Getting the Story on your Employee Brand

By Ashley Topuschak, SARC HR Consultant

The spring season of career fairs is underway and it got me thinking – from among the assortment of employers typically at a career fair how do employers in the disability services sector set themselves apart?

The quick answer?  Storytelling.  Among the booths and displays there are many that are easy to pass by.  I’ll be honest – in a busy and crowded career fair I didn’t so much as glance at some of the booths and for the ones I stopped at if corporate speak took over, my attention wavered.  What truly stands out are those employers who capture the value of what they do and why someone would want to work for them.  They capture this through stories.   

Now let’s back up a minute.   Clearly organizations need to have their foundations established to create compelling stories. It is about creating a valuable foundation and then finding the story that accurately reflects what your organization is about.    

By foundation I mean the whole package of what it means to work at an organization.  Yes, pay matters to people, but it is not the only thing.  In fact, there are a whole host of pieces that make an organization attractive to your current and future workforce.  Having transparent policies and procedures.  Having a manager who cares.  Having some level of flexibility in the workplace.  Recognizing employees regularly.  Developing your team.  There is a wealth of things that can be done at the organizational, team and individual level.  If you are interested in learning more, SARC offers training in the Leap program that talks about a number of these foundations, or contact HR Consultant, Ashley Topuschak, for assistance with developing your plan for organizational culture.

It takes work and ongoing refinement for organizations to figure out the foundation that works for them.   So now you have it, what next?   Capture what your organization entails with both the underpinning facts and with stories that make it come alive.  

Storytelling has long been known as a technique used by presenters and leaders.  The reasons relate to how our brains work, and there is so much evidence about the power of storytelling to make an impact.  Just watch a skilled speaker and see how they do it.    Stories create pictures and emotions and these are far more memorable than any company info sheet.    Stories create a human connection that in the case of an organization allows potential recruits to see themselves working with your people and your purpose.  Stories get at the heart of what your organization does.  They are the vivid representation of your mission, vision and goals.   They are motivating for those your organization touches and set the tone for recruits.

So, where to begin?   

This doesn’t have to be daunting.  Community based organizations are very good at telling the stories of the communities you serve.  This is about translating those stories and others about who your organization is to your audience of potential recruits.   If you don’t tell your own story, someone else will do it for you. 

You can start small.  It can be the time you take during an interview when you talk about your organization.  It can be how you explain what you do and the people who do it at a conference or career fair.  It can be the introductory piece at a realistic job preview.  Then after that branch out to telling your story on your website and social media.  Once you have it, remember to relentlessly deliver on the picture you have created.

You will not hire every potential recruit that comes into your interviews, but they may be your future volunteers, board members, business partners or funding sources.   Leave them with the strongest impression that sticks.  And as you think about your organization’s stories, we want to hear them too.  As part of SARCs 50th anniversary year we are ready to celebrate the success and accomplishments of our members.  We are actively collecting stories and are excited to hear yours.  


Please Note: The included information is for reference only, and SARC and its Members, their employers, officers, and Directors assume and accept no liability for any consequences arising from the use, non-use, accuracy, or legal compliance of any of the information, tools, or resources provided.

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