Workplace celebrations and traditions are sometimes considered to be a frivolous waste of time and money. However, if done correctly, these activities can benefit an organization’s bottom line. Companies with a strong community culture tend to have the most engaged and committed workers, and unique traditions can foster this atmosphere.  Whether it’s a formal dinner party, a white elephant gift exchange, a desk decorating contest, or an afternoon wrapping gifts for charity, workplace traditions can make employees feel part of a tight-knit community.  Here are some suggestions for developing traditions that contribute to the success of your organization.

Consider the core values of the company when starting and continuing workplace traditions. A celebration should be fun, but it should also reinforce the company’s core values and culture. If your company prides itself on giving back to the community, consider incorporating a charitable element in events and traditions.  If open communication is a company priority, encourage activities that allow workers to interact with those outside their immediate circle.

Allow traditions to develop organically with guidance from management. We’ve all heard about the office holiday party that degenerates into a debacle of intoxication and bad behavior. It is up to management to ensure that positive traditions are encouraged while potentially hazardous or unpleasant ones are stopped. Listen to employees for new ideas if an event or activity is no longer working as intended, You may be surprised to learn that they prefer bowling over ballrooms.

Include all team members in the traditions. Develop traditions and celebrations that can be enjoyed by all employees, regardless of their religious or cultural differences. A potluck meal of holiday dishes from different cultures can bring people together and widen culinary horizons. Confirm that an event date doesn’t conflict with a major work project or deadline. The company karaoke contest simply won’t be the same if the entire sales team can’t attend!

Keep it simple. The holiday season is already hectic enough with work deadlines, family obligations, and increased financial pressure. A workplace celebration or tradition does not need to be an elaborate affair. A hot cocoa bar or holiday sock contest can be as engaging and memorable as an expensive dinner.

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