Inside Story: How Technology Strengthens Company Cultures
By Grant McLaughlin
Motivated employees create exciting ideas, inventive offerings and great client service. We also know that strong cultures create successful organizations and carry a company’s DNA forward.
As social psychologist and MIT professor emeritus Edgar Schein told The Journal of Business Strategy in a 2010 article, “Leaders create cultures, but cultures, in turn, create the next generation of leaders.”
But to gain buy-in from employees, a company’s culture has to be authentic. It must be true to the organization and baked in, not bolted on, to every interaction. Company culture should be evident in every corner of an organization — from recruitment interviews and employee experiences to sales calls and client conversations. It’s a tall order.
To help create and reinforce strong company cultures in today’s fast-paced environment, communications leaders can amplify the ageless appeal of stories by using the latest technologies.
Facts don’t change people; stories do. Stories share beliefs, demonstrate desired behaviors and elicit emotions. Within companies, great stories bolster employee morale and help them do more than they might have believed possible.
Stories are powerful because we relate to them. And because we relate to stories, we remember them. Employees want to tell their stories about their work and new hires want to hear them. Those stories strengthen organizational culture every time they’re retold.
Amid dispersed company locations and diverse priorities, communications leaders have a two-fold challenge: to evaluate the stories a company tells and routinely develop new stories to paint the desired picture.
As communicators, one of our biggest jobs is to understand the stories we’re putting out there and how we might need to adjust or support those narratives. Technology helps us find our stories faster and repeat them often, so people will remember them.
Technology in storytelling
Here are three ways you can use technology to tell stories that will build connections and strengthen culture within your organization:
- On digital platforms, post stories that bolster your organization’s vision and values. Interview stellar employees, recount past successes and share aspirations. For example, we created a video that enlivens corporate events, educates new hires and is posted online to unite teams around the world.
- Invite employees to contribute stories through an online platform and teach them the art of storytelling. Encourage employees to recognize the great stories around them by asking questions such as, “Who in your network has had this kind of experience?” Specificity in your request will greatly improve the results. You’ll be empowering them to become brand ambassadors at scale — thereby gaining the attention of clients, job candidates and former employees.
- Provide technology tools that empower employees to chart their own courses — whether they want to find their next role within the company, hire a new employee, recognize someone for a job well done or make data-driven marketing decisions. (See below.)
Whatever your organization’s goals, now is the time to use technology to tell stories that will bring your employees together. Today’s tools can turn your vision into action.
Here are some technology tools that empower employees, help tell stories and reinforce company cultures:
- Awards and recognition: AnyPerk, Globoforce
- Employee engagement: Dynamic Signal, EveryoneSocial
- Communications, online communities and collaboration: GuideSpark, Slack, Yammer, Workplace by Facebook
- Human-capital management: Workday, PeopleSoft
- Training, learning and development: Udemy, Degreed
- Wellness: CoreHealth, Limeade