Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Great Corporate Storytelling at Microsoft

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

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 When I saw the Google news alert about an article on Microsoft’s great use of brand storytelling, I was immediately intrigued. As a long-time contract writer for Microsoft, I helped create the company’s intial collection of corporate stories, but that’s been a few years ago and I haven’t checked their website for months to see how the storytelling efforts have grown. Not only that, but I helped a colleague with a book on technology branding more than 20 years ago–before most consumers were familiar with technology products by brand.

When I checked out Arik Hanson’s blog discussion of the Microsoft Stories site, I was captivated even further by the screen shot included in the post (shown). As Arik points out, you’d expect to see the program manager being featured to be show in the office working on the development of great new software. But instead you see a dominant photo of the employee in a barrel room sipping wine. That drew me in even further because my husband and I have been part of a wine-making group for the past 11 years–and we live in Washington near the largest collection of tasting rooms in the state!

So you’ll understand why I agree with Arik that it’s a great example of corporate storytelling. Employees are brand evangelists, and they’re also interesting people whose non-work activities are at least as fascinating as their professional involvement. By helping co-workers and customers get to know the whole person, Microsoft is creating deeper, more lasting connections than work-related topics alone ever would.

Key point: When people develop deeper connections, they become more committed to one another’s success. Stories that help people get to know one another more fully result in a win for everyone involved.

How about you? How well are you telling corporate stories that do that?

CEO Provides Rich Benefits to Retain Tech Workers

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Even though workplace satisfaction studies consistently find that what matters most to employees is recognition, the CEO of one Seattle-based company is enriching the  employee benefits package in hopes of retaining his top-flight tech workers. According to a recent column by Brier Dudley in the Seattle Times, Alex Algard of Whitepages.com has been writing a lot of big checks to show his appreciation for “a talent pool and just an overall talent level that’s at an all-time high in the company. So for that reason it makes sense to actually spend more time and effort in investing in retention as opposed to just recruiting.”

Among the benefits that Algard has added for his 100 employees are new MacBook Pro computers with Retina displays, $700 chairs and $1,500 hydraulic desks so that individuals who prefer to work standing up can raise the desk by pushing a button. Other amenities include a remodeled office space, a total of $2 million in bonuses last Fall, and a four-day trip for employees and their families to popular Whistler, B.C., site of many events during the 2010 Winter Olympics in nearby Vancouver. The trip was in addition to an unusual vacation policy; employees may take as much vacation as they choose–as long as they get their work done.

The enriched benefits package comes at a time when Whitepages.com is recruiting more talent for a planned expansion of its services. “Algard explains that “we can’t really over-invest in our employees because (each one) makes such a big impact on the overall business.” And in an area populated by a number of technology companies competing for top talent, rich rewards are apparently more important than recognition–at least for now.