Last Updated Dec 20, 2010 2:01 PM EST
'Tis the season for traditions that bring families a little closer. Often it's the little things, such as a particular meal or shared activity, that seem to matter the most and give everyone a shared identity.
It's no different in business. Rituals and traditions bring organizations together and define your culture. Plus, they help your business stand out from the lowest-common-denominator sameness of corporate America, which makes a big difference if you want to attract top talent.
Why not use this holiday season to adopt new company traditions? Here are some of my favorite examples to give you inspiration:
- Gentle Giant, a Somerville, Mass.-based moving company, hosts "The Stadium Run" up and down the stairs at Harvard Stadium. The tradition has become a rite of passage for new movers and a deeply ingrained part of Gentle Giant's culture, which celebrates hard work.
- At Australian-based Atlassian, engineers receive a day off each quarter to tinker with a pet project. The tradition's only stipulation is that the engineers must present the results of their day in the lab to the rest of the company the next morning. Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes calls these "FedEx days" -- a nod to the shipping company's promise to deliver overnight.
- Each morning Michael Weinholtz, CEO of CHG Healthcare, ensures there is a basket of fresh fruit available for his employees to nibble on. This ritual, among others, led to CHG being recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 best companies to work for in 2010.
- Joanna Pineda, founder of Arlington-based Matrix Group International, holds a Halloween pumpkin-carving contest each year for all employees. Most companies do something around December, but celebrating Halloween allows Pineda to stand out in the minds of her employees.
- Stouffville, Ontario-based Strategic Information Technology hosts an annual kids' Christmas party with an official visit from Santa just for the children of employees.
More from Built To Sell:
- Startup Survival: How to Get Past the 3-Year Hump
- How the 20 Richest People in America Made Their Money
- 9 Ways to Make Your Company More Valuable in 2011
- Ready to Sell Your Business? Avoid These 8 Mistakes
Flickr photo courtesy of TheUglySweaterShop, CC 2.0