Strategic Storytelling for Recruitment and Retention

If you’re like most organizations in the New North, you’re trying to recruit talent that has a culture fit. And you want to retain the talent you already have. This is an exciting time for business growth in Northeast Wisconsin, but it’s also a challenging time for filling positions.

In a recent article from Forbes magazine, author Erik Samdahl wrote, “Your organization can’t execute your business strategies if you don’t have the right job roles filled.”

He makes a great point. In order to take your company to the next level, you need the right people in place to support you. Our job, then, is simple: We need to help the best people fall in love with our companies.

How do we translate that intention to our potential and current employees? Well, stories are a great place to start.


Tell Them Your Story

Ultimately, recruitment and retention of talent is a very human situation. People want to feel they are part of something bigger. They want to feel valued and know that their ideas and talents matter. We all want to know we’re doing the right thing.

Your company’s vision, mission and values are the stories your current and future talent are longing to hear. The next step is to integrate those elements into your retention and recruitment efforts.

For example, if one of your company values is to “give honest counsel,” a job posting could include language to accentuate that standard.

EXAMPLE: “Are you looking to join a team of hospitable, engaged creative professionals focused on impacting the community through honest counsel and storytelling?”

That same value – “give honest counsel” – can translate internally to transparency about financials, policies and expectations. Or, if your company is known for making business connections, aspire to make those connections for your employees, too, both at work and in the business of living. “Show, don’t tell” is a rule in storytelling that has real-life application.


Show Them They Belong

Another storytelling strategy is to let images do some of the talking. If you have a fun, upbeat work culture, post photos of those vibrant employee interactions on your social media feeds. Show off the interior of your company — spaces, places and people. When you use images to show the values and culture of your company, you help top talent imagine themselves already engaged in contributing to the work and services you provide.


More Than a Job Description

It’s true. We all go through the motions of posting employment positions and pushing them out through social, but a job description doesn’t create an emotional engagement with your organization. The power of story and engagement is far greater than just posting a job.

Sometimes, we, too, forget how our products and services create a ripple effect in our community. As the life and vibrancy of your company, your recruitment and retention depends on your ability to tell—and, more important, show—your company story. With your guidance and commitment, they can tell the world. Because, right now, your next top talent is out there, waiting to fall in love with who you are, not just what you do.


Bridget O’Connor is owner and principal of O’Connor Connective in De Pere.

Are you a business or nonprofit leader looking for assistance in collecting your customers’ or employees’ insights? We can help! Engagement surveys and focus groups are just two of the ways we can gather the insight needed to tell your story best. Connect with us today.

Local event: Join Bridget O’Connor and the Greater Green Bay Chamber on Wednesday, May 22, for “Tell Them a Story: Communication Strategies for Recruitment & Retention.” Events calendar.


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