We often get asked, Why tell your company story? It’s simple. Story is how best to transmit ideas, and to make a compelling case for those ideas.
At Echo, we recently revisited a TED talk we often refer to, by Simon Sinek. If you haven’t seen it, do watch the link below.
Sinek’s argument about “getting to why” is a compelling one for many entrepreneurs. Everyone wants to work with people who are passionate about what they do. There is a whole industry built on transmitting that passion and inspiring greatness.
The thing is, to inspire greatness, you usually need to have great people to start with.
Marketing has used storytelling to great effect to build company brands and drive sales. Storytelling is also a powerful tool for human resources. Many people can say “I’m a sales rep” or “I’m a project manager.” It’s not exactly sexy, is it?
But to say you work to disrupt the status quo or to change lives? That’s the inherent superhero quality that the best and brightest among us desire.
Life is short. We all want to be part of a game changer.
A Great Company Story Attracts Talent
Over the weekend, I read this great piece from the New York Times Magazine. The whole thing is worth a read, but one nugget stopped me dead in my tracks.
The marketplace is competitive, and if you’re not working on this or that potentially industry-disrupting idea, someone else will get there before you. But it breaks down when you begin to question whether or not your idea is actually industry-disrupting or, really, meaningful at all. I was asking a friend, a former computer-science major who now works for a hedge fund in New York, why he chose finance instead of tech. “There are so few start-ups that are doing things that are worthwhile to me,” he said.
Many companies are in the business of attracting top talent. However, the competitive advantage may not be in your competitive benefits package or your sweet corporate digs. If you provide someone with an opportunity to make a difference with their work life, you will instantly leap to the top of their wish list. How do you convince them that you’re the company going places? Tell your story.
If you are not convincing future hires of the inspiration inherent in your company story, you have big problems. You probably have a profoundly disengaged workforce. Your company is less resistant to crisis. You’re a second-class citizen.
Say you’re a young engineer who is looking for a job – and a life-changing experience. You meet an HR rep who tells you that on 9/11, his company worked night and day to send truckloads of safety supplies to first responders in New York. That they had stared blearily at a television set as George Bush stood flanked by firefighters wearing their helmets. That they had been the first port of call because their why was making the world a safer and better place. The representative says nice things about your credentials, but adds that you should consider working there only if you are wanting to literally save lives. Otherwise, you can try Silicon Valley.
That is a story from one of our clients, MSA. They call it The MSA Way. They only want to work with those who buy into safety as an inspirational reason to get up in the morning. They believe in saving lives. They just happen to make safety helmets in Pittsburgh, PA.
So. What is your company’s why? And how did you get there?
We’d love to hear you tell us that story.