who you need to work with and get buy-in from
You have your plan, now it’s time to establish the people you need to make it happen. This means specifying which leaders, departments, teams and individuals you’ll need to either get support from or work with to accomplish your strategy.
The path of least resistance is speaking with leadership first. When employees know that their leaders are on board with your strategy, they’ll feel like they have the permission they need to share stories freely and authentically.
And don’t overlook your recruiters — they can be amazing storytellers and story seekers because they’re telling your company’s employer value proposition each and every day to prospective candidates!
3. Develop processes and tools to collect and share stories
With leadership on board and employees at ease to share their stories, the next step is to create a process to collect and share stories.
In the beginning, you may be more of a story writer than story coach and enabler. But as storytelling becomes more integrated into your company culture and employees see their colleagues participating and being recognized and rewarded for creating their own content, the easier it will become to motivate more employees to participate.
The end goal is to get to a point where employees are coming to you with stories to tell and, rather than writing their stories for them, you’re coaching them to tell it themselves in an engaging, authentic and employer-brand friendly way. Making it easy for employees to tell stories anytime, anywhere can help with this, such as allowing them to create and send their stories in whichever way is most convenient, whether that’s via text, email or some other means.
Another important way to keep stories flowing is to build story sourcing into the workflow of your recruiters, HR team and hiring managers to help with identifying people with great stories to tell. For example, asking new hires about their candidate experience or interviewing a newly promoted manager about their career progression gets you new perspectives on various aspects of the employee journey .
Rally note: Want a simple checklist to make sure you’re on track? Get your free copy of The Ultimate Guide to Building an Employee Stories Content Library for a 12-step checklist to launch, build and manage your employee stories strategy and content library.
4. Create your first story seeking campaign
Everything’s in place, now it’s time for the most exciting part: putting together your first story! And to create the first ripples throughout your organization of a culture that encourages storytelling, start by sharing stories about your leaders. As mentioned, once employees see their leaders sharing their authentic experiences, they’ll feel permitted to do the same.
Remember, as a Recruitment Marketing story enabler, aim to get employees talking not only about what they did but how they felt and what they learned. You want to make them feel that sharing stories is helpful to others, and good for them. We all have an inner teacher instinct and sharing a story is a great way to make people feel like their wisdom is being heard.
Another easy way to get reluctant employees involved is to invite them to contribute by commenting on another employee’s story. This can be beneficial for a number of reasons; it makes the content creation process seem less intimidating, it produces more engagement and can expand the reach of your stories and it can inspire people commenting to come up with stories of their own down the line.
5. Create a seamless story pipeline
With your story faucet turned, your only job now is to not let it dry out! This mainly means putting enough time and process around motivating, communicating and conveying the benefits to your employees to keep sharing.
Part of the challenge here can be that employees think they should only talk about the big events related to their job, when we all know that day-in-the-life stories are just as important to highlight; both to help candidates envision themselves in the day-to-day culture of your organization and encourage other employees debating whether or not their story is important enough to share.
One way to reduce this friction is to share with employees story prompts to build their own narratives without having to come up with ideas from scratch. You can also gamify the process, such as creating a leaderboard and assigning points for different actions, with creating a story earning the most points, sharing a story earning slightly fewer points and so on. These points can then be exchanged for rewards.
While these tips are more than enough to kickstart your employee story strategy, they represent only the tip of the iceberg of how to create a thriving, scalable content library of employee stories.
For the complete roadmap to planning, building and managing a successful content library of employee stories, get your free copy of The Ultimate Guide to Building an Employee Stories Content Library ideabook now!