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Capture your employee stories during COVID-19 for sharing later on

Reading Time: 5 minutes

There are so many amazing stories happening at workplaces during the pandemic that candidates and team members will want to know about. Capture your employee stories during COVID-19 right now. You can share them with candidates later.

One of my favorite writers and thinkers, Tim Urban, recently Tweeted a screenshot of a message he received from a friend who’s a surgeon (warning: language). 

There’s so much that can be unpacked from this one brief message.

1. The message starts with a window into the difficulties that frontline healthcare workers face right now. 

2. Then, it gives us insight into healthcare workers’ motivations. (“We’re all getting to do exactly what we’ve always wanted: be clinicians and use our judgement … see a problem, solve a problem, tell a friend, watch it catch on around the ICU.”)

3. The message highlights incredible collaboration happening between colleagues.

4. It talks about how leadership at this surgeon’s hospital has done a great job of letting the experts on the frontlines do what they do best. (In doing so, it also sheds some light on the administrative burdens that clinicians face during normal times.)

5. IT INCLUDES A STORY, which serves as evidence to support the claim about the effective leadership happening at that hospital. “One of our junior residents put together this ICU procedure team and did the legwork to make it happen, and now she’s functionally my boss.” It then uses a powerful metaphor to give more context to the leadership claim and to the story.

Not surprisingly, given Stories Inc.’s area of focus, the quick story about the junior resident rising to the occasion in the ICU immediately jumped out at me.

The Stories Inc. team and myself have already shared a lot about leadership in light of the COVID-19 crisis. So, I’m not going to focus on the leadership takeaway of that specific story — the surgeon already does a beautiful job of that.

Keep in mind that this was an off-the-cuff note to a friend, not an official piece of content. Additionally, finding the right tone in external content is not easy in these unprecedented times. And, some employer brands are, understandably, not ready to start sharing recruitment marketing content with candidates. That’s okay.

(One idea: if you’d like to ease back into sharing content, you could start by sharing stories internally amongst employees, and waiting until you’re ready to share externally.)

But be sure to capture the stories.

I just want to focus on the mere fact that the story was documented somewhere, somehow.  

The story was one sentence long. It was located within a few lines of some suspect sentence capitalizations. It was part of a simple text message. But the important thing is that it captured employee stories during COVID-19. The stories are preserved and can be revisited later on—when the time is right for the organization to more formally share.

There are so many amazing stories happening at workplaces right now that candidates and team members will want to know about — especially on the frontlines and especially in healthcare, but not exclusively. These folks have been through a lot, so please be sensitive if you’re approaching them for stories. After you’ve made sure they’re well and willing to share with you, consider asking what’s been inspiring to them during this experience.

Ask your teammates, “What will you always remember about these days in the thick of COVID-19? What learning lessons will you come away with?” 

Make note of these stories! Jot them down in your notes app. Scribble them on paper. Record a voice memo with a quick recap. Text them to yourself or a coworker. Do whatever you need to do to preserve them to be able to come back to later.

These stories can be turned into shareable content later on. And not just shareable content, but content that will be incredibly useful to candidates.

The message in that one Tweet has so much useful information for candidates on its own. Now, imagine what could be created with that story as part of a facilitated, professional production process. And that quick screenshot can serve as a memory cue once that story is ready to be shared with candidates.

Want to learn more about communicating your employer brand during and in the transition out of the pandemic? Check out our COVID-19 resources for talent marketing pros.