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Storytelling can serve as a powerful tool to reinforce company values and culture as well as to build trust and market to future employees.

During the “Building Your Employer Brand: The Impact of Storytelling on Workforce Development” session at the International Builders’ Show, panelists shared how that simple practice can benefit businesses today and in the future.

“[Our employer brands] can help develop our workforce and get some talent pipeline coming into our communities and businesses,” Amanda Kurt, vice president and managing partner of Kurt Concrete, said during the panel. “We know that stories help humanize brands, and together they can make a wonderful experience.”

Luke Eggebraaten, founder of Phaser Marketing, shared that early on in his company’s journey, he learned that marketing and social media usage for construction companies were necessary tools for recruitment just as much as leads.

“We realized a lot of what the industry needs isn’t so much leads, it’s people, it’s hiring, it’s [finding] the workforce so they can scale up their teams,” Eggebraaten said.

When developing or considering employer brands, Eggebraaten said oftentimes construction companies struggle to strike a balance between corporate, professional, and reflecting the company values. He said transparency is an important quality in brand and storytelling: Companies shouldn’t represent something they are not.

In regard to social media, the panelists shared applying an 80-20 rule can help craft a brand identity and story. Rather than solely including posts that are trying to sell customers or win future jobs, Eggebraaten said companies should focus 80% of posts on “giving value,” either highlighting company events, spotlighting employees and jobs, or sharing promotions from other companies, and focus 20% of posts “selling” or “asking” potential customers.

“You can’t just expect things to come your way. It’s the power of reciprocity: Whatever you want from social media strategy or marketing strategy, you should do that to other businesses,” Eggebraaten said.

The company website can also be a powerful location to share the company story. Values and stories displayed on both the homepage and about page can immediately signal to future employees the company culture, allowing them to determine whether the story and culture aligns with their values.

“If you have a whole storyline of where your company started, where you are now, how you became the company you are, and showcasing the wonderful people at your company, that is where to start [on the company website],” Eggebraaten said. “The about page is the most important page, and it is where you really build trust.”

By crafting the company brand and story, Kurt said companies can control what the outside world sees. A company’s story can communicate values and represent the diverse workforce within the company, helping potential future employees envision whether they could work at the company. By sharing a company’s story on social media, it can reach a wider audience than a job posting. When a company develops its story and builds digital trust, individuals can build interest in the construction industry and are likely to consider it as a potential career path.

The process of evaluating the company story and showcasing it on the company website and social media platforms can also serve as a way to engage the current workforce, build culture, and aid retention.

“[By having employees] living on our values and us supporting their home values, they are talking positively about us [in their community] because they like working for us, and they would like to bring people in to work with us,” Kurt said. “For us, it’s huge to make a positive employer brand to make sure our community sees us in that light because they might one day be looking for a job, and we want them to at least have the opportunity to see themselves in a position we have.”

Kate Rieling, a project manager for Catamount Constructors and the president of nonprofit workforce advocacy organization The Crew Collaborative, said when sharing the company brand, construction companies shouldn’t shy away from showing both the good and the challenging. By showcasing challenges, companies can avoid being too “fluffy” in their representation of themselves and broadcast to potential future employees the problem-solving nature of the company’s workforce.

“I think the best companies that are on social media are showing the [challenging] stuff, too. It’s showing a problem and showing how we worked through it [as a company] with our client. I think that’s where the marketing can happen in our industry,” Rieling said.

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