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Storytelling in employer branding separates missionaries from mercenaries

Reading Time: 2 minutes

First Round Review published a great article that examines a common issue these days: the lack of loyalty among engineers to the companies they work for. The article features Tiho Bajic, the CTO of Nitro, who explained that many engineers “are acting like mercenaries. They jump from one team to another.”

Bajic goes on to say, “If you’re hiring for longevity, you’re looking for missionaries — not mercenaries.”

We love thinking about hiring in those terms, and we love that our services help organizations hire the former.

Stories have the power to make someone feel part of something bigger. One research study found that children who know their family’s story are better equipped to handle stress and pressure later in life, because they have what researchers call a strong “sense of intergenerational self” — that is, they draw confidence from feeling like they’re part of something bigger (their family’s story).

In your employer branding content, use stories that embody your company’s pursuit of its mission to help candidates feel like a part of your cause. When they’re joining because they’re inspired by your mission (i.e., when they’re what Bajic calls “missionaries”) they’re much more likely to stick around — longer than someone joining because of your benefits package or your foosball table.

The storytelling shouldn’t end with your employer branding content either. Since new hires are making a decision within the first six months as to whether they plan to stick around long-term, make the most of all the touch points you have with the new hire in their first several months. Infuse onboarding and engagement communications with stories to reinforce your new hires’ connection to your mission.