Stories make us human. We tell them every day. For thousands of years, humans have relied on stories to communicate and connect with each other. Research shows that chemicals like oxytocin – which is associated with empathy – are released in the brain when we’re told a story. And anyone working in internal communications will probably tell you that storytelling is an effective way to engage employees and build a sense of community within an organization.
39% of employees struggle with finding a sense of belonging and culture at their company.
With many offices opening but part of the workforce continuing to work remotely, how can you foster a unified and inclusive culture? The digital workplace is where many organizations need to up their internal comms game and build that sense of belonging.
It’s obvious to say that storytelling can help with that, but how? Here are a few tips we’ve learned from talking to many of our customers working in internal communications.
Top 6 storytelling tips for internal communications
Make your stories relevant to your audience. That means answering this question: What’s in it for me? If there’s nothing in it for the reader, your message will fall flat. Or just plain ignored. You decide. Looking at your digital workplace analytics should give you a sense of things like collaboration and teamwork, and help you decide where to focus your internal communications.
Be honest and authentic. You know that person who likes to give you the spin? The silver lining when there really isn’t one? Yeah. Don’t be that person. Be authentic and trustworthy. That means not being afraid to tackle the difficult topics in your organization. If there are issues, your organization should be prepared to fix them. Take steps to repair a toxic workplace.
Give thanks and be positive. Share stories that make employees feel good when they’ve gone above and beyond, worked hard, or are celebrating a milestone. Employee wellbeing is top of mind for every organization these days. Boost morale and put positive stories out there. Your digital workplace solution should have features that make it easy to recognize employees and for coworkers to praise each other.
Get personal. If you have a personal story you can share that will help build a connection with your audience, do it, because it’s important in getting your message across. 2020 gave us a window into the home lives of work colleagues. Kids and pets walked in on video calls. Sharing personal stories – and inviting others to do the same – can help bring humanity to your communications. Sadly, 41% of employees struggle with feeling a sense of camaraderie with coworkers. Internal communications can play a part in building that camaraderie.
Consider your tone. If your communication feels like a corporate snooze fest, guess what? You’ll lose your audience. Of course, check the tone of your communications to make sure you’re speaking to your employees in a way that’s appropriate. We have several customers in financial services – an industry that’s typically more ‘traditional’ in terms of their culture and comms – and they come to us looking to help them improve their internal communications and build stronger communities.
Bring your stories to life. A picture says a thousand words, right? Tell your stories visually with videos and images. 51% of employees today struggle to feel connected and engaged with their work. Communicate with them in ways that will get their attention and help boost that engagement with your content.
On that last note, we’ve updated our Beezy Stories Editor (the feature that lets you create and edit stories in Beezy) to help make your stories more engaging, compelling, and beautiful than ever. Have a look.
To learn more about what Beezy can do for internal communications, check out our on-demand webinar from the Internal Communications Conference, where we led a session on how to get community engagement right in a hybrid work model.
And if you want the latest research on what's ailing employees these days, and the actions needed to fix the problems and boost engagement, have a look at our recent research report.