Storytelling for Internal Communications: 5 Best Practices

Updated: Jan 29

Crafting compelling stories about your organizational narrative is one of the most persuasive ways to instill a shared sense of culture, vision and strategy with your employees.

1. Use your on-brand, authentic voice.

Think about your favorite TV show characters and how episode after episode, you gain a deeper understanding of their personalities and come to expect how they'll act in certain situations. When they act out of character or say something that doesn't quite ring true, it has a jarring effect, doesn't it? The same goes for the leaders who are cast in a starring role at your organization. During times of transformation, the need for a truthful, on-brand voice is essential to an authentic narrative, especially when there's a new plot twist.

2. Keep it clear and simple.

IBM Watson Media found that 58 percent of employees wish they had better insight into their company's next steps. Storytelling provides a perfect opportunity to fuse your organizational narrative with a straightforward and transparent plotline.

3. Make sure it's relevant to the audience.

A study by McKinsey & Company found that employee productivity increases by 20 to 25% when employees feel connected. One of the most effective ways of connecting with your staff is to create employee personas, then write stories with them in mind. You may not be able to create a persona for every employee population or business unit, but you can develop enough to reach - and inspire - your most prevalent target audiences.

4. Let employees tell the story.

Employee-generated stories bring an added level of credibility and relatability to the audience. By encouraging employees to share their stories, you can help them become active participants in your organization's culture and transformation. Foster an open-submission story policy throughout the organization and give employees the opportunity to share their stories through a wide range of channels, including the company blog, intranet, e-newsletters and social media pages.

5. Identify and coach your best storytellers.

Just like a best-selling novel, the most memorable organizational stories include riveting plots, a compelling narrative, and a bit of drama. So, if you want to create a page-turning story for your company, keep an eye out for natural storytellers, then help them develop their storytelling gifts even further. Look for staff members who are passionate, fully engaged, and active listeners, and help them cultivate the nuances of storytelling, including timing, place, arcs, context and audience.