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Engaging employees through the power of story

As we eagerly await 2017 Super Bowl commercials, I am reminded of one of my favorite holiday TV commercials, which ran the past year. It was a two-minute Apple commercial, called “Frankie’s Holiday.”

As you can see, a lonely Frankenstein-like monster sits home alone winding a tiny music box that plays, “There’s no place like home for the holidays” while recording the song on his iPhone (because it’s an Apple commercial). Frankie then makes the long walk down from his isolated home in the mountains to the town center where people have gathered to celebrate. At first, people are aghast and fearful as he walks into the crowd. They shout, “Go home!” But when he starts singing along with the recorded music on his phone, a little girl smiles and starts singing along with him. Then the whole crowd joins in… “When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze, for the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home.” The commercial ends with the message, “Open your heart to everyone.”

I admit, as many times as I saw this commercial, it tugged at my heartstrings every time. My eyes would well up and I’d have to reach for a tissue to dab my tears.

A two-minute story. A tugging of the heart. An emotional connection. Stories are incredibly powerful.

What does this have to do with employee engagement? True engagement is spurred through an employee’s emotional connection with your organization. Therefore, storytelling, especially when done purposefully, can align, inspire and infuse your workplace with an energy that creates unifying thoughts and actions. Stories resonate and connect to people at a deeper level by reaching their senses and feelings.

There are so many ways you can promote engagement through story. Here are a few ideas:

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