Symbols, Rituals and Ceremonies
At this time of year it is interesting to see the symbols (eg Santa or
Father Christmas or the Cross), rituals (eg carols by candle light)
and ceremonies (Mass) that play out in our culture. They can all be
powerful in influencing behaviour such as Be good or Santa will
not visit you this year .
Similarly symbols, rituals and ceremonies in organisational culture
can be equally powerful. Bolman and Deal in their book Reframing
Symbols embody and express an organisations culture the
interwoven pattern of beliefs, values, practices and artefacts that
define for the members who they are and how they do things .
We were working with a client once who had a goal of increasing
employee retention. This would help with their knowledge capital
and competitive advantage in the market place and hence reduce
One of the solutions we provided was simple yet powerful and it
included rewarding people for length of service. So rewards were
then given for 1 year (attrition was high in year one) and 5 years (a
relatively new company). A medallion was presented at a ceremony
to employees who reached each milestone.
From a cultural
perspective this had the impact of turning tenure into a goal and
water cooler discussion within the culture. This along with other interventions such as professional development and an employee assistance program helped reduce employee
turn over by half.
If you are wondering how symbolism plays out in your organisation look around and see what your
environment says about your business or organisation and how this together with rituals and ceremonies work
with or against your desired culture. 2010 can be an opportunity to implement something new.
In the most part Australia has been able to
sustain growth in the face of the GFC and
on going negative media reports. This
year has been one of the busiest
professional years of my life both -
exciting and rewarding. All good news!
Alison, my assistant gave birth to twins
and is already back at work. You are
amazing Al as are all appening People
Many people selected Happening People
for their executive coaching and many new
clients selected Happening People for their
corporate training and people management
Just as significant are our long
term clients who continue to use
Happening People, thank you all!
2010 is looking great as we are launching
a leadership program for one our clients
around the country to be run over 3 years
and using Harvard resources and a new
national sales program for another client
together with many new executive
We are also sponsoring a
new network of professionals Human
Resource Management @ Work an
impressive body of people. Innovation is
alive and well here 2010 as we hit 15
years! Keep well and Merry Christmas.