This idea by LinkedIn in Mountain View, Calif., is one of the Best HR Ideas for 2012. See the rest of them here.
Although the practice of letting people step away from the day-to-day duties of their jobs now and then to focus on projects isn't totally new, we were impressed by the breadth and comprehensiveness of LinkedIn's monthly "inDay" events.
inDays, which occur one Friday per month, are a chance for the social-networking firm's 2,000 employees to take time to learn more about different areas of the company, work on "inspirational" projects of their choosing and have a little fun on the company's dime. Each inDay has a theme, with each office location given the freedom to create its own.
A recent theme was "Connections," which resulted in the launch of a women's networking group called Women@LinkedIn. Other themes have included a "Top Chef" cooking challenge, with different departments competing against each other to create outstanding dishes, and volunteering in the community.
During one inDay, sales representatives from the company's Europe, Middle East and Asia team held "speed dating" events in which reps from one area learned about another area's clients and product offerings.
Other inDays have included "Hackday," in which technical employees were encouraged to explore new technologies and implement new ideas, with prizes awarded for the best projects (some of which ended up on the company's linkedinlabs.com website).
"The goal is to inspire each other, learn something we didn't know before, have a bit of fun and take a breath," says Brooke Lopez, LinkedIn's head of employee experience.