onboarding new talent

Storytelling as your engagement model for onboarding new talent

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Employee orientation sessions, better known as new-hire orientations (NHOs), hold the key to employee retention[1] and their optimal contribution to the workforce. These sessions not only establish the foundation of organizational values, and talk about the vision and mission of the organization, but also reassure the employee, that the decision to work here was a wise one. Unfortunately, most organizations introduce organizational vision and mission through cliché textual presentations. Designing a novel approach that transforms this ordinary session into a narrative, that is interactive and engaging would ensure the content revealed during this session stays with the new-hires for life. What could be a better approach towards employee orientation than storytelling?

According to Jennifer Aaker, Professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business[2], stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone. To help new-hires understand their roles and responsibilities, and familiarize them with the vision and mission of the organization, it is best to introduce them to a storyboard depicting the history of the organization, its current market status, and future directives. Designing a meaningful story, that is inclusive of all such elements is a daunting yet achievable task. The storyline must focus on sharing a higher purpose that unifies each member of the organization to inherit a sense of pride and accountability. Employees then begin their professional journey, with a purpose and meaning which most millennials rate more than a paycheck[3].

The age of millennials

According to National Affairs[4], more than 90% of millennials are likely to switch jobs within first three years. It is a concerning factor for organizational growth since research shows re-hiring employees is a costly affair[5]. Millennials lead a fast lifestyle with busy schedules across all week. They quickly lose interest during monotonous sessions and like to be engaged and participative. It leaves little room for banal content, such as an NHO slideshow, to be effective. However, onboarding software can arrest this issue and let the millennials operate on their favorite medium of communication such as phones or desktops. Since millennials constitute the maximum percentage of the total skilled workforce today[6], revolutionizing the employee onboarding approach might prove to be a stepping stone towards tackling the attrition problem that plagues organizational growth.

Let us look at some of the benefits of utilizing this approach for onboarding new talent.

I for Imagination

Stories unleash our imagination, freeing us from our boundaries to a creative journey where possibilities are endless. A critical outcome of such an engagement is empathy. Participants immerse themselves in the story and thus, can empathize with its various elements. They can foresee their growth path at the organization and sow the seeds of learning new tools and techniques towards approaching problems that they have never encountered before. By allowing them to visualize themselves as a part of the organization, right from the time of their initiation as a member of the organization, they take less time to settle in and feel like a part of a more meaningful cause right from their first day at work.

Moreover, stories shape how the target audience would perceive the image of the narrative. In simpler terms, your story would provide the first impression[7] of the organization to all new employees.

Stories persuade and empower

Stories tend to slow down a listener and immerse them in the narrative itself. To varying extent, research has shown how stories prove to be twice as more persuasive as when facts are presented on their own. Professor Aaker states, to understand the relationship between stories and persuasion her team conducted an experiment[8]. It included designing an advert to help raise funds for improving the lives of children in Africa. Two versions were created— one that included statistical figures, and the other narrating the story of a 7-year-old African child. The results showed that people responded with more than double the contribution to the advert that included a story about the child, as compared to the data representation of the issue.

Once persuaded, employees feel a sense of pride in being a part of an organization. They inherit the core values and consider the mission and vision to be their personal goal.

Everyone has a story to tell

Employee onboarding sessions facilitate new-hires in accepting the new organizational environment that they are about to be a part of. They learn to adapt and incorporate best-practices while bringing their perspective to the table. In the NHOs, organizational stories provide the much-needed context to information— be it hierarchical structure or process flows, among many other types. Participants connect with the knowledge being shared on a more personal level, making sure information is retained by them.

An onboarding story can prove to be an effective ice-breaker to initiate the exchange of ideas. Instead of the session being presented as a briefing, participants immerse themselves in the story that prepares the participants to collaborate and learn the virtues of working in a team.

A new story, a new lesson

Sharing stories during employee onboarding program catalyzes deep thinking towards the company and their role within. Storytelling also aids in helping new-hires amalgamate their story along with the company’s to add value to the organizational vision and mission[9]. It creates a sense of team-work when new-hires are taken through the various stories while being initiated in the organization. It inspires them to add their own success stories to be narrated to a batch of new-hires in the future.

Parting words

Storytelling has proven to be the most effective forms of engagement models since the earliest ages. Our ancestors immortalized stories through cave-painting and folklore. These stories give meaning to our personalized life-experiences. It is through this medium, we share our perception and understanding of the world, leading to a catalytic chain of believing the possibility of solving any problem through serious introspection.

Incorporating facts into an engaging story, during an employee onboarding session helps new-hires memorize facts including process flows, organizational structure, and their role. It would help them become aware of the corporate goals and give them a sense of responsibility for contributing to, and in turn becomes a part of, the organization’s incredible life story.

[1] http://www.kornferry.com/futurestep/futurestep
[2] https://leanin.org/education/harnessing-the-power-of-stories/
[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/karlmoore/2014/10/02/millennials-work-for-purpose-not-paycheck/
[4] https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-future-of-work
[5] https://www.conference-board.org/dna-engagement2017/
[6] https://www.forbes.com/sites/workday/2016/05/05/workforce-2020-what-you-need-to-know-now/
[7] https://leanin.org/education/harnessing-the-power-of-stories/
[8] https://leanin.org/education/harnessing-the-power-of-stories/
[9] http://www.reportlinker.com/insight/office-perks.html

Ila Mishra

Content Specialist at WizIQ. 'Live to write and write to live' is her motto. Passionate about life and living it up!

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