Storytelling is an integral part of what it means to be human. We tell stories to connect with each other, to share our experiences in the world, and simply to laugh about our weekend shenanigans. Stories are also often a vehicle for important messages, whether about big morals or about pressing social and political issues. It’s that last kind of story that’s so crucial to employers when it comes to creating a healthy, safe, productive and ultimately profitable workplace. In fact, telling a compelling ergonomic story is just about the best thing you can do to get employees on board with using any new ergonomic products you buy for them, and to engage employees in your wellness programs, which in turn will lower injury rates and workers compensation claims.
So, how can you tell a compelling ergonomic story?
1) Create a culture of support.
Even a brilliantly made case for an ergonomics program won’t have much of an effect if the audience isn’t primed to accept it. Do as much work as you can ahead of time to build executive and managerial buy-in. And then, have people in these positions loudly vocalize their support. This will help more employees speak up, ridding them of the fear that doing so will threaten their reputation or, worse yet, their job.
2) Keep the elements of good storytelling in mind.
Whether you’re creating seminars, lectures, videos, powerpoint presentations or handouts, it’s important to keep the tenets of good storytelling in mind. If you can, try to create an emotional connection through humor or inspiration, and connect with a classic hero’s journey, in which one employee or employer overcomes a big hurdle. Your story should of course have a plot with a beginning, middle and an end (yes, even a powerpoint presentation has a plot). And of course, leave your audience with a clear moral or takeaway and a call to action.
3) Give employees easy ways to share their own stories.
Maybe it’s a Facebook group, maybe it’s a weekly gathering or maybe it’s a company blog. Whatever platform you provide, it’s important to actually provide it. Again, employees need encouragement to share where they’re struggling. When you give them a safe space to do that, you’ll open up the possibility of providing a solution. Success stories are also important to share. They’re likely to inspire more employees to speak up and change their behavior.
For more great ergonomic storytelling tips, we highly recommend reading the article, Using Storytelling to Drive Wellness in the Workplace.
What ergonomic story are you telling at your company? Let us know in the comments below.