Serena Software is breaking out of the corporate mould by announcing today that its 800 employees around the globe will participate each week in a company-wide program called “Facebook Fridays,” which encourages employees to find fun and personal connections in the workplace.
Each Friday, employees are granted one hour of personal time to spend on their Facebook profiles and connect with co-workers, customers, family and friends.
This initiative will start on Friday November 2nd and will be rolled out in 18 countries where the company has offices.
As Web 2.0 technologies such as instant messaging (IM), wikis, and texting make communication faster and more efficient, the “human” element of communication can feel increasingly removed. How can people bring that sense of personal interaction and community back into the workplace? Surprisingly, through one of the hottest technologies around — Facebook, a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.
Fanatic for Facebook
Serena President and CEO Jeremy Burton is an avid user of Facebook, using it to keep in touch with employees, friends, and business partners from wherever he is in the world — in Japan visiting customers or racing cars at Laguna Seca.
He wants to bring the benefits he gains from using Facebook to his company, and allow employees to have more fun combining their personal and professional lives.
He is doing this by making Facebook his company’s intranet — a place where employees can find everything from a list of company holidays to the CEO’s favourite movie.
Burton believes that colleagues who get to know one another on a more personal level will work together better.
The company already has more than 30% of its global workforce on Facebook prior to the launch of Facebook Fridays.
“As our business continues to grow, the workplace becomes more and more distributed, which can make us feel disconnected from one another,” said Burton. “Social networking tools like Facebook can bring us back together, help us get to know each other as people, help us understand our business and our products, and help us better serve our customers — on demand. A corporate culture that fosters a sense of community and fun will ultimately help us get more done. Companies that do not embrace social networking are making a huge mistake.”
Recent studies indicate there are roughly 70 million Gen Y’ers (born between the years 1980-2000), and Burton believes it’s critical to understand and embrace “their world,” including on-demand Internet applications and an “innovation without permission” mentality.
Serena is using new methods of recruiting, like Facebook, to tune into this next generation of workers who are, ultimately, the corporate leaders of tomorrow.