I believe that one of the best ways you can create a strong work culture is by creating traditions that show that you both care and appreciate your teams and establish what your company culture values.
Now, what do I mean by traditions? Traditions can be literally anything you want them to be, whether they’re educational, charitable, or just for fun, there are endless opportunities for companies and teams to bring people together.
Why are traditions important? Traditions help create an environment where people feel welcomed, included, and valued. The happiest employees feel a sense of belonging in their workplace!
At a loss for ideas? Check out our mega list below!
Food / Beverage Traditions
Food and drink traditions are probably the most common company traditions because they’re usually very easy. Who hasn’t heard of a Thursday evening happy hour?! But the best way to take advantage of food/beverage traditions is to find something that exemplifies your brand and your expectations for your company culture. For example, having Hot Wing Wednesdays may not be the best idea if you’re a company making vegan snacks.
Really take a look at your company’s values and current teammates and see what makes the most sense for you. If you’re a young office with some very hungry employees, try having pizza or bagels on a weekly or monthly basis.
Are you a small company or team and really want to make a personal impact? Get cupcakes or a pie for birthdays and surprise them with an afternoon dessert! *Make sure nobody gets left out of these personal touches!*
Want a nice happy hour but don’t necessarily want things to go too crazy? Try Wine and Cheese nights or combine your happy hour with something like a gallery viewing or book club.
Want to get everyone in the same room and really take a break? Try taking your team or company out for lunch or have a potluck picnic! It really doesn’t matter how expensive the event is, what matters is that everyone is included and that you put thought into the event.
Hosting events, competitions, or opportunities for employees to participate in charitable traditions is a great way to make your employees feel good while making a positive impact on the world! People love participating in a walk/run/bike/etc, charity event, collecting school supplies or toys for kids in need, competing to raise money for a local hospital or school, or even meeting up on a weekend to work at a soup kitchen.
There are endless options for helping people or the world. Take advantage of that and find a couple events or charities a year that really resonate with your company’s values and make sure you participate every year.
Creating clubs for your company or encouraging employees to create clubs within the company is a great way to encourage camaraderie among your colleagues! Take a look at what resources you have within your office, how many people would be interested, and how much it would cost to execute each one. You’d be surprised how cheap some of these can be to execute.
For example, creating a book or movie club can be a great way to bring people together to consume and talk about fantastic stories or ideas. Want to make sure everything remains work oriented? No problem! Make sure all of the books or films that you watch are somehow related to your industry or work life: you never know what ideas or opportunities may arise from it.
Do you work at a company that has a lot of former athletes or people who value being active? Try starting a team or group activity. A ton of fun can be had with colleagues everywhere between the soccer pitch, baseball field, yoga studio, or dance classroom. The opportunities are endless.
Really want your employees to come out of their shells? Host an improv or stand up comedy class or maybe even a debate club! Let your employees sharpen their communication skills and maybe laugh a little bit along the way.
Everyone knows about companies who have “bring your kid(s) to work” days. But have you ever considered bringing your mom or grandparents?
With our world advancing so much so quickly, there are dozens of companies and industries that our older family members have never heard of which can cause some confusion when you try to explain to your mom what you do for a living.
So why not have a bring your mom/dad/grandparent to work day to show them what you do! You may be surprised how much the parents may appreciate the invitation. (Note: could also make for some fun social media content!)
Educational Traditions and Opportunities
Try having your top players lead sessions on everything from how to use a new technology to top notch management skills. Encouraging your younger and older employees to learn new things can help them (and your team!) continue to become more competitive and more valuable in the workplace. Taking the time to help your employees improve themselves is one of the best investments you could possibly make for your company or team.
Have a bigger budget and want to up the ante? Invite speakers to come and give talks to your employees or set up formal education programs that all employees can partake in.
People love to learn and need to continue developing skills in this economy: take advantage of that and make your organization a stronger one by building employees from the bottom up!
Just for Fun Traditions
Now for the fun part: let's talk parties! Hosting Holiday Parties, Happy Hours, or small 'just for fun' events are a great way for employees to meet each other and relax a bit, especially after a busy week, month, or year at work.
Holiday parties in December or Summer Parties are great times to get the whole company together to celebrate any major accomplishments that they have had or to make announcements to everyone in person. Be sure to carve out some time to show your thanks to everyone in your company or on your team at events like this, in addition to making sure that everyone has a good time.
Want to do something smaller on a regular basis but don’t want it to just be alcohol? Try making different kinds of events that have a specific activity in mind whether it’s board games, a fierce ping pong tournament, giant puzzles, or whatever challenge you can think of! Having small just for fun events like this can be pulled off on a really low budget with a minimal amount of work and can be a great way for employees to build their teamwork or leadership skills!
One last thing! Ensure Inclusive Events.
One of the worst thing you can realize as an event organizer is that one or several employees cannot physically participate for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s employees with disabilities or colleagues with children who need to hurry home immediately after work, be mindful of creating a variety of opportunities so these team members are not constantly excluded.
If your only company activities are after 5 or 6pm or only involve alcohol or playing a sport like dodgeball, see if you can find other regular events during the day. We know making events is not necessarily the number one thing on a company’s mind, but making sure that there are opportunities for every employee to participate at least every once in a while can go a really long way.