Rituals Add Meaning to Work

Years ago, a student in one of my classes who worked at Wal-Mart said he had heard Sam Walton was coming to his store.

I said to the student, “I understand that Sam Walton likes to open meetings with a Wal-Mart cheer—Give me a W.  Give me an A.  Give me an L . . . Who is Number one?  THE CUSTOMER ALWAYS.”

“Yes. He does,” the student responded.

“What are you going to do when he leads the cheer?”

“I’m going to shout it!” the student beamed.

After seeing employees in a Korean tennis ball factory begin their day with a cheer, Sam Walton introduced the cheer to Wal-Mart associates in 1975 and the ritual continues.

Kristen Senz, writing in The Harvard Gazette, reports that such team-building rituals can create a shared sense that work is more meaningful and help co-workers bond. Although many see company rituals as silly and avoid partaking, these group activities over time can still add meaning to their work.

To encourage rituals in your workplace, Senz suggests that you first check to see what employees are already be doing—lunching together on Friday, celebrating birthdays, and the like. Find things employees enjoy doing together and encourage them.

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