How employee stories can highlight career progression potential
Career progression is a top priority for your employees. That feeling of going nowhere, of being bored and unchallenged is one of the biggest triggers to quit an existing job (far above salary). And as Facebook found, the people who are with you for the long haul are very likely to feel they are picking up the skills and experiences they need to develop their careers.
Because it’s a big deal for your audience, it follows that opportunities for career progression should take centre stage in your employer branding strategy. In our earlier blog post, we flagged up the use of employee stories as an extremely effective way of highlighting personal growth. Here, we see how this approach is especially useful for keeping career-motivated employees engaged.
Stories give your brand credibility - and prove what’s possible, career-wise
Savvy applicants know enough not to take the company line at face value. People are 16 times more likely to read content from a “real person” about a brand than content from the organisation itself; something that helps to explain the popularity of sites such as Glassdoor.
It’s one thing to claim that you offer “excellent career progression opportunities”. But where’s the proof? This is really where employee stories come into their own, by fleshing out your brand promise.
The junior PHP developer who is now leading a team, the customer sales rep who’s been seconded to your new overseas branch, the technician who’s working towards her accreditations: these are all stories worth telling - precisely because they help you show rather than just tell what’s on offer within your organisation.
The “just like me” effect
Psychologists call it implicit egotism - and it can be an incredibly compelling way of engaging with individuals on an emotional level. The phenomenon suggests that we’re drawn to people who are “just like us”; whether it’s a case of physical characteristics, or, as in this case, people who are in a similar position in their careers.
So think about those people in your organisation who are following a great career path - and who display precisely the traits you want to see more of. These are exactly the people who could make prime storytellers!
It's worth introducing employee stories at an early stage. This helps you and your employees in two important ways: it reassures them that you take career progression seriously - and more generally, it can assist with the employee orientation process. Here are two possible ways to do this:
- Get employees to tell their stories 'in the flesh' via an initial career progression induction talk.
- Weave stories and insights from employees into your new hire documentation.
Connect on an emotional level
Stories have the power to hit home with your audience in a way that just isn’t possible with a bulleted list of career benefits – or even a corporate information video. This can be especially useful if you can give your people not just the green light – but the confidence and tools to create their own narratives describing what they are doing and what they are achieving within your organisation. The Booking.com One Mission campaign is a great example of this: employees record their experiences – and this is used by the company as a springboard for the creation of further employer brand building marketing collateral.
The upshot? Focus on storytelling to showcase career progression opportunities – and also make sure you give your people what they need to create their own stories!