Understanding Organizationís Corporate Narrative Scores Low on Engagement Surveys

Tips to Build a Strategic Corporate Narrative to Engage Employees, Shareholders, and Customers

When employees respond to engagement survey questions regarding corporate narrative, oftentimes they come up short. Understanding an organizationís culture and narrative is a key component of employee engagement. What is your organizationís narrative? And, more importantly, how do you engage employees and customers with it?

Strategic alignment is the extent to which employees understand what the organization is trying to accomplish and how the work they do fits into and/or contributes to that. Building a strategic narrative and having an effective communication plan to share the narrative are ways to retain top talent and grow as an organization. Without a narrative, employees are just playing out random scenes. A narrative gives context and a common goal for everyone.

But how?

Here are 5 tips to build a strategic corporate narrative to engage employees, excite shareholders, and attract customers.

1. Make Everyone Part of the Story: Donít slip down the infomercial slide, touting all the great things about your organization. Itís not so much about what you do, instead who you are. Personalize your organizationís narrative so itís more relatable to both employees and customers. Make your employees and customers an integral part of the narrative. They are the protagonists of the story. Your organization supplies the structure, but theyíre the key players within that framework. (Think Different, Taste the Feeling, Just Do It).

2. Keep It Simple: Now is not the time to go down the Marcel Proust road of narratives. Brevity is key. Oftentimes the heart of a narrative is not what you put in, instead what you leave out. That space is where your customers and employees engage with the organization and personalize the story.

3. Know Your Past, Understand Your Today, and Project for Tomorrow: How did the organization begin? Whatís the founding story? What is the social, political, economic context of where the organization is right now? Where do you want to go? Answering these questions creates context for change and gets everyone aligned with the purpose and direction the organization is taking. Everyone involved in the organization should be able to answer these questions.

4. Keep the Narrative Alive and Inspire: Again, people interact with organizations on a more personal level. Human connection is critical to building a corporate narrative. Employees who are proud of where they work are more engaged and productive. Having a platform to share personal stories Ė of both employees and customers Ė is a way to keep the narrative alive, emotional, and relevant. The narrative is something that the organization, its leaders, employees and customers should live, not just know.

5. How Does Your Brand Make a Difference? This is your story. How does what your organization does change peopleís lives for the better?

A corporate narrative will change and grow with an organization. Itís all based on the organizationís DNA, its purpose. The narrative must align with the brand DNA Ė the basic reason-for-being Ė to feel authentic. Strategies may be similar between organizations, but narratives are unique to each and every one.

You have a story, you have a vision and a goal, so itís time to start sharing it to engage employees, retain top talent, and inspire customers.


How to Build a Strategic Narrative, Harvard Business Review

Hints & Tips: Developing a Strategic Narrative

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