It’s not every CEO who instates an all-company story time, but Geoff Gross, CEO of Medical Guardian, a Philadelphia-based company that provides alert devices to help seniors live independently, says storytelling has become a staple of the company culture.
Once a week, one or two people from each department get up in front of the whole team to “tell something special about what they did that week.”
It’s more entertaining than a generic public shout out (good job, employee of the month!) — and, according to Gross, it’s also incredibly effective.
“First of all,” he says, “it makes [employees] feel special, and it builds their self esteem, which is a very powerful thing to do when it comes to employees — if you can help them build their self-esteem, then they will go and continue to try and do it better.”
That’s particularly key for Gross, who’s managing a mostly millennial workforce. But while millennials have a reputation for being especially recognition-hungry, they’re hardly the only ones. “Recognition is important to everyone, on a certain level,” he points out. It’s human. Who doesn’t like a little appreciation?
And the benefits of storytelling, Gross notes, don’t stop with glory for the teller. A really good story also motivates the rest of the team, challenging everyone else to come up with their own great stories for next week.
“I like to put a focus on going above and beyond the normal call of duty,” Gross explains. With storytelling, he’s found a way to do exactly that: by definition, the best stories will be the ones that go beyond the bounds of the everyday. And it doesn’t hurt that Medical Guardian employees have some pretty good stories. “We deal with seniors,” he says. The tales are a perk of the job.
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