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ARCHETYPES GO FURTHER AND DEEPER THAN YOUR BRAND

By:
Sarah Blake
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Things have changed since the 2020 pandemic. 

Some things have stayed the same. And if we were paying attention, many things needed to shift.

I, for one, started with a deeper look at:

“Who am I?

Where am I going?

What impacts can I make?”

 

Further looking:

“Where had I been?

Why was I still looking?”

 

As it turns out, I haven’t been the only one asking these questions, especially as it relates to one’s corporate life story. I have taken way too many personality assessments than any ‘normal’ person. It wasn’t until I was exposed to archetypes, the storytelling that connects us all, that I came to clearly see what was missing in corporate life – true storytelling. The employment brand story, the culture story, and most of all, my archetypal story.

 

Branding and marketing experts have known the power of stories for decades now. They understand the power that stories are universal, conveying purpose and meaning that facilitate us to understand ourselves better and find commonality with others. A connection is formed with the language of archetypes and the stories they embody.

 

But why has there been a disconnect between these experts and a company’s employment brand (the story), its culture, and the individuals who create teams? We’ve lost sight of not only creating an intentional company culture but also of the fact that it needs to be nurtured, maintained, and treated as a living, breathing entity of the company, not just some words on a poster. Just like individuals and teams have stories, so does your company culture.

 

If you are not familiar with archetypes, it can be a simple yet powerful way to connect. The psychotherapist Carl Jung used the word “Archetype” to refer to the recurring patterns found in our universal stories.

 

Later, Dr. Carol Pearson built out Jung’s work with research that examined Archetypal attributes within organizations. According to her, there are 12 archetypal “characters” that help uncover our individual stories, including our strengths and our shadows.

As an employer, intentionally aligning the company’s (archetypal) story it uses in its employment to the company’s actual culture is key. I say ‘actual’ culture because often, the intended culture and the actual culture can be quite different. And this does not even look further into the subcultures that occur within organizations.

 

Conducting culture audits to ensure who you say you are to the actual behaviors and attitudes is crucial. Remaining true to the story you have sold employees builds trust and loyalty.

Employees join companies for many reasons, but decent salaries and good benefits don’t cut it anymore. And touting a company “culture” of free beer on tap and ping pong tables isn’t actual company culture, it’s a perk.

As the generations entering the workforce have changed, they have changed how they show up at work and what they are looking for from an employer.

 

According to a recent survey, these are the top six things Millennials want in the workplace:

To be understood by their employer.

The opportunity to learn and grow.

They want to be highly engaged.

They want to make a difference.

The authenticity of your company.

Flexibility.

 

If that was not tricky enough for employers still living in the 2000s,

the pandemic changed the way many of us work even more. More

than 60% of millennials and Generation Z say that when the crisis is over, they would like options to work remotely more often. Two-thirds of millennials said that working remotely would enable a better work-life balance. Half of the respondents said that they can be their ‘true selves’ when working from home (Deloitte).

 

With workplaces that are now more distributed than ever, employers now must deal with the challenge of employees wanting to feel connected – be seen, be heard, opportunities for growth.

You have managed to hire the right employees, but know you need to keep them. It’s not surprising that another recent survey indicated failure to engage and lack of recognition as some of the top reasons employees leave their employers. Employees don’t leave their jobs; they leave their employers.

 

A simple yet very powerful way to engage your employee is to get to know them through their stories. It was not until I discovered my archetypal stories that I realized the many disconnects, missed opportunities, and some of my biggest successes that occurred in my professional life that could have been avoided or celebrated even more. In seeing my archetypal patterns, I was able to see others’ patterns. 

 

In retrospect, I can now see how our archetypes, our stories, can separate us if we don’t know ourselves and know how we show up and interact with others. I can also now see the stories and connections of those who challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and championed my professional development.

 

I’ve often wondered what life-changing discoveries and solutions could be dreamt up if we all understood ourselves and each other just a little better, to move beyond stereotypes and see the whole person through archetypes and our similarities, not our differences that we choose to divide us.

 

Your employment brand, your culture, and employee engagement (employee understanding) can no longer be siloed from each other.

They are intertwined and must be reevaluated as often as reviews or strategic planning are conducted. If left alone, the unintentional consequences can lead to your employees leaving and at its worst a negative employment reputation.

This will require effort, resources, and continual attention, but the rewards can be great. When people feel like they are seen and heard we create new stories, a deeper sense of being valued and understanding.
 

When you invest in your people, seeing the whole person, and your culture, you are investing in the health and wellbeing of your company and your employees.

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