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Employer branding for remote and hybrid work culture needs real stories

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Effective employer branding for remote and hybrid work culture requires real stories from employees who are working, and thriving, remotely.

Employees are working remotely and want to stay remote. Candidates think not having the option is a dealbreaker. And, having the choice on when to come into the office and when to work from home rules all.

According to Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker* survey:

  • 1 in 3 American workers does not want to work for an employer that requires them to be onsite full time.
  • 42 percent of employees say that if their company does not adopt or continue to adopt remote work options, they’ll look for a new job. 
  • 68 percent of employees believe a hybrid workplace model is ideal. 

With the changing wants of candidates and employees, our employer branding and methods of creating employer branding content must change, too

Yesterday’s employer branding content 

A few years ago, many companies still relied on cool office spaces or fun perks as a shortcut to communicating culture. They called it employer branding and then called it a day. However, now that employees are working in remote and distributed teams, “the office” is no longer synonymous with “the culture”.

Besides, perks easy to copy and paste from one career page to the next, and are not substantive aspects of an employer brand. And, they’re rarely a deciding factor for candidates or a retention tool for existing employees.  

Importantly, if your culture and employee work option have changed in the pandemic, your content must correspond.

Today’s distributed teams & employer branding 

Your employer brand is an evolving idea that exists no matter where team members are working. It can’t be contained within workplace walls. And, if your people are working remotely, how they are thriving as members of a distributed team is an important aspect of your employer brand. 

Employee stories provide the best culture content and give the clearest insight into what it’s really like to work at your company. Therefore, showing your company’s hybrid or distributed team culture, and sharing the stories of this right-now employee experience, is content that is critical to communicating your current employer brand.

Show candidates what flexibility looks like at your company

If your workplace is providing flexibility and choice in where and when team members work, you have a huge advantage in the Great Resignation.

Show candidates what balance and choice looks like at your company with real employee photos. Dell Technologies has always offered flexibility at work, and in 2021 we helped them captue what life can look like both in and outside the office for Dell team members.

Create content virtually and show virtual culture

Whether team members are working virtually all or some of the time, or other aspects of culture have shifted, you must capture and communicate the new reality.

At Stories Inc., we’re capturing stories virtually for variety of clients (see our detailed case study of virtual story sessions for Philips) as well as uncovering employee stories IRL at storytellers’ homes. And, we’re also getting these stories for our own company culture content. As our team expands, we have sought to communicate to candidates the empathy present in our virtual, distributed team culture. One example is team member Jessica’s story of how she felt supported and experienced flexibility as a parent working remotely.

For a hybrid workforce, combine in-person and remote culture stories

If your company has some team members working onsite and others remote, weave their stories together in your content to give a full picture of a hybrid culture. Together, these stories give candidates a comprehensive look at how different team members experience your culture and connect to each other.

You can reuse and repurpose footage and photos you already have that are still applicable to your current culture. Combined with up-to-date stories of what it’s like to work virtually or on a hybrid team, your earlier content gets an essential refresh.

Here’s an example how we assisted First Solar in bringing their post-COVID, hybrid culture to life.

Considerations for virtual stories that communicate remote and hybrid work culture

Developing stories-based content from remote employees is a solution that works for your employer brand and telling your company’s right-now story to candidates and employees. However, when employee storytellers are working remotely, uncovering and capturing stories requires additional consideration.

Telling the stories of distributed team members in a meaningful, visually compelling way may seem more challenging, but it’s not: it’s just different. 

Here are some best practices for capturing substantive, visually-engaging employee story content virtually.  

4 tips for capturing content from distributed team members

1. Manage the process

The best content happens when your storytellers feel confident and comfortable sharing their employee experiences. So, prepare each employee just enough to feel comfortable, but not so much that they sound coached and rehearsed.

2. Pay attention to quality

Compelling stories should be honored with good quality audio, video and digital presentation. Assist your storytellers with technology setup and lighting. Create content that you and your storyteller are proud to share.

3. Engage and inform

Capture and share stories that meet the needs of your audiences. Candidates are looking for insight into culture and how the company cares for employees.

4. Connect stories to culture

Clearly connect each story to its cultural takeaway, such as your employer value proposition or values. When you’ve gathered stories that span multiple perspectives, a clear picture of company culture will emerge. 

Updating employer branding content virtually is a win-win

Capturing employee stories virtually has multiple benefits to your employer brand and your talent audiences. It allows you to create content that reflects your current employer brand, no matter where employees are located. If your workforce is distributed, this content accurately shows candidates the culture they can truly expect, and reflects to team members a culture that they’ll recognize.

We can capture your remote and hybrid work culture stories and create compelling content.

* Source: Pulse of the American Worker Survey: Is This Working?, Prudential, April 2021.