3 Reasons Why Storytelling Is So Right, Right Now (part 2)

By Danielle Foley
Senior Communication Consultant

In part 1 of this blog series, we explained how leaders can use storytelling to help build trust during an uncertain time. In this installment, we discuss how storytelling—in particular stories about the organization’s purpose, mission, and good deeds—can create organizational goodwill that will pay off well into the future.

Google searches for “good news” are at an all-time high. It’s not surprising that we are all in need of a feel-good moment. Many companies have done amazing things to respond to these tumultuous times, so if your company is one of them, it’s time to start sharing these stories with employees.

Storytelling can create organizational goodwill now and for the future.
Organizational pride can help keep people motivated. And it could even be good for their mental health. A recent International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) article maintains, “Keeping employees connected with the purpose and meaning of their work is essential for emotional resilience and mental wellness.”

Starbucks, for example, is doing a particularly good job of telling great stories. Even more inspirational? Employees can also contribute to the storytelling—whether it’s about masks they are making for health care workers or how they were able to help out a neighbor in need.

It’s also a good time to share stories of your organization’s founding and remind employees why and how it came to be. As Paul Zak, Founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies Professor of Economics and author of “Trust Factor” states, “What passion led the founder(s) to risk health and wealth to start the enterprise? Why was it so important, and what barriers had to be overcome?”

Sharing the history of your organization’s founding and larger purpose against the backdrop of our current crisis can be both grounding and unifying. Referencing your founding principles can be appropriate even when sharing difficult news – as Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky did when discussing workforce reduction.

The hope is that when we are on the other side of this pandemic, and employees once again have choices about the kind of organization they want to work for, they will remember how their employer responded and communicated in this moment.

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Don’t miss our 3rd installment: how storytelling can help employees learn about and feel comfortable with new ways of working and living.

Clear and open communication with employees is always critical. We’ve been helping clients communicate with their employees in both good and bad times for over two decades. If you need an extra set of hands to keep employees informed, let us know. We’re here to help.