‘Tis the season for traditions and to start some new traditions. I once took the reins of an HR Leader job where my predecessor banned all Christmas trees. She did not believe in Christmas, which is totally cool with me, but pissed off 98% (about 790 people) of our workforce with her beliefs. Every employee engagement survey for the next three years slammed our leadership team for that move. Kinda funny if you think about it.
Traditions are the glue that keeps people together. We all have busy lives and are too cool to participate in them, but doing a small thing here or there can make all the difference in strengthening your company culture.
Don’t be discouraged if you work at a lame place with ego maniacs and corporate climbers. You can start traditions any time, any place and new traditions will make a positive impact on your office regardless of how lame you or they are. Here are 5 ideas to get you thinking:
1) Look around your office
What are you already doing? Do people love coffee or tea? Bring some above average coffee to the office and share it OR leave the office for coffee. I used to work for Joe Cranky Pants in Ohio who also ignored the smoking ban in the workplace. His tradition was to take our team to the only smoking restaurant left in Ohio for an annual holiday lunch. After lunch, Joe drank coffee and smoked for an hour. So did we. The coffee part that is. Doesn’t sound like much, but he was an A$$ and it meant a lot to him. We liked it too. It was tradition.
2) Do something formal each day
Find a quote and share it each day. Take turns and ask other people to do it too. Explain why you chose the quote. In one of my former HR jobs, my senior engineering director did that. It was quick, simple and cool. No matter your mood, it felt nice to read a good quote. He made it a tradition.
3) Do something specific
Find a specific place or thing that only your office, circle, department or group does each year. Go to the same restaurant or bar or ice cream shop. Go to a specific spot, that only your crowd goes to. This will make it tradition. In my current life, we go to the same cool Italian place for lunch in St. Louis during the holidays. Hope to do it this year too. It’s tradition.
4) And different
Use your personal on-line brand or company brand to market your product/service for the holidays. Use social media to target that audience. Tune down the sales pitch. Keep your message festive, light and personal. Send very personalized messages to people who have made a difference in your life or business. Don’t sell though. People hate that. I know I do.
5) Massage your talent pool
Not a physical massage though. That would be weird. No really…text, email, call, tweet, ping, send smoke signals, fax or whatever to 10 of your top candidates. Just let them know you are thinking of them, regardless if you have an opening. This will give you a head start for next year. The new year will be here fast and one of your clients will want 7 All Stars hired in 2 weeks. But…Ben, I am not a recruiter so this doesn’t apply to me. Umm. Yes it does. Turn the table and call people who might have some influence over your career. Just call and say thanks.
What are some of your traditions? Are you going to keep some, start some, or kill some? As for Christmas trees…ask yourself if it’s worth it before you take down or put up that tree. The effort might not be worth the return…