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Storytelling And Onboarding: The Recipe For A Happy Marriage

Posted by Mathew French

31 May 2018

If you've heard any of the news about the Financial Services Royal Commission, it is pretty clear that these businesses don't do a very good job of conveying and embedding mission-critical concepts (like ethical behaviour) into their organisation. Communicating the values of your business, and illustrating the culture of your organisation to both potential and actual employees is one thing. Ensuring that those values aren't just paid lip service, but become lived experiences at ALL levels within your organisation, is definitely business-critical in today's marketplace. If the interrogations and admissions of the Royal Commission are anything to go by, it is clear that there is such a wide gap between words and actions in business that something needs to be done. But what? Our last couple of Blog posts have focused on the importance of getting Onboarding right, and the untapped benefits of storytelling for HR. In this Blog, we will explore how you can use the power of story as part of your Onboarding process to set the right tone for the expectations your business has about 'how we do things around here.'

Set The Standard, Right From the Get Go

When new employees commence with your business, the job of translating your values and culture into action begins. How do you instil into new hires 'how you do things' in a way that doesn't land as an unattainable abstraction? This is particularly critical in an environment where the values and mission your organisation purports to aren't modelled by your leadership team in an obvious manner.

According to storytelling experts Narativ, 'stories illustrate your key concepts in a way that is unique, replicable, and persistent. In particular, when peers tell stories to new hires, there’s immediate connection, resonance, and relevance.' Of course, management and leadership can tell stories too, but it has almost become MORE important for management and leadership to be the ones who model appropriate behaviour, as opposed to them being the ones who stand up and pontificate about how things are done. This is especially true if they can't then illustrate how things are done in both words and action in a visible and transparent manner to all employees in the business.

Narativ is so adamant that training new hires with stories from their peers is a powerful tool for shaping culture in the right way, that they've created a specific process they use with their clients to improve the onboarding, training and knowledge management experience in those businesses.

Subscribe-HR-Blog-Knowledge-Story-Cycle

Train New Hires With Stories From Their Peers

In the process Narativ has developed to improve the Onboarding process, the storytelling they teach their clients begins with deep listening. That's why their 'Knowledge Story' process starts with a listening-assessment session, where they identify pain-points and training objectives, and locate the knowledge-holders in the business who will provide content. Excavation of that content and story-crafting is followed by intensive, one-to-one interview sessions. Narativ then use group storytelling to catalyse insights not found in one-on-one interviews.

The stories and information such sessions produce give rise to the training modules and courseware a business will then use in the Onboarding, training and knowledge management process. Narativ has learned through years of experience using this process with client after client that it marries exceptionally well with the natural cycle of information flow within an organisation. 'Such information flows begin with individual experiential knowledge that then flows to peers and eventually a wider knowledge pool, shaping and influencing a company’s culture.'

Consider Storytelling For Your Onboarding Process

The process Narativ uses to surface story in an organisation delivers multiple benefits to new employees as part of their Onboarding and training experience. These benefits can be put to use in your business to enhance and illustrate the values and culture of your organisation as your new hires begin their first tentative steps along their employee lifecycle. Using Narativ's work as an example, here are just a few of the benefits that story can bring to your Onboarding process:

  • Put knowledge-seekers (listeners) in a reciprocal dialogue with knowledge-originators (storytellers).
  • Discover useful connections between seemingly unrelated knowledge assets.
  • Replace costly and time consuming knowledge-sharing workshops.
  • Iterate training based on emergent information.
  • Transform data-heavy presentations into relatable, memorable story-content.

What is the Onboarding process like in your organisation? Do you have the systems you need to make a great first impression and to teach your new hires how you do business? If you're ready to use digital HR to improve your Onboarding process, we've got a limited time offer for you. We're giving away our new Employee Onboarding Software for FREE. Yes, for FREE. Interested?

Yes, I Want To Try Onboarding For Free!

Image Credit: Narativ 'Knowledge Story' process

Topics: Employee Onboarding Software, Onboarding, Storytelling

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