How to create engaged employee ambassadors?

Why employee engagement? If employees experience work as meaningful and motivating, they will work at their best every day and make a consistently higher effort.

Employees are the best ambassadors for your organisation. By giving them the right tools to make your company’s story their own and share it, you are building a reputation that no amount of money can buy. The sincere pride that employees feel radiates from within your company and this spark spreads to everyone they encounter, both professionally and privately. You can never demand this kind of dedication, you have to mobilise it.

Creating ambassadors

Successful companies not only have a clear story to tell but are also better at telling it than others. They succeed in successfully conveying the story within the organisation, where it is embraced. That is invaluable. There are no better ambassadors for the corporate story than the people who are part of it. A company story is best brought to life by people who you are willing to believe. However, it is not in everyone’s nature to spread the word on what a company stands for or what it is striving to be. Of course, every organisation has its fair share of born storytellers who have no difficulty inspiring and energising prospective and existing customers and entire groups of interested consumers. The enthusiasm has to be authentic, the story has to be real and the belief in what the company aims to achieve has to be contagious. The better this is achieved, the more confidence will be created in the company. This ‘ambassador role’ fits seamlessly in the present day and age, where the personality of the organisation is becoming increasingly important.

Creating ambassadors through storytelling workshops

Interaction is central to storytelling. Sharing stories is necessary in order to develop and connect a shared story. Within organisations, it is story ambassadors in particular who are the effective tools in bringing a corporate story to life within the company.

Why create ambassadors within an organisation?

As an ambassador, you are better able to tell the story of the organisation. Storytelling is ideal for strengthening the feeling of connection and reliability. Reputations stand or fall on the credibility of people and their stories. Storytelling strengthens the ‘human face’ of the organisation.

Storytelling workshops are a very effective means of creating committed core ambassadors. We use these storytelling workshops and other tools to create ambassadors.

  1. Ambassador workshop: connecting with the core story of the organisation
  2. Storytelling workshop: developing storytelling skills and stories
  3. Leadership workshop: the direction and process of the story, culture and leadership

Storytelling Workshop 1: Connecting with the core story

It is important for personal stories to be linked to the organisation’s core story. Stories become more powerful when people can connect them to their own experiences and personal stories. This allows ambassadors to tell a stronger and more vivid story. In the workshops, we take an interactive approach to searching for personal and shared connections. We work together on gathering a constant stream of sincere stories about the importance and meaning of the organisation. We also ensure that storytelling reinforces the sense of pride and self-confidence felt by the ambassadors.

Storytelling Workshop 2: Developing storytelling skills and stories

There are three basic ways to tell a story: by using facts, values or by saying something about who you are.

Using ‘facts’ creates less contact and trust. You connect with people more and better by sharing personal and meaningful stories. The way we see it, every leader can be a proficient storyteller. In practice, however, many managers and employees have not yet sufficiently mastered that skill. In this workshop, we work on targeted storytelling skills. This involves understanding a few important aspects of storytelling: contact, story anchors, the core message and personal connection. In doing so, we work on the impact the ambassador has when telling the organisation’s story.

Storytelling Workshop 3: Direction and process of the story

Ultimately, the biggest impact ambassadors have is in building a shared organisation story. A certain amount of direction to how the story should evolve has a positive effect.  The key to this is gaining insight into the development of the organisation’s story and the effectiveness of the ambassador programme. Here, it is important to hold regular connection sessions during which experiences and stories are shared. It is also important to use a selection of specific storytelling tools. For example, developing an online storytelling platform can have a positive impact on the flow of an organisation’s story. A storytelling manual can provide huge inspiration for the different story forms that are needed.

The importance of story ambassadors

‘Many organisations have missions, visions and codes of conduct that are brimming with grand words. But it is an illusion to think that employees will spontaneously start to conform to these ideals. Our actions are determined by the experiences, impressions, feelings and perceptions we have. During conversations, you need to connect the underlying drive to the abstract concepts in missions and visions,’  according to author and philosopher Jos Kessels.

From employees to story ambassadors

Employees are the best ambassadors for your organisation. By giving them the right tools to make your company’s story their own and share it, you are building a reputation that no amount of money can buy. The sincere pride that employees feel radiates from within your company and this spark spreads to everyone they encounter, both professionally and privately. You can never demand this kind of dedication, you have to mobilise it.

The core of leadership is: as an employee within an organisation, I am part of a story that is credible and that inspires me and makes me proud. It is a story that I also want to share with others. It is truly remarkable how little is being done within organisations to harness the power of internal success stories or values stories. After all, people’s actions are determined by the experiences, impressions, feelings and perceptions we have. You have to capture, express, narrate, imagine and connect that particular ‘language’…

Storytelling for ambassadors in three steps

You have to ingrain your stories within the organisation; make them part of the corporate DNA. Stories need storytellers to bring them to life, however. It is therefore important for ambassadors to champion the story. These are initially found within the management team but soon spread throughout the entire organisation. What do you need to create a story ambassador?

  1. The story. Story ambassadors work with a story backbone. They have to really know the core story of the organisation (who are we? What makes us unique? What is our purpose?).
  2. Telling the story. Ambassadors have access to a treasure trove of the organisation’s most remarkable and most successful stories. They also use personal stories to shine a spotlight on the organisation’s story.
  3. Sharing stories. Story ambassadors know how to elicit stories from others. They have a keen sense for recognising employee and customer stories that are important to document and share. By encouraging others to tell their stories, they help to pass on this ‘ambassadorship’.

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