Rituals are a powerful driver of culture in any company. These ceremonies help to reinforce the values that the company stands by. There are certain ceremonies that a company keeps and retains over time. At S.T.A.R.S Corporation, we have thoroughly designed and fostered our culture to reinforce the S.T.A.R.S Corporation values in our everyday work life. Our rituals define us and design the blueprint of how interconnected the people of the company are and what they believe in.
“We are our culture and tradition; if there is no culture or tradition we are no one.”
― Tamerlan A Kuzgov
Companies have all types of cultural practices. Why are they important? Rituals strengthen the core beliefs of the company, implanting a sense of a united purpose and vision. Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist, coined the term collective effervescence. It talks about how people are consumed with a fervid feeling of concord and togetherness when people gather around to perform highly ecstatic events. When individuals come together for a ritual, they are enthralled by a sense of unity and a drive towards a collective vision. At S.T.A.R.S Corporation, we’ve tried and implemented many rituals to see what works best for our tribe.
According to research conducted by Dimitris Xygalatas, an anthropologist in the University of Columbia, proves that at the time of the ceremony, the ritual tends to increase the stress levels of the participants and onlookers that are involved and decrease them drastically, even below the starting point, after the ritual is over. This goes to show the positive impact of rituals on the psychological health of the involved individuals. Dimitris Xygalatas also shows in his research that people were willing to be more charitable and considerate of the needs of others after being part of the rituals. We kept in mind our mission before we evaluated what were the things that can help us deliver on those points. It was also important for us to think about the psychological well-being of our tribe and what would best aid their drive to perform at 100%. The rituals that take place in S.T.A.R.S Corporation are as follows:
An important event for every employee at S.T.A.R.S Corporation is the one-on-one meeting that is held every month. S.T.A.R.S Corporation follows a flexible, semi-formal format, where the Human Resource manager and the individual employee sit together to go over the entire evaluation of the previous month. This entails discussions about the highs and lows in the employee’s performance, the goals and the feedback of the person in focus. These meetings are conducted for every role in the company, no matter how new or old the employee is. These meetings can last up to two hours depending on the content of the discussion and the association between the employee and his/her manager. S.T.A.R.S Corporation takes these monthly meetings very seriously, they believe that it is essential for the HR manager to be able to connect with each and every team member, provide them with guidance, align them with the ambitions of the company, see to it that if there are any concerns present at the employees end then they are facilitated accordingly, and create a feedback stream that runs two ways to ensure that the communication between the employee and the HR manager is as manifest as ice.
Whenever there is a new employee at S.T.A.R.S Corporation, they are welcomed by their line manager who acts as their personal mentor. This manager is blithesome to guide the new employee along the avenue of growth. The personal mentor is usually the line manager; however, on certain instances it can be some other individual as well. This change is sometimes made if the company feels that it is going to bring about more positive outcomes for the new employee. The mentor works by not only facilitating the individual on the path of career growth, but also helps them to adjust in the office and find their way around the mundane tasks that a person comes across in the office e.g. where we keep the tea bags. Every individual who works at S.T.A.R.S Corporation has a task list that they work on. The mentor takes out time every day to go over the task list of the employee; making sure that there is no confusion or barrier in the communication of the tasks at hand. An interesting part of the mentorship is for the person in focus to be in a position to set a goal for themselves and discuss this personal goal with the mentor. These meetings are fruitful as they allow us to go over all of the factors that motivate us or add grievance to our experience in the office.
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”.
Other than the individual evaluations and analysis, the company also conducts team reviews. These evaluations are conducted on a monthly basis where the team progress is discussed. These reviews highlight the sales overview, the efficiency, events that took place in the previous month, and other factors that affect the department in focus. As the name suggests, these reviews are conducted to analyze whether the team as a whole is making progress as expected and to see whether there are any delays in the flow of work that takes place intra team. The performance and productivity of the team is analyzed along with the distinct accomplishments of the team from the previous month. The efficiency is reviewed by the founder himself. This goes to show the level of involvement on the part of the company. The main focus under efficiency is on the project satisfaction, delivery, time management, smart working skills and the execution process of the project. The events are reviewed in a categorical manner; going over each event one by one to determine the events impression on the company and to determine how it achieved its purpose and how the purpose can be achieved if it wasn’t already.
S.T.A.R.S Corporation believes that communication is a two way road and it is as important to hear the side of the employees as it is to review their progress. The intra-team feedbacks are conducted with one team at a time. In these feedback sessions, the team is provided with the opportunity to express their concerns or suggestions which they believe will be beneficial to the prosperity of the team. These suggestions are seriously considered and discussed amongst the team members to get everyone’s input before deciding on implementing a change in the system. Other than providing suggestions and feedback about how the team can grow, This session enhances collaboration amongst the team members as they are provided with a platform where they can discuss what is and isn’t okay with them. It open ups doors for the employees to express whether they feel that the work flow within the team is an effective one or not. These meetings tend to last 30-40 minutes.
In the end of the meeting, each team member is given 2 minutes each to share their progress with the rest of the team members. The members can also explain how they utilized different tricks and tools to make their work efficient or more organized. Other employees are allowed to pitch in if they feel they can offer help with any specific issue that a member may have highlighted. Finally, before dispersing, each employee is allowed to write one question for the CEO, who then directly answers these questions that are conveyed to him. These questions are mostly about the future plans, how we can fix our errors more effectively and the overall direction or vision that the company is headed towards.
“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve”.
Although the company holds one-on-one feedback sessions, these additional manager feedback sessions provide an opportunity to the line managers and the team member in focus to provide their feedback to each other. In these sessions, the team member is in focus and the feedback is related to the tasks that were completed. This gives both the line manager and the employee in focus to discuss what can be improved, what improvisations are required, or where they’ve performed exceptionally well. These feedback from the line manager mostly serve as a motivational boost for the employee; provides them with a better direction in which they should steer their work, and when needed, as a warning to improve.
MONTHLY ONE DISH PARTIES
“Nothing- not a conversation, not a handshake, not even a hug- establishes friendship so forcefully as eating together”
-Jonathan Safron Foyer
S.T.A.R.S Corporation pays a great amount of attention to the concept of bringing the team together and establishing a united front of the company. Paul Rozin, a professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, found that the simple act of sharing your food is a sign of social intimacy. It allows people to create a stronger bond when they allow another individual to share their food. To incorporate a sense of belonging and professional friendship, the company hosts a monthly one dish party on the last Thursday of every month. All the teams and departments are invited to this party. Every individual can, but is not obliged to, contribute by bringing one dish to share with all of the employees. All the company employees sit at one center table to enjoy a shared meal and talk about life in general. We, at S.T.A.R.S Corporation, make it a point to make sure these parties do not become a work meeting, by avoiding any work related discussions on the event. These one dish parties allow the employees, who usually do not get to interact inter-department, to get to know each other better and feel more connected to the people around them.
This monthly one dish party also gives rise to a sense of compassion amongst the employees. The party does not allow you to merely share your food with each other, it also allows the team members to show hospitality towards each other. This gives rise to the feeling on unity in the company. This ritual has also proven to be beneficial in one more aspect. As S.T.A.R.S Corporation is a hub of versatile employees, this gathering allows the team members to get a taste of the diverse cultures that are present in the office as people tend to bring home cooked meals which are a reflection of their cultures. These gatherings serve as a company building ritual which help the employees to come together, get to know each other and break bread on a jocund break from work.
MIND STIMULATION GAMES
We, at S.T.A.R.S Corporation, pay heed to the psychological well-being of our employees. We are aware that in a fast paced world, employees are faced with burnouts at work very often. On certain occasions, the employees may also face a low motivation and a feeling of being overwhelmed. To cater to these needs of the employees, the company has initiated a new ritual in the office called mind simulation games. These are well researched and thought out activities that are conducted by the company. In these activities, a department, and sometimes the entire company, gather together to take part in a psychological simulation game that aims to help the employees.
These activities are not conducted on a scheduled day or after a scheduled time. Instead, they are conducted whenever the company feels that there is a need for these activities in the office. These activities are also conducted when the company feels a requirement to reinvigorate a sense of team work and unity. One of the activities that the company takes part in in the picture pieces activity. In this activity the different departments of the company are provided with a piece of puzzle and asked to reproduce it on a larger scale. Once all the departments complete their pieces, they are put together to form the complete puzzle picture but on a larger scale than the original. The many differences that surface from this activity help the employees understand even though it is not always apparent, but the entire company is working in unison and the slightest mistake on one persons end can change the outlook of the entire end product. These activities provide a hands on experience to the employees that leave a mark in their minds about the message being delivered.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness”
Here, at S.T.A.R.S Corporation, we prefer to get to know our employees and always consider that as human being, we do require a break from everyday life. Which is why S.T.A.R.S Corporation arranges an annual trip for their employees. These trips are sponsored by the company and the employees travel to a destination to unwind and relax. These trips are a great way for the employees to put their phones away and simply take a break from their everyday lives. Being in nature or in the presence of historical monuments provides the employees with a sense of tranquility and awe. S.T.A.R.S Corporation believes that travelling in not just about visiting new places and sightseeing; it runs much deeper than that, it permanently changes a person’s perspective and ideas about the world and living. These trips are also an experience where the employees get to spend time together outside of the office. This is usually their first experience of spending so many hours together and allows the employees to get to know each other on a different level. Making these sweet memories together assists the employees in feeling at home with their colleagues and in the company.
The company is invested in building up their employees in such a way that when these individuals step out into the world, they outshine any competition. Which is why the company is so heavily invested in helping the employees explore the depths of their minds, in their fields of expertise and as human beings. Here at S.T.A.R.S Corporation, every Friday we have a 60-minute knowledge sharing session where we talk about everything from the latest trends in tech to the risks associated with being unmotivated for too long. The company encourages one of the team members to lead each philosophical Friday. This session has done wonders for our people and proved its worth over time. These sessions allow the employees to talk about subjects that are not usually part of the conversation and provides them with a platform where they can ask questions that they fail to answer for themselves. These discussions allow the employees an outlet where they can think about their concerns that are not related to their field of work. They explore the questions of the world and this helps them to think creatively about problems. With the help of these activities, the employees are able to take these skills and implement them in their work as well as in their real life.
These sessions don’t only build an employee, these sessions’ help to build the character of a well-rounded human being. We, at S.T.A.R.S Corporation, also organize regular sessions on mental health and its importance in the lives of working individuals. We even discuss about these psychological concerns in depth, e.g. how to maintain work-life balance? The range of discussion does not end here, he discuss whether one of us learned something new in their role, or even a presentation about the culture of the town you’re from. Once a week, we get to learn about a completely new topic and this has been very effective as a personal development ritual for us. This opens the minds of the team members to countless possibilities and allows them to evaluate contradicting opinions; simply to realize how little we as human beings actually know.
This list of S.T.A.R.S rituals demonstrates that transparency and employee development are at the heart of our tribe culture. From the meetings, to the reviews, all the way to the leisure trips; all of these sacred ceremonies are encircling client growth and development. Here at S.T.A.R.S Corporation, we believe that to have satisfied clients, a company must have content employees. Conducting different rituals at S.T.A.R.S Corporation has definitely made something clearer; company leaders should be aware of the fact that there’s always more feedback necessary than you might think. Getting frequent feedbacks also allow the employee to stay motivated to always bring their A-game to the table. Every week, it encourages them to be positively competitive when they hear about the tasks that their peers have achieved.
At S.T.A.R.S Corporation, we believe that we must keep communication at the center of all your processes that aid us in managing our people in the best way. The term ‘communication’ here encompasses all kinds of feedback and reviews; constructive criticism, a motivation boost as well as alignment with the company’s vision and mission. One-on-one feedback sessions and team building activities tend to be the most efficient form of communication in every team. Along with that, leisure activities and informal parties allow the company team members to be more helpful and understanding towards each other. They are more open to lending a hand when the other person needs it.
Here, at S.T.A.R.S Corporation, the employees have a great sense of unity and harmony. This in turn drives the company towards success and gives them a nudge in the direction of prosperity. In the end, we do believe that sacred ceremonies that drive a culture need to be engaging and productive. If these ceremonies do not interest the employees or fails to attain their attention, then they become pointless and unproductive. We try to enjoy what we do, and our people are truly passionate about the products we build and driven towards the success of the company. This helps us create an overall team spirit that helps to makes all office events fruitful and the time of the employees spent in the office; memorable.