The HR industry thrives on the perfect harmony between employees and organization. To drive the growth of an organization and ensure that all employees are in tune with the vision of their employer while performing to the best of their capabilities, HR often engages them in strategically planned activities with the objective to motivate and rejuvenate their workforce. According to a recent report on employee engagement by Gallup, a global analytics and advice firm, companies with highly engaged workforce yielded 21% higher profitability as compared to others. In fact, their productivity rate was found to be 17% higher when compared to organizations with disengaged or de-motivated employees.

And this significant impact has shaken the HR departments to ensure that the employees are engaged and highly motivated to give in their best. Recognition of their efforts, over all team building and corporate offsite trips are some of the usual preferred ways to engage them positively. A potluck lunch together, celebrating not just festivals but birthdays as well as work anniversaries too have been found to give employees a deep sense of belonging, thereby elevating work cultures and making offices a better workplace.

However, HR department have off late been getting creative and organizing programs that further cement the 3 Cs of employee engagement- culture, coaching and connection. LIVE Storytelling is one such trend that has emerged as an apt tool to attain all the 3Cs in one go. Here, a storyteller presents stories in front of a LIVE audience, aided with sound and light effects to add value to the narration and create an experience that is akin to watching cinema, but with the human touch still intact. Recently one such show held at a PSU in Madhya Pradesh was applauded by the employees and their families who were thoroughly entertained. Transported back to a time when narration of stories in evening was a routine, the audience kept chanting for more stories.

While many would think that the family audience would be interested in stories that relate to their everyday lives, it was actually thrillers, supernatural, horror and murder mysteries that managed to enthral the audience, which ranged between 13 to 50 years old. Aided by the able skill of the storyteller, who can modulate his or her voice to show variety of emotions and difference in characters, it is definitely an experience worth living and HR department has to be credited for this thoughtful and innovative idea.

Moreover, such sessions are not just entertaining but serve a deeper purpose, for instance de-stressing. Over time, storytelling has proven to be both a stress buster as well as a mental wellness motivator. When the audience concentrates on the story with all of their senses in play and attention unaltered, they become active listeners and allow their minds to float in unexplored directions in pursuit of creative imaginations while broadening their horizons of thought and enhancing imagination skills. Such free thinking leads to de stressing in the easiest manner, without any pressure of putting in too much effort.

Stories and storytelling can help in various psychological disorders like anxiety etc and most importantly lead to a better cognitive health. By paying close attention and allowing their thoughts to stray into creative regions, one can eventually develop a strong and healthy brain. The experts believe that people with better imagination manage stress more astutely and successfully. This is a key factor as to why businesses and governmental institutions encourage storytellers to spark the imaginations of their audiences.

With LIVE storytelling session as an engagement strategy the HR is able to achieve the wellbeing of employees, create a company culture that is willing to go out of the way to ensure employees’ happiness, recreation and by being inclusive, it makes the employee truly feel like a part of the clan. As for feedback on the session, and to assess whether the employee engagement program was a success, one need not fill elaborate forms, the smile on the faces of employees, the excited chatter and demand for more stories would make the work easier for HR.

Also Read - Make Mental Health Your Priority Over Everything Else

About Author

Sudhanshu Rai, a storyteller-par-excellence and an actor-filmmaker who has successively experimented with genres such as horror comedy, time travel etc, is someone who has seen this transition of supernatural subjects from the margins to the mainstream in cinema & storytelling. While he is most popular for writing more than 200 sci-fi, detective, thriller and mystery stories, his on-screen ventures include Chaipatti, Detective Boomrah and Chintaa Mani – all dealing with subjects that are beyond reality. He is currently filming a Bollywood sci-fi thriller, which is expected to be unlike anything the audience has seen on the Indian screen.

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