Lately, I’ve been thinking about rituals and traditions in the workplace. As my company has grown, we’ve added more people to the team. Some of them live and work in Asheville, North Carolina, as I do, and others work remotely, many miles away. However, it’s important to me that I build a team of people, who are all on the same page, working together to reach our common goals.
As I told my team at our annual retreat last year, we must intentionally create our company culture now so it’s firmly in place as we grow and add new members to our team. To that end, we’re developing rituals and traditions that will soon become the “Red-Carpet Learning Systems Way.”
A Custom is an established practice or set of behaviors that is specific to a particular group, place or time. A Tradition is a custom that is passed on from generation to generation.
When you develop and continue traditions in the workplace, you drive your company culture, strengthen your team spirit, and help employees feel more connected to your organization. The best workplace traditions are those rooted in your mission, your core values and your company goals. By following certain customs or participating in traditions in the workplace, your staff members are making shared memories that bond them together. As they welcome others to be a part of those traditions, they are helping to make new team members feel like part of the family.
Here are just a few reasons to start a tradition in the workplace:
- You want to celebrate occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
- You want to celebrate milestones
- You want to communicate with your team
- You want to have fun at work
- You want to welcome new employees
- You want to welcome new customers
- You want to celebrate mistakes that help you grow
- You want to keep a virtual team connected
- You want to highlight your core values
- You want to keep your history alive
- There are so many reasons!!!
Ruby Receptionists Rather than Casual Friday, the team at Ruby Receptionists in Portland, Oregon celebrates Fashion Friday. Each week the “Rubys” (as I affectionately call them) dress according to the chosen theme. You can see some of their fun photos by scrolling through their Facebook page.
Davinci Office Solutions To ensure they provide great internal customer service, this company has a designated “Culture Fairy” and employees have an opportunity to attend regular “lunch with the boss” events.
Talent Plus This consulting firm based in Lincoln, Nebraska hosts a cocktail hour at the end of a new employee’s first day, complete with invites to family members who want to see their loved one’s new digs. They also have a tradition in their workplace called Focus On You, which allows senior leaders and new hires time to get to know each other as individuals.
Plastics-Lochtech International This is the company that makes your hotel key cards. At the end of the year they host their annual “Gag Awards,” giving funny trophies and certificates to employees for all the goofy things that happened throughout the year.
National Speakers Association Sharing stories of the organization’s late founder, Cavett Robert, has become a tradition to ensure the “Spirit of Cavett” stays alive. He encouraged speakers not to “fight over pieces of the pie, but to make a bigger pie.” By sharing his story regularly, the association ensures it will stay true to it’s culture of helpfulness and inclusiveness.
Red-Carpet Learning Systems, Inc. We have a group Facebook page just for my team, and theme posts for each day of the week. At the beginning of the week, everyone shares their red carpet goals and at the end of the week each person shares their successes! Our annual “cast retreat” is also one of our workplace traditions. As we work together to intentionally create our culture, I’m sure we’ll be adding more.
Village Virgins The Village Coffee Shop in Boulder, Colorado announces every new customer by telling guests “We have a Village Virgin in the house!,” which is received with a round of applause by customers and staff alike. Once you’ve lost your “Village Virginity” you get your V-Card, which you can use to get prizes for each Village Virgin you bring in to the shop.
Splendido (A Mather LifeWays Senior Living Community) When a person fills out the final paperwork and becomes an official new resident of Splendido in Tucson, Arizona, they are soon joined by staff members and a cart of champagne, white-chocolate dipped strawberries and edible orchids for a celebration of the “commencement.”
Happy Dog Obedience Training Diane Anderson, owner of this dog training company in St. Petersburg, Florida, hosts her annual dog and owner pool party each summer!
Traditions in the workplace are more than just fun and games! They create a sense of connectedness that can keep both employees and customers engaged and part of your family. For my part, I’m looking forward to watching the workplace traditions my team embraces and looking back 10 years from now and remembering that it all began with intention.
Comment below and tell us about your favorite workplace traditions.