Boriana Valentinova


Storytelling to engage employees and promote change

How can you make an upcoming change appealing?

It’s simple! Storytelling. Still, many find it tricky as it leads to sharing personal experiences and frequently means exposing a vulnerability. Perfection continues to be a self-imposed limitation. But we are not perfect, and the people around us know that. So, stop pretending, give it s twist and turn a self-limitation into an ally to engage and communicate openly.

Storytelling is used extensively in marketing and branding to trigger customer loyalty and attract new targets. The secret of storytelling is the journey, the behind-the-scenes sneak peek, the revelation; we relate to what we see through emotions.

This powerful tool is underused in internal communication within companies. But storytelling can be so effective in engaging with employees and communicating the company’s strategic direction, purpose, goal, or upcoming transformation.

When done well, it can help employees connect with their work and feel more motivated. You can explain the advantages of transformation in a way that is easy to understand. When we tell stories about how change can benefit everyone, we can paint a clear picture of the potential benefits of change.

5 ways to make it engaging

Storytelling helps turn resistance into enthusiasm. But it has to be authentic and honest. So here are some tips for using storytelling to engage employees:

  • Tell the story that is relevant to your employees. The best stories are the ones that resonate with the people. So, share your journey in forming that business. Why did you start, and what steps did you undertake? Explain how you’ve dealt with change and why you need (as a team) to face and embrace future changes.
  • Be personal. The best stories are the ones that are told from the heart. When you share your own stories, you’re giving your employees a glimpse into who you are. This helps them build trust and rapport with you. You don’t have to appeal as the superhero who always saves the day, like the one in The Chainsmokers & Coldplay’s “Something Just Like This“. Instead, sharing how you made and learned from your mistakes would be best.
  • Use visuals. People are more likely to remember stories that are told with visuals. In business, we display lengthy PowerPoint or Slides presentations with graphics, numbers, and slogans. And that’s all right for a shareholders’ conference, financial presentations or public appearances. But they don’t work well in communicating and engaging employees in a transformational initiative. Such long and data-based displays only create apprehension and even overwhelm.

Instead, use easier-to-digest visual support when communicating upcoming changes; photos, videos, or simple illustrations. Furthermore, if your story is linked to a place, take people there and show them where it all started. If that’s impossible, share the story in an informal setting, ideally not in your usual office.

  • Make it interactive. Don’t just tell your stories – invite your employees to participate. Ask questions. Please encourage them to share their own stories. Refrain from imposing change by having decided all the steps of the transformational journey. Do have the strategy mapped out but involve your employees in brainstorming ideas on how to carry out specific actions.
  • Make it fun. Stories should be enjoyable to listen to. If they are dull or superfluous, your employees won’t be engaged. So make sure to add some humour, excitement, or suspense. Make people smile. Suddenly a scary change can appeal as an easy problem to solve.
Personal transfromation

Storytelling is one of the most efficient ways
to communicate and engage

Yes, storytelling can be one of the most effective ways to communicate transformation. We are able to connect with our audience on an emotional level. This is because stories tap into our shared human experiences and allow us to see the world through the eyes of others.