Team rituals are the glue that holds workplace cultures together through times of challenge and change. They’re fun, interactive and the most successful ones are closely tied to company values.
We know rituals are important, but how do we take them to the next level? While switching up your regular team meeting to a standing meeting has its benefits, more needs to be done to create exciting team rituals that leave a long-lasting impact.
If you’re looking for some unique, extravagant and downright interesting team rituals that high-performing organisations are championing, you’ve come to the right place.
Unique team rituals to inspire you.
SHOPIFY – UNICORN
Shopify developed their own internal tool, nicknamed UNICORN. The platform allows employees to praise each other if they discover something awesome that someone in the team has created or achieved.
This is what Tobi Lutke, Shopify CEO, has to say about this team ritual:
“When we hit 20,000 followers on Twitter, someone noticed and posted a message on UNICORN thanking our social media manager. Right away, there were high fives in the hallways and the person responsible was walking around with a huge smile on her face.”
Creating a team ritual around giving and receiving praise is a great way to increase employee engagement, personal connection and helps employees to feel that their work is valued.
PATAGONIA – LET THE PEOPLE SURF
Patagonia has a team ritual that encourages its employees to use and see their products in action.
Since the brand was founded 1973, “Let my people go surfing” has been a standing policy at Patagonia. At their head office in Ventura, California, their team ritual allows employees to leave the office when there’s a perfect surf to take Patagonia products for a spin.
They’ve even got a daily surf report and a stock of Patagonia branded towels, so their teams take up the opportunity to get involved with this ritual.
OXO – LOST GLOVES
OXO creates products that are made to fit comfortably in people’s hands; peelers, cups and cleaning products are all designed with this mission in mind. As a reminder of the different shapes and sizes that hands come in, employees collect lost gloves on their travels and display them on a wall in their communal lunchroom.
There are about 120 gloves on display – everything from a lavender mitten to a striped ski glove. Each glove has a tag attached to it that shares who found it as well as when and where it was found.
This team ritual is powerful because it gives every employee the opportunity to get involved, whether they’re scooting around the block on the way to the office or are travelling for work. There’s also a visual element in a prominent place that solidifies and strengthens the ritual every time a new addition is added to the wall.
IDEO – TEA TIME
Food brings people together like nothing else, so why not create a team ritual around it? IDEO, a global design company, has done just that with this ritual that we could totally get behind.
They call their ritual “Tea Time” and it all starts on Wednesdays with the scent of baked goods and tea wafting through the office. A cowbell sounds and people drop what they’re doing, walk away from their computer screens and come together for ten minutes to drink a cup of tea and indulge in a sweet home-made treat.
This time gives teams who work in different areas that chance to cross paths and share what they’re working on, what’s inspiring them and what they need help with. It helps promote collaboration and connection, which we could all do with some more of in our workplaces, right?
HOUZZ – SIP AND SEE
Houzz is an architecture and interior design platform and they’ve got a team ritual that brings their team together around the shared value of family.
At their “Sip and See” events any staff member who’s welcomed a new child into their family (in the last 6 months) brings them along for their co-workers to fawn over. There are empty baby bottles filled with a variety of pastel-coloured candies, formal intros for each baby and an internal email blast that goes around with cute photos of each new family member with their current “likes” and “dislikes”.
R/GA – 5×5 Night
R/GA are a full-service digital agency from San Francisco and they’ve got a fun tradition they call ‘5×5 Storytelling Night’.
On the fifth day of each month, at 5 pm, five folks get up in front of the rest of the team and share a turning point in their lives for five minutes. These talks are personal, inspiring and bring the team closer together.
ALL BLACKS – SWEEPING THE SHED
The All Blacks have won the Rugby World Cup three times and hold a lifetime winning percentage of 77% – the highest of any professional sports team in the world. This team of winners stay connected to their purpose and each other through the team rituals they perform.
One of the rituals that James Kerr mentions in his book Legacy is called ‘Sweeping the Shed’. At the end of each game, no matter where they are in the world, the All Blacks get together to clean up the dressing room. This cleaning ritual is designed to build humility, show thanks and reinforce that all players are equal.
Have these team rituals inspired you? Ready to think outside of the box for your own activities and get-togethers? Make a list, share them with your team and test them out to see what works.
If you’d like to delve into the science behind team culture or need some pointers on crafting a new team identity after a significant organisational change, we’re here to help.