CUSTOMER STORY

Values in practice – the power of peer influence in changing member behavior

How Lambda Chi used peer influence to reconnect members, build skills and make values stick at scale

As one of the largest, most respected fraternity networks in North America, peer influence plays an important role in how Lambda Chi Alpha inspires and equips college men to lead an ethical life of growth, service and leadership.Teaching the 7 Core Values of Lambda Chi Alpha is fundamental to this vision.

And, with 170 chapters across different time-zones, the training team is tasked with empowering nearly 10,000 members. How could they inspire all members to embrace these core values and learn skills to thrive both on campus and in their future careers?

Every chapter is run by 12 student officers and 1 alumni advisor. Officer roles include President, Recruitment Officer, Philanthropy Officer and others. Prior to 2022, the status quo was online learning for certain officer roles, general member training and a manual which was used to support learning face-to-face at a chapter level. Whilst values-based conversations had always taken place as part of the onboarding process for new members these conversations were different on every campus.

The team identified three major challenges which any new learning solution would need to crack: Reach, Consistency and how to bring their Member Voices into the digital space.

We’re a values-based organization. But we’re also a member organization. The thing we sell is an experience that our members create. Our members are everything, if we don’t capture our members’ voices, we’ve failed.
John Posth
Training Specialist at Lambda Chi Alpha

 

The power of peer influence

Having witnessed the power of peer influence, the team knew that one of the most impactful ways to make the seven values and skills stick was for members to see how others modeled them in practice.

Faced with this mix of challenges and goals, the Lambda Chi training team embarked on an ambitious new learning programme to modernise and scale their academy. Now every member and every officer in every chapter could access the same transformative learning experience and skill building.

Lambda Chi Alpha wanted to connect more deeply with all their chapter officers and membership asynchronously while also expanding both the reach and impact of learning.

Any new digital learning solution would need to include their members, allowing them to co-create the experience. As a format, the team thought self-shot videos, which would show skills and values in action, would speak well to this audience. However, they also knew from experience that this approach brings its own challenges.

 

A way to solve logistical and quality control challenges

The Lambda Chi team had previous experience creating video interviews and learning stories so they were aware of the many logistical and quality challenges that come with this compelling medium, especially when working across multiple time zones. They needed a solution which would enable them to work at scale without compromising quality.

Lisa and John selected StoryTagger to make video logistics easier and provide a robust way to direct authentic, on-point self-filmed stories from their members and officers – through the storytelling app. They also liked how the StoryTagger format was akin to something their audience watches every day on social media.

We heard about StoryTagger through recommendation. It fixes lighting. It guides you, gives you a space to add notes and you can do it on your own time. As admins, we can set interview prompts, review content and manage it centrally. I mean it was perfect.

 

John Posth
Training Specialist at Lambda Chi Alpha

StoryTagger enabled Lambda Chi to influence member behavior through peer-to-peer learning 

 

The programme curriculum included learning pathways to support each officer, and general member training dedicated to the seven values and what it takes to be an “Ideal Man”. StoryTagger peer stories formed part of an asset mix which also included articles, infographics, traditional videos, workbook activities and knowledge checks.

Early in the design process, the team mapped stories and learning outcomes for each learning journey. This typically amounted to between two and four peer stories for each journey to bring key points to life and give members real context.

For Lambda Chi it was about capturing real attitudes, beliefs, language and behavior and using these to reach each member. As John shared, ‘It’s the first-time people are living on their own. It’s the first time they’re in charge. This means it’s much more powerful to hear from peers just ahead in the same experience.’ Hearing from peers in this way, as credible messengers, is the biggest influence on behavior. 

The team at Lambda Chi captured a range of stories and concrete examples. For the first phase of the programme, they set up two StoryTagger campaigns – one capturing ‘values in practice’ stories and another guiding officers to share their advice and experiences in core skills such as finance, education and corporate responsibility.

 

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From campus to career

Students talk about how they use their experience in a job interview or capture it on a resume. Some of this is about dispelling myths around fraternity networks and demonstrating the transferrable skills members can take to the workplace. Afterall, some Presidents manage 200 peers!

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See values in action

All seven values are represented which make up the ‘Ideal Man’ framework. Members’ stories showed how they practiced integrity, honor and other values, showing how their actions impacted them and the world around them.

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Role-Ready training

Officers talk about what they do and how they make a difference in their role. For example, the Recruitment Officer might talk about the recruitment process and how to motivate fellow members, while the Philanthropy Officer might talk about causes they’ve worked on in a chapter and the impact it had.

 

As part of their successful storytelling model, the team made several smart decisions

Relatable stories for every chapter: All videos started in the same consistent way – members share their name, role and university campus. This helped members identify others in similar situations.

Smart tactics to identify the best storytellers: To recruit their member storytellers, the team uses two main channels:

  • Chapter-facing staff make personal recommendations on individuals or chapters who are excelling.
  • The team targets highly engaged participants in the learning programme. By monitoring individual progress, they spot who is engaged, invite them to share their own experience to help develop the program further, and they in turn become influencers. More influencers, more traction, more impact … It’s a virtuous circle.

Lambda Chi Academy successfully launched in September 2023. The curriculum is constantly evolving so the team is always adding new stories and experiences to the mix. As 25% of the membership leave each year (by graduating) this keeps content and member stories fresh and current.

StoryTagger has been huge. Not only because we’ve been able to capture peer voices, but because it’s so real and authentic. Everyone sees that we have taken efforts to make sure both the learning and program looks and feels more like Lambda Chi, and not just another online class.”

 

John Posth
Training Specialist at Lambda Chi Alpha

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Impact – reconnecting members in the digital space 

Using StoryTagger enabled Lambda Chi to make member voices central to their new learning program whilst overcoming typical logistical and quality control challenges of self-filmed video.

The result is a set of powerful learning pathways which are helping members connect with each other, and with the larger, central organization. Members are the Lambda Chi experience, and the team has done an incredible job of making members part of the learning solution too, showing what both values and career-ready skills look like in practice.

Feedback and testimonies so far have reported gains in confidence, skills and connection. The peer stories are the north star for those in the program looking for a bolder way to a better world, Lambda Chi’s vision.

Last but not least, most people who return as alumni to work with Lambda Chi have participated in an in-person event. However, these events usually take place once per year and only a small number of members are sent on behalf of their chapter. Being able to connect digitally enables future alumni to contribute to the fraternity more regularly.

In summary – the power of peer influence

StoryTagger provided a smart way for Lambda Chi Alpha to transform their members into credible messengers at scale. Using peer voices, the team has done an amazing job of bringing to life core values and skills to help people connect and bridge their journey from campus to career. All whilst overcoming logistical challenges and maintaining quality control.

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