Category: Employee Engagement

Activating the power of human connection behind your EVP investments

Virtual workshop – Thursday 1st Feb 2024

2pm-3:30pm GMT

(9am-10:30am ET, 8am-9:30am CT)

Organisations continue to struggle to attract and retain the talent needed to deliver on their strategy whilst facing into new culture challenges created by hybrid working, and risks to productivity because of rapid transformation and uncertainty. During this workshop with HR leaders, we will explore how activating a people-centric EVP turns it into a critical tool to tackle these issues.

Developing a compelling employee value proposition with stand-out from other organisations – meeting the needs of individual employees and the overall organisational vision – is a significant investment that goes well beyond material and short-term benefits. How you bring your EVP story to life can make a huge difference to the overall value people connect with, and the commitment they make in return.

What you’ll experience

  • Explore how EVP can be a powerful thread throughout an employee’s lifecycle – from talent attraction, to cultural fit and performance, and career development
  • Understand how to leverage EVP to tackle talent strategy, hybrid working and productivity challenges
  • Gain practical insight into storytelling methods that create clarity and emotional connection, helping people understand and believe in the differentiated value of your EVP

Who should attend?

Senior HR leaders from large complex organisations who are interested in how to amplify the human connection to your EVP. Join us for an interactive story-driven session with a select cohort of your peers, delivered by experts with years of experience working with C-suites of Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 organisations.

Please register your interest to attend this event using the form on this page.

What makes a great story: #3 A call to action

No story is complete without a call to action, where the protagonist is compelled to take action, to set out on a journey to resolve a challenge or change a particular situation. This response is the catalyst for change, for resolution, for transformation. Without it, our hero (ourselves, in a business story) cannot find the meaning or purpose which we humans crave. Life would just drift on, the status quo unchanged. Quite boring really. Nothing to see here.

Look at what Sir David Attenborough has achieved. His meta story – his emotive, urgent call to change our behaviours to save the planet – has sparked a phenomenal response where we have been compelled to take action, putting pressure too on big business and governments to do the same. Whether recycling, moving to electric cars, planting wild flowers and trees or picking up litter, these small actions help us to feel that we are playing our part in tackling an existential threat, however small that part might feel. They bring us meaning and purpose in a worldwide movement of intent to make the world a safer, better place for generations to come. There is still a massive urgency, and obviously much, much more to do (don’t get me started on the issue of net zero goals), but chapeau to Sir David who has done so much to bring us awareness and a sense of duty to do our bit.

In business, a great strategic narrative has the same call to action – an honest, credible and transparent plea for active engagement and support, which is rooted in reality and links both the challenge the organisation is facing, what we need to do differently or better, and what success will look like if we meet and overcome that challenge together. Conversely, a poor internal narrative is one which simply talks about our strengths, our purpose, what we do for our customers and what a great place it is to work: a rosy picture of success that won’t make anyone feel uncomfortable enough to get out of their seat to do something different.

People need to feel valued – that they are playing their part in a bigger story of change and transformation. Leaders need to initiate conversations where their teams can proactively come up with ideas for different or better ways of working, that they are playing out their heroism rather than being victims of change. A rallying cry, a call to arms – that sense of being part of a movement that will bring a greater good – is tremendously motivating. It’s what engages and energises us, and brings us meaning, purpose and a sense of belonging. Together we can overcome the threat and conquer the world. Well, make a start, anyway.

Inspirational leadership storytelling techniques Steve Jobs built Apple’s success on

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., was not just a visionary in the world of technology; he was also a masterful storyteller. His ability to weave compelling narratives played a pivotal role in inspiring and motivating the people at Apple. Through a combination of captivating speeches, product launches, and a deep understanding of human psychology, Jobs harnessed the power of storytelling to create a company culture that drove innovation and excellence.

A compelling origin story

Apple’s story began in a garage, where Jobs and Steve Wozniak built their first computer. Jobs knew that every great business needed a compelling origin story, and he often shared this humble beginning with employees. He used this narrative to instil a sense of purpose and determination in his workforce, reminding them that Apple was not just a technology company but a symbol of innovation and rebellion against the status quo.

Creating a vision for the future

Jobs had an uncanny ability to paint a vivid picture of the future. He used storytelling to create a compelling vision for Apple, one where technology seamlessly integrated into our lives, transforming the way we work and play. His famous “1984” commercial for the Macintosh is a prime example of his visionary storytelling. By showing an Orwellian dystopia shattered by the introduction of the Macintosh, he not only introduced a product but also a vision of empowerment and freedom.

Making it relatable

Steve Jobs understood that technology could be intimidating. To bridge the gap between complex technology and everyday users, he employed storytelling. During product launches, he would often share anecdotes and real-life scenarios where Apple’s products could improve people’s lives. He made technology relatable by telling stories about how his own experiences shaped his vision for Apple’s products. And this technique continues in Apple’s product launches, with very emotive human stories being used at the start of the latest product event.

Building emotional connections

Jobs realised that people don’t just buy products; they buy into stories and emotions. He was a master at building emotional connections with both employees and customers. When he returned to Apple in 1997, he delivered a speech where he said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” This narrative of challenging the status quo and making a difference resonated deeply with employees, motivating them to push boundaries and achieve greatness.

Resilience through narrative

Apple faced its share of setbacks and failures over the years, but Jobs used these moments to reinforce the narrative of resilience and determination. When he returned to Apple, he often referred to the company’s near-collapse as a valuable learning experience, emphasising the importance of staying true to Apple’s core values.

Inspiring innovation

One of Jobs’ greatest storytelling talents was his ability to inspire innovation. He encouraged employees to think differently and embrace a mindset of innovation. He once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” This narrative encouraged Apple’s workforce to constantly seek new ideas and approaches, driving the company’s continued success.

Steve Jobs was not just a tech visionary; he was a master storyteller who used narratives to inspire, motivate, and shape the culture at Apple. He understood that stories have the power to connect people to a shared vision, to make technology relatable, and to foster a culture of innovation. Jobs’ legacy at Apple continues to live on through the company’s dedication to storytelling, a testament to the enduring power of narrative in inspiring employees and a devoted customer base and driving success.

Putting ourselves in sales leaders’ shoes

Selling is full of ugly jargon. Thinking of customers as ‘prospects’ and ‘leads’, and using expressions like pipelines, deal-flows, MQLs and customer acquisition costs gives selling and sales people a bad name.

So we’re telling the stories that are Reimagining Sales and enabling sales teams around the world to do the same. We help them to move away from the clichés and the staid products/benefits approach, shifting to the concept of potential outcomes for their customers, based on an understanding of their needs, objectives, and pain points.

Sales teams need to understand the journey customers are on and demonstrate how they empathise with their situation. It’s time to ‘PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES’

At The Storytellers we think deeply about business strategies for clients and marry that with distinctive, creative story-driven approaches.   We’ve explored the story that is common to sales leaders and their teams – it’s a peek into our smart thinking around outcome-based selling, coming together with an engaging idea to motivate audiences both rationally and emotionally.

Don’t wait for the other shoe to drop. Have a read and reimagine the power of your sales.

 

Chapter One: As successful salespeople, we are great storytellers who built our careers on trust

 

Where does it hurt

Chapter Two: But our clients needs have evolved, and they are paralysed by FOMU

 

Chapter Three: We can create mutually rewarding partnerships

 

Get unstuck

Chapter Four: By sharing our knowledge and insights, focusing on client outcomes

 

Bespoke solutions that last

Chapter Five: And deeply understanding our clients’ stories

 

Lift off

Chapter Six: We will put ourselves in our clients’ shoes, generate deep sales and exceed our targets

 

 

What’s your story – how can we help you inspire your organisation with it?

 

Download the free ebook: Nine drivers to accelerate your strategy

Understand how high-performance organisations activate their people to accelerate change and overcome strategic challenges.

 

There’s a reason why 70% of strategic change initiatives fail to realise their original objectives. It’s the human side of strategy and change that time and again is the determining factor.

Working with organisations to activate their people to deliver significant change strategies over the last 20 years, we’ve identified the nine key drivers which accelerate activation, engage colleagues in strategic challenges and unlock discretionary effort and ingenuity.

These range from overcoming the fear, confusion and apathy often associated with change, through a clear and compelling narrative, to ensuring leaders are aligned and championing the strategy, avoiding conflicting points of view and diversion of focus and effort. All nine are explored in this ebook. 

How this ebook will help:

  • Clear, summarised and easily digestible list of the nine factors that need to be in place for strategy to be effectively activated
  • Outlines the common situations when strategy activation is critical
  • Provides a framework that can be used to assess and establish what you need to prioritise to activate your people in the journey you are on 

Complete the short form to immediately download your copy

Watch on-demand: Two inspirational days of masterclasses and discussion

To celebrate 20 years pioneering the transformative power of storytelling to execute strategy, accelerate change and unlock extraordinary performance, we hosted a series of bite-sized masterclasses from master storytellers sharing the art and science of storytelling – these are now available to watch on demand.

 

Fill in the form to watch all sessions

 

Agenda

Agenda Tuesday 23rd May

 

View full session and speaker details here

 

 

  • 1pm BST – Opening keynote: organisations of the future will be story-driven
  • 2pm BST – Storytelling: the secret weapon for change
  • 3pm BST – Immersive experience: how to make your people the hero of your story
  • 4pm BST – The nine drivers to accelerate the activation of your strategy
  • 5pm BST – A strategic writer’s perspective – how to develop and activate your organisation’s story

 

Wednesday 24th May

 

View full session and speaker details here

 

 

  • 1pm BST – How creative concepts have the power to activate entire organisations
  • 2pm BST – Creating speeches that move mountains
  • 3pm BST – Increase your leadership influence and impact through storytelling
  • 4pm BST – Activating your organisation using story-driven nudge behaviours
  • 5pm BST – Closing reflection: stories that shape the 21st Century

 

Complete the short form to access all on-demand content

 

Why activating your people is critical for successful M&A

Organisations pursue mergers or acquisitions for a variety of reasons: entry into new markets, plays for innovation or new talent, and customer-base expansion to name a few. In the current turbulent environment, we see that many deals are focused on productivity rather than pure financial objectives. With that core objective in mind, the ability to rapidly activate the optimisation strategy is critical to M&A value creation.

Whatever their nature, our research with Mergermarket confirms that mergers and acquisitions are notoriously difficult to execute effectively. One of the common reasons for failure is that leaders underestimate the importance of – and focus too little on — the people and culture factors in the equation. This is even more heightened when the purpose is to achieve operating synergies, which can be put at risk through underperformance and talent attrition because employees are unclear on the role they play, fearful of change and in turn become demotivated, quietly quit or loudly leave.

Featuring insights from senior M&A executives at major global blue chips around the world, our eBook shares findings gathered through a survey of 100 senior executives.

Featuring:

  • Why people and culture matter in M&A, and what happens when they are neglected
  • How to build cultural alignment and engagement
  • Why resetting the narrative is key and insight into the story-driven methodology The Storytellers has successfully employed to activate employees in post-merger integration strategies

Complete the short form to immediately download your copy

Cultivating psychological safety through storytelling

A psychologically safe work environment is one where individuals and teams feel able to speak up, challenge the status quo and take calculated risks. Amy Edmondson, the Harvard professor who coined the term, defines it as “a shared belief that an environment is safe for interpersonal risk.”

As Professor Edmondson also points out, this is not about making it a comfortable or easy working environment, it’s about creating a climate where colleagues feel able to critically question the ideas and actions of their peers and leaders – enabling diversity of thought and innovation.

How does psychological safety improve performance?

In a psychologically safe environment, colleagues have permission to take risks, the confidence to critically question, and the freedom to innovate without fear of failure. This encourages inspiration and action.

The case for diverse teams (in all its forms) has been proven time and again. Yet, to harness the diverse perspectives and strengths of a team, everyone must feel respected and empowered. There is no point in having a visibly or cognitively diverse team if the same voices are aired again and again when it comes to key decision making. To establish and reap the benefits of a truly inclusive and diverse team, psychologically safety is essential.

Why leaders should address this fast

While sceptics may interpret this school of thought as encouraging failure without accountability, Mathew Syed’s Black Box Thinking, released in 2015, reminds us that by allowing your teams to acknowledge mistakes and learn from them without judgment, everyone can benefit from those lessons learned and avoid repeating the same mistake.

Psychologically safe environments don’t actively seek failure – instead, they allow teams, organisations, and even entire industries to learn faster. Syed makes the comparison between blame culture in the NHS vs. the critical analysis of errors within the aviation industry. In aviation, there is a commitment to learning from mistakes that enables the industry to collectively take steps to improve its practice. However, the presence of a blame culture and lack of psychological safety within the UK healthcare sector, for example, means that mistakes can take longer to unearth and even longer to learn from – increasing the inevitability that these mistakes are repeated.

In a business world where change is continuous and pace is essential, leaders need to empower their teams to work more autonomously. This is not a ‘nice to have’. If teams don’t feel empowered to make decisions and learn from them quickly, organisations risk being left behind the competition, and potentially, their business becoming irrelevant.

How a storytelling culture creates psychologically safe environments:

Stories help us to make meaning of the world and people around us – it’s an instinctive and natural way to connect with other humans.

In hybrid and remote working environments, creating an innate sense of psychological safety is even harder to achieve as you can’t rely on ad-hoc water cooler moments to connect with colleagues. Developing a storytelling culture provides a solution to this by equipping leaders with a simple and effective way to develop emotional connections with their teams (even through a screen) which in turn cultivates a psychologically safe environment.

We work with clients to implement organisation-wide storytelling cultures to empower teams so that colleagues across the business are equipped with the means and fora to share stories during team calls, town halls, 1:1s, key events and online social work platforms. This commitment to being open and forthcoming with stories, in turn, reduces a climate of fear and fosters a sense of authenticity and innovation.

With one large organisation we recently supported, we helped their leadership team to challenge the dominant narrative that governed the relationship between managers and employees. This ‘background’ narrative had traditionally dictated the working environment where the manager provides instructions, and the employees’ role was simply to deliver as they were told. To overcome this, the new organisational story we created with them articulated both the company’s vision and the role they wanted employees to play in achieving it. We also put in place interventions and practices to embed a storytelling culture throughout the organisation. This shift in the culture of the company helped employees to feel more empowered to contribute and be active players in the organisation’s direction rather than passive participants. 

When team leaders — and others — practice genuine inquiry that draws out others’ ideas, listening thoughtfully to what they hear in response, psychological safety in the team grows. The need for inquiry is heightened in diverse teams because of the number and variety of perspectives represented.” Harvard Business Review 

By sharing stories of failure and success, leaders send out a strong message to their teams that value is placed on the willingness to act and drive teams forward over and above a pursuit of perfection or to maintain the status quo. At a deeper level, they place value on the need for new ideas and diverse perspectives – creating a truly inclusive environment that allows individuals to thrive and bring their unique solutions to the table without judgement.

How storytelling will re-energise your EVP

The dimensions of work have changed rapidly in recent years, with many factors, including digital transformation, hybrid working and ‘The Great Resignation,’ leading to a renewed strategic focus on retention and recruitment within organisations worldwide. As a result, attention has turned towards the platform on which organisations can build their employer brand and experience – the Employee Value proposition (EVP).

93 per cent of the organisations we are currently engaging with are revisiting their EVP. What we’re seeing is an EVP evolution. To create a standout EVP, a comprehensive list of core components will no longer cut it. If you want to attract the best people, you must also emotionally connect them to your business. And even then, if this proposition doesn’t measure up to the reality of your employer brand, great people – those with the talent and skillsets you don’t want to lose – will quickly become disillusioned and their heads turned elsewhere.

With experience delivering change and transformation programmes for over 200 large and complex organisations, we believe storytelling can play a critical part in re-energising your EVP to elevate your employer brand and experience.

Featuring insights from members of The Storytellers team, this eBook explores how storytelling can be harnessed to re-energise your EVP and ensure that the promise you make to your people is grounded in reality.

Download the eBook to explore:

  • Why your leadership team should be focusing on the effectiveness of your organisation’s EVP
  • How narrative can be used to help align and elevate your proposition
  • How stories can be harnessed to build belief in your EVP