Want to Attract Great Employees? Tell Your Origin Story

 One of the most powerful, but often untapped resources you have is your own origin story. Tell it to attract talented employees and impress customers or clients. Tell it to underscore the values that inspired your enterprise into creation.

One of the most powerful, but often untapped resources you have is your own origin story. Tell it to attract talented employees and impress customers or clients. Tell it to underscore the values that inspired your enterprise into creation.

Remember the old saying, “good help is hard to find?” That statement perfectly describes today’s current job market. With unemployment hovering just below 4 percent in Oregon and the rest of the country, talented and highly skilled workers have the upper hand in the job market. 

Companies need to think differently about how to connect and make the case for their organizations. Crafting an effective origin story – for video and print – is a great way to stand out from the crowd. 

If You Want to Know Where You’re Going, Look at Where You’ve Been

Every organization – large and small – started with an individual or group of people who had an idea and a vision. The founder (or founders) operated by a set of values and guiding principles. The organization’s culture grew from these early values. As the organization grew, new market opportunities presented themselves. Perhaps shifts in the economy led to setbacks or an opportunity for re-invention. Or the original founders decided to retire, paving the way for new leadership and a renewed company vision. 

An organization can experience any number of growth spurts, setbacks, breakthroughs or retirements during the course of its existence. All of these events become part of a company’s story.

Start at the Beginning

The best way to begin the process of crafting an origin story is to look back to your organization’s early days. If the founders are still alive, interview them, either on camera or as an audio recording.

Ask them to talk about their initial vision for the company. What values did the founders hold dear? What was their mission? What inspired them? What early challenges did they face? What victories did they celebrate? Read newspaper clippings or other documents pertaining to the company for historical perspective.

Find old photographs, video or film clips of the company, its founders, early products or projects. Whether you’re producing a video, writing a book, or creating content for your website, including these images and interviews in your story will help humanize your organization. 

Connect, Engage, and Inspire

To connect with potential employees and make the case for your organization, consider targeting your origin story to engage with applicants for a particular position you’re trying to fill.

For example, if you want to hire entry-level production jobs in manufacturing, and your company founder started his or her career on the production floor, present that story on your company’s website or include it as part of your company’s job posting. If you want to engage and inspire current employees, focus your origin story on the way the founders’ values and vision positively impact the company’s current culture.

Whether your business is five years old or 50 years old, you have a story to tell. Take the time to share the story of how your organization came to be, and why it endures, and see if you don’t start attracting – and keeping – the types of employees you want and need.  

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About the author

Holly Paige is a story consultant and video content creator based in Portland, Oregon. She uses the power of storytelling to consult with businesses and organizations that want to tell their stories and tell them right. Visit: www.digitalwave.tv; and www.waveonegroup.com