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5 ways to find and share stories during the crisis

Reading Time: 6 minutes

COVID-19 is causing us to change the ways we find and share stories. Currently, all of us in employer brand and recruitment marketing are rethinking our approaches to content creation and promotion.

The way we produce content is also changing. With the move to remote work in many industries, what would normally be done in person may now need a virtual approach. And asking front line workers, who are still on site, to participate in content creation takes them away from the jobs they need to do right now.

Still, as we relayed in our piece on crisis communications, “saying nothing is saying something.” 

Here are five ways to find and share stories, and create a new plan for attracting and engaging talent.

1. Gather and share stories with substance.

Consider pausing content that feels too light, and seek stories with real substance. For example, Ochsner Health Systems’ #OchsnerHeroes campaign shares stories of their front line team members and their perspective on the role they are playing right now.

You've met some of our #OchsnerHeroes. Today's superhero actually flies! Meet today's #OchsnerHero, RN Catherine Smith…

Posted by Ochsner Health on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

You can also showcase what your company is doing to support employees, customers and your community during this challenging time. E. & J. Gallo shared the valuable work their teams are doing to produce hand sanitizer. Their Instagram post is a thank you message, but it also shows how their people are helping bring critical products to market. Plus, it also provides a behind-the-scenes look at team members at work.

2. Show how your company’s values shine through.

We at Stories Inc. have been watching how the current crisis has brought companies’ values to the forefront. Some organizations’ core values are revealed to be nothing more than words on a wall, while other company values can be seen in action.

If your company is doing right by its people and putting your own values in action, find and share those stories. You’ll show candidates how your unique culture shines in times of adversity.

Even if you don’t have the stories captured yet, there are ways to still talk about your values. NBC Universal created a post around National Volunteer Month that shares their commitment to social impact. While it doesn’t include content that is current to the crisis, it acknowledges they are doing something and will be sharing more.

3. Be extra thoughtful with your content schedule.

When you’re ready to share new content with your employees and candidates, the content should be thoughtful. Additionally, don’t feel like you have to proceed with business as usual if it doesn’t feel right given the climate. Plan for additional time to work on this new content. Adding value to your audience has never been more important. 

Hilton, like most travel brands, has been hit especially hard. But they are thoughtfully using their channels to show how they’re helping their team members find new opportunities. Their new content ultimately tells future candidates that as an organization, Hilton cares about its team.

4. Invite employees to share their experiences.

Although some careers channels are quiet right now, I have seen a lot of employees on LinkedIn directly sharing their experiences. My feed has been filled with employees sharing stories and snaps of their new remote work lives. Also, employees are celebrating how their companies are responding to the crisis.

A sensitive sharing of these organic employee stories should be explored by all recruitment marketing and employer brand leaders. These stories will communicate culture, as well as help employees and candidates feel connected during this time of unprecedented isolation.

For example, the Dell Technologies team in Montpellier, France used their musical talents to virtually create a music video that shows their connected culture.

AT&T showed how one team member brightened the day of employees and their families through a virtual storytime.

5. Explore ways of capturing content remotely.

Given that a lot of teams are now working from their homes, think about ways you can gather stories remotely. Here are insights we have observed in our support of and creation of content for remote teams.

  • Stories captured via phone interview can be fashioned into social shares and blog posts. You can even use the interview sound clips as voiceover for video, a montage of images, or animation.
  • Multiple content pieces can come from one employee interview. Connect with employees to hear their whole story, not just what is pressing right now. Some stories can be shared now, and others in the future.
  • Get creative with social storytelling. Employee photos can inspire creative content on your channels. Instagram stories and visual social shares are fresh ways to share stories, and they allow you to get crafty with text and graphics.

Here at Stories Inc., we believe in the power of telling employee stories to show your unique culture to candidates. These stories also reinforce cultural values with current employees. Whether your organization is hiring like crazy or slowing down, there is still an opportunity to find and share stories that show your employees and future candidates how you’re living your values. While this content may eventually become outdated in a social feed, it will never become old to the people who experienced it. 

This is an updated version of my contribution to a post previously published on the Rally Recruitment Marketing blog.