Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Birthday from your Intranet

I personally do not make it public knowledge when its my birthday. I get embarrassed by any fuss and am conscious of the fact that I am no spring chicken anymore. Though when I saw the following Tweet in my feed last night I thought it was a wonderful idea.

@vj2w Feel special. My Intranet is customised to wish me HB. Nice touch.

I retweeted this post and commented that I thought is was a great idea. Wouldn't be too hard to implement and it would be appreciated.

Another of my Intranet tweeps, @DigitalJonathan commented that he agreed it was a nice idea but raised a couple of relevant points.

  1. The message should not quote the users age as that could contravene European Union laws on sharing age of employees due to possible discrimination

  2. Would the Birthday greeting go all users as is the case on facebook, or only be sent to the individual?

In my opinion, the first point is a no brainer. No need to quote the age, even if it is a milestone like 21 or 40. Most people just say Happy Birthday when face to face and besides, according to stereotyping, no woman likes to be reminded of their age. Not many middle aged men either for that matter.

The second point is more interesting though. Some people love others knowing when their Birthday is while others are not comfortable with any fuss or attention.

If I was to implement such a feature I think I would go with the following scenario.

When a user is set up, their birth Day and Month ONLY is entered. Each user can edit their profile page and for the Birthday section they would have following options:

Having the option to publish a reminder to the Upcoming Events section would work similar to the same Facebook function. This would suit those who are comfortable to have everyone knowing their Birthday is coming up. It might even help employees born on the same day to connect and build better social relationships.

I gave a lot of thought as to what the default setting should be and decided on Send personal Birthday Message to me only.

I am confident that providing each user with the option to opt out of this function completely would satisfy any critics in my current organisation.

The other reason is, to be honest, even a casual curmudgeon like me enjoys being wished Happy Birthday once a year, but don't tell anyone and please don't make a fuss.


Michelle said...

Our intranet sends you an email on your birthday... People love it! Everyone keeps asking if they will still receive an email from our new intranet when it launches in December. We left it out of our initial release but considering it is so popular we will add it back in next year.

Peter Richards said...

Thanks Michelle. I think most would like a feature like this also. In your old Intranet, where did the birth date come from? Was it retrieved from the HR system?

Michelle said...

Yes it was retrieved from the HR system. I think that is the only way to do it, it is always accurate and up to date.