Sunday, January 28, 2018

The power of employee storytelling in the Non-Profit community

The first people to share the story of an organisation are the people within your organisation.  If your team can’t tell a good story about the organisation they are working for, then you have a problem. As NGO management leaders we tend to target the group outside the box before working with those inside, and It’s true that we might have a desire to make a change, but if those working with us don’t know the story or can’t tell a good story about our organisation, then we have a problem. Whether you like it or not, there’s a conversation going on about what it’s like to work at your organisation, and it might turn out to be a positive or a negative conversation.

Your team is very crucial to the success of what you are trying to achieve as an organisation. It’s your duty as a team leader to ensure that your team knows what you are trying to achieve, and that they are the right candidates to be working with you. The tone and the content of your work stories are powerful forces in shaping and strengthening your work culture. What your employees share with each other and talk about frequently becomes imprinted on the organizational mind whether outside the organisation or inside the organisation.

Just ask yourself these questions.  Do your employees know what they are doing? Do they have passion for what they are doing? Are they enjoying what they are doing? Are they satisfied with what they are doing? The best way to find this out is by looking at what your employees tell others about their work place and the organisation as overall. I have found so many things about a certain organisation by the stories I get from their employees. Your employees tell stories about their work every day!

Though most of the time we tend think employee storytelling remain inside the organisation, it doesn’t, it goes beyond our expectation. People share stories about the organisation they work for outside their work place. What they share outside the organisation really matters; it can either build or destroy your reputation. Storytelling is the best way to build relationships, cultivate donors and raise money. Storytelling gets at the heart of how humans process information and when not done the right way, it causes a huge damage, especially in the areas of the way we treat our employees. The way you treat your employees is the story they will share, whether internally or externally.

Imagine your employee telling their friends how they are not paid on time, imagine your employees complain about the work overload they are getting, what kind of a picture do you think your organisation is getting? A bad story spreads like a wildfire.

Storytelling rules for selling a brand, organisation culture and open opportunities. Stories are one of the most powerful emotional currencies we humans possess. They have been a fundamental and influential part of the human experience since we developed language. They move people to feel, and they move people to act. With that in mind, you should always look for ways to empower team members to share their own stories in their own voices. Encourage employees to share their experiences, their likes, even their dislikes, and remember, no matter what part employees play in sharing a story, champion authenticity. Allowing these stories to be told organically and on their own terms is branding gold.

Great stories told by your employees outside their workplace will help you express your mission to people who may know nothing about your organisation.  When your employees can tell an amazing story about their organisation, they will inspire more people to take a desired action. Creating a culture of storytelling at your non-profit all comes down to education, inspiration, and information. Sometimes donors do not want to hear all the details about your organization and the programs you provide through you, they might want to hear it from other sources such as your employee.

So, given that employees tell stories; you should ensure that the stories you share with your employees really matter to the extent that they will be glad to share them with others. Work stories affect and shape workplace culture and the external environment of your organisation, often imperceptibly; and new employees are most influenced from day one by work stories that are inspiring. Make sure that you are telling positive, inspiring stories at any management and employee meetings that are regularly held in your company. Make a commitment as a management team to walk your talk and reinforce the culture with positive work stories.

Treat your employees the right way, and let them share the story about their organisation.
I hope this will help you learn how storytelling impacts your organisation.

Chaow Chaow!

Rumishael Ulomi is a Freelance Christian Consultant, Life Coach, and Motivational Speaker in the areas of Christian Ministry, Business, Entrepreneurship, and Social Sector development residing in Moshi,Tanzania.

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