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Rituals Roadmap

The Human Way to Transform Everyday Routines Into Workplace Magic

By Erica Keswin
13-minute read
Audio available
Rituals Roadmap by Erica Keswin

Rituals Roadmap (2021) is a modern-thinking guide about how to create workplace rituals that increase employee engagement and strengthen team commitment. It’s an essential piece of wisdom for the human workplace.

  • Managers looking to learn a more human touch
  • Team leaders seeking to instill team spirit
  • Those who want the magic of ritual to transform their work lives

Erica Keswin has spent the past twenty years helping high-end brands apply the human touch to their workplace. Her work has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company. Her previous book, Bring Your Human to Work, was number two on the Wall Street Journal best seller list. 

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Rituals Roadmap

The Human Way to Transform Everyday Routines Into Workplace Magic

By Erica Keswin
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Rituals Roadmap by Erica Keswin
Synopsis

Rituals Roadmap (2021) is a modern-thinking guide about how to create workplace rituals that increase employee engagement and strengthen team commitment. It’s an essential piece of wisdom for the human workplace.

Key idea 1 of 8

Workplace rituals make business sense.

Being a journalist with the New York Times may sound glamorous – but, just like most of us, newsroom workers also have to contend with repetitive tasks like answering emails and attending meetings. For years, a beloved tradition at the newspaper helped break up the monotony. At exactly 4 p.m., a snack cart used to roll through the newsroom. Journalists rose and stretched, then headed over for some afternoon caffeine and conversation. 

The 4 p.m. snack cart was a perfect workplace ritual – but why, exactly? And what do the words “workplace ritual” even mean? Well, the author believes all rituals tick a few very specific boxes. 

The key message here is: Workplace rituals make business sense. What makes rituals work? 

First, they need to rise beyond the practical. Let’s face it: Staff at the New York Times don’t really need a coffee cart – they can grab a coffee whenever they want. But gathering around that cart gave their coffee breaks greater purpose.

Then there’s also something the author calls the Three Ps. One stands for purpose: as we’ve already seen, rituals make us feel part of something bigger. The other P is for psychological safety. And finally, the combination of purpose and psychological safety brings about greater performance. 

Last but not least, you can always tell a good ritual by the fact that people miss it once it’s gone. A few years ago, the Times decided to get rid of the snack cart – and many journalists still regret that decision. 

Creating rituals certainly requires psychological and emotional investment. But financially, they don’t really have to cost that much. For instance, the nonprofit organization DoSomething passes around a stuffed penguin toy at meetings. And Microsoft celebrates work anniversaries with M&Ms. 

These little ceremonies are very affordable – but they are also priceless. They create social cohesion and engagement; they take away stress and reduce anxiety. These aren’t just lofty words: rituals make great business sense. The American Psychological Association found that workplace stress costs American companies $500 billion and 550 million workdays each year. 

So simply by offering your employees a ritual, you can meet their need for belonging and purpose. And that creates a more human and engaging workplace.

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