Preparing for my TEDx Talk in Boca Raton

While preparing for my TEDx Talk in Boca Raton on May 4, I did a great deal of research about the differences between culture and tradition.

After studying the meaning of the word culture, it is rather parallel to tradition. It refers to the rituals we put in place. It is defined as a way of “thinking, behaving, or working that exists within a place or organization. In 2014, the word culture itself was the most “looked up” word on the online dictionary. This tells me that people are trying to find a sense of community.

However, when you look up the word tradition, it does have a similar meaning. It’s a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used and reinforced by a person, family, society or group of people for a long time. It is taking practices and passing them on to the next generations. They bring life and values to an organization, creating a huge environment.

Some traditions connect us in a way that extends far beyond the real traditions themselves, by establishing a sense of camaraderie, friendship, community and commitment.

Those same feelings that connect our families can also be used to create a strong sense of dedication and connection at work. According to a Gallup Surveyin January 2015, over 70% of all employees are disengaged, meaning they are not motivated to get up and do their jobs.

That means only 30% of all employees like what they do! Many of them actually hate their jobs and try to taint others in the workplace with their dread or disdain. Perhaps you know people like this, whether you work with them or have an acquaintance? Although disappointing, employers do not realize why and have many assumptions to blame. Technology, the economy, or other factors offer possible reasons.

In reality, the biggest reason for staggering numbers of people who hate their jobs is because they simply don’t have the heart to do it. They have not been “touched” or “connected” or “expanded” through traditions. Within our multi-generational workplaces, there must be some traditions in place to connect people and touch them in some way.

Using this knowledge, as an employer, you can evaluate…

  • What is our company doing to bring people together? Particularly “off-line” and outside the space of the internet?
  • What are we doing to help people get to know each other, so they can laugh more and nurture a sense of camaraderie and friendship?
  • Do the employees feel like they are nothing more than a number or that nobody truly cares about them?
  • Does everyone’s opinion(s) count?

Some traditions need to go away, or be rehabilitated. Some are stale and need to be thrown away.

Employers must find ways to connect their employees. By bringing them together, it directly impacts productivity and satisfaction in the workplace. It could be as a group, or through community and schools. It doesn’t have to be expensive or take a lot of time, but it can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line.