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Ep. 108: Engaging Your Employees Through Story with Joy Spencer

Updated: Nov 8

On this episode of The Storytelling Lab, Rain sits down with Joy Spencer, Organizational Development Consultant at Navy Federal Credit Union, professional leadership coach, and the host of the Reframe to Create. Joy shares with Rain the remarkable ways she's brought storytelling to her corporate world and how it's made a significant positive impact in the workplace.


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In 2021, about ⅓ of the United States labor force has left their jobs in what is being referred to as the Great Resignation.


Some say it's because of reluctance to come back to the office and some think it’s because they want to follow their passions. But it all comes back to the culture of their company and the fact that employees want to be seen, heard, and valued.


What if there was a way you could use storytelling to create a program within your company that cultivates a tight collaborative team, builds leadership skills in your employees, and allows them to share their thoughts and feelings about the direction of their work.


Well that’s exactly what Joy Spencer has done at Navy Federal Credit Union.


Joy is an Organizational Development Consultant, a professional leadership coach, and the host of the Reframe to Create podcast.


When she arrived at Navy Federal Credit Union in her organizational development role, they already had a TED Talk-style speaking series happening. It was more topic-based where some employees would get up every month and talk about a topic in which they were knowledgeable.


Good idea, but it sounds like a snore fest to me. You know Bob from accounting would be talking about how to whittle wooden miniatures or something.



Joy saw the opportunity to make it better. With stories.


Real stories. Personal stories. Not something that pertained to work but something that pertained to life.


As you may know if you listen to my podcast or read my work, stories are the ultimate tool of human connection because we bond through shared experiences. Nobody is bonding off of a five-minute speech on wooden miniatures. Many people would bond over a story about loss, or feeling incompetent, or overcoming a big obstacle.


In storytelling, the character’s values must be shown through their choices and actions. You can’t just say “Bob values collaboration.” You have to SHOW that Bob values collaboration by putting him in a scene where he makes a clear decision to embrace it.


It’s the same in life and business. Our values are displayed through our actions and we show that through our stories. And when your employees honor and share the same values, it is reflective of the values of the overall company.


Even the choice by Joy and Navy Federal Credit Union the have the storytelling series shows they value the thoughts, perspectives, and experiences of their employees.


As Joy said in our conversation, “The culture of Navy Federal Credit Union is their PEOPLE.”

And that’s why it sounds like an awesome place to work.


If you want to embrace this kind of tactic in your workplace, or encourage your company to do something similar by using storytelling internally, this is the episode for you!


Some of the highlights of our conversation:

  • Bringing storytelling to the corporate world

  • How she set up a storytelling strategy at Naval Federal Credit Union

  • Utilizing personal stories for increased company engagement

  • Stories as the ultimate connector

  • What makes a powerful story?

  • How to decide what storytelling strategy to use

  • The importance of having a good story “hook”

  • “Challenge, Choice, & Outcome”

  • Why video is considered the most evergreen storytelling medium

  • The importance of giving employees the space for creative freedom


As always, I hope you enjoy the episode!



Peace and Love,

Rain

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