7 Ways to Develop Employees into Digital Storytellers to Boost Their Skills AND Your Company’s Resources

Guest post by Halelly Azulay, TalentGrow

Developing motivated, competent employees is critical to the success of every organization. However, most managers today find themselves both time-bound and budget-strapped. You can’t really send employees to training or online classes for every development need. Did you know that organic development opportunities can be found all around your workplace?

One creative and immediately available way to develop your staff outside the training classroom and “outside the box” is to turn them into what I call “Digital Storytellers”: send them on roving reporter missions. Let them digitally capture (by audio or video recording) hot stories from the frontlines, from customers, or from star performers, about difficult challenges they’ve overcome, or about workarounds and new ideas, and share them with the rest of the organization.

Here are a few ideas for content to get you started:

  1. Peer Stories. Peers feature their peers’ stories of success, lessons learned, problems solved, questions and challenges they want input about, gratitude, quandaries, and other “teachable moments.”
  2. “Local Rock Star” Stories. Employees interview or capture the stories of insider heroes, “rock stars,” or celebrities—some employees become local legends because they’re popular with clients, they’re known for helping colleagues, or they have great ideas or solutions to common problems.
  3. VIP Stories. Staff members interview or capture the story of VIPs (very important persons) within the company, such as top executives and business unit leaders.
  4. How-to Stories. Podcasts and videocasts can feature how-to content about a product, service, system, tool, process, or shortcut, or any other useful information to help other employees do their jobs better.
  5. Happy Customer Stories. Employees can record stories and interviews of happy customers telling about their experiences with the organization or a specific employee, product, or service.
  6. Executive Tips. Executives can share success stories or tips about how they deal with a particular work problem or challenge. At Beers and Cutler (now part of Baker Tilly), a U.S.-based accounting firm, executives shared their “elevator speech” with associates via recorded podcasts.
  7. Company Culture Stories. Employees’ videos of company events, road shows, off-site meetings, training sessions, or customer presentations can help enhance organizational engagement, culture building, and team building.

In this short post, I described a bit about one of the 11 employee development methods I describe in much greater detail in my book, Employee Development on a Shoestring (ASTD Press, 2012). In the book, you can get more ideas about, in-depth descriptions of, and hands-on templates, checklists, and worksheets for multiple ways in which busy managers and leaders can develop their employees’ skills, knowledge, and abilities outside the classroom and on a tight budget.

What are some interesting and unique ways that you’ve addressed employee development needs? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

About the author: Halelly Azulay is a leadership development consultant, author and speaker. She is the president and CEO of TalentGrow, where she works with leaders and teams to improve the human side of work. Halelly is the author of Employee Development on a Shoestring (ASTD Press 2012). She blogs at www.talentgrow.com/blog and tweets at @HalellyAzulay.

Source: Employee Development on a Shoestring by Halelly Azulay, ASTD Press, 2012.

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