I’m in the process of reading the Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry, which thus far has been a very interesting read. While reading it I was struck by something interesting. New LEGO employees are told a story when they start working there about the history of LEGO and how it got to where it is today. In fact, these new employees actually visit the original factory where Ole Kirk Christiansen, the founder of LEGO first set up shop (it burned down and Ole had to rebuild it and start from scratch). While the story of LEGO is indeed fascinating and interesting it is but one story.
Organizations today spend a lot of time talking about and telling stories to their customers to help them make a purchase a decision. But, what about telling stories to our employees? How many organizations out there actually take the time to help employees understand what their organization stands for, how it was created, why it was created, and how it got to where it is today?
When it comes to the future of work and being able to attract and retain top talent, story-telling is going to be a huge factor. Not every potential employee is going to resonate with your story and that’s ok. That just means the employee is not a good fit for your organization. But, those employees who do appreciate and relate with your company story are going to be able to do amazing things. The only way to find out though is by actually telling and sharing that story with employees.
As Simon Sinek has said many times, people don’t buy from you because of what you do or what you sell, the because of WHY you do what you do. I strongly believe this applies to employees as well. Organizations of the future want to create a place where employees work there because they want to not because they need to. To do this goes beyond workplace flexibility, salary, and benefits packages. It’s also about helping employees understand WHY your company does what it does. If your employees understand and can get behind the WHY, then they will help you figure out the how.
The future of work is about telling your story to employees, not just customers.