Take Your Parents to Work Day: Should Your Company Try It?

Take Your Parents to Work Day: Should Your Company Try It?

If your child is a Millennial with a job, there’s a chance you can go to their workplace on November 4th for Take Your Parents to Work Day!

We’ll show you why you should consider hosting a day for employees’ families. Take Your Parents to Work Day may sound like a warm and fuzzy timewaster, but it can improve your workforce and benefit your business in some serious ways!

What is Take Your Parents to Work Day?

take your parents to work dayIf you’ve been in the workforce as long as I have, you probably remember when Take Your Daughter to Work Day started.

We wanted to inspire our daughters to believe that all opportunities were available to them in the workplace, beyond the stereotypical female-held positions.

Once those barriers broke, we realized there was value in all of our children seeing what their parents did at work, so we opened it up to our sons as well, and it became Take your Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

Not to be outdone, animal lovers then created Take Your Dog to Work Day, which was held this year on June 24th.  So, who’s left for us to bring to work? Yes, you’ve guessed it: parents.

Attack of the helicopter parents!

Much has been written about the differences between the parents of Baby Boomers and the parents of Millennials. Members of the Millennial generation are:

  • People born between 1981 and the early 2000s
  • Generally the children of Baby Boomers
  • The largest generation in the workforce as of 2015

Baby Boomers are now famous (or, more accurately, infamous) for their overly-involved parenting styles. “Helicopter parents” are people who constantly hover over their children, trying to knock down everything they view as obstacles to their offspring’s success — even when those children are adults with jobs.

My company has been buzzed by many helicopter parents. Parents like this have:

  • Come into our office to inquire about employment on their adult child’s behalf
  • Argued with us about the hiring process and paperwork required
  • Insisted on filling out employment paperwork for their adult child
  • Demanded to sit in on interviews
  • Called to discuss their child’s work performance and status
  • Shouted at us about disciplinary measures or terminations

Clearly, many parents have a keen interest in their children’s jobs and futures!

Today’s jobs are different than the jobs of yesterday:

Workforce paradigms have shifted; many of today’s jobs did not exist yesterday, and many parents simply don’t understand what it is their children do.

In recent comments about this subject, one person wrote that when he talked about his IT job working with routers, his dad thought he was a carpenter. Another Python developer said his mom thought it meant he worked with snakes.

Even traditional jobs have evolved. Today’s administrative assistant’s tasks are very complex and likely won’t involve making coffee and taking dictation.

Job titles have changed, too:

  • Director of First Impressions
  • Code Ninja
  • Word Herder
  • Manager of Reputation
  • Happiness Captain

What the heck do they do?

A survey by LinkedIn found that one-third of parents surveyed didn’t understand what their children did. If parents don’t know what their children do on the job, how are they going to brag about them?

Parents are curious about what their children do for a living:

As parents, we spend many years preparing our children for the world of work. It’s only natural that once we’ve launched them from the nest into their career, we’d have some curiosity about what that looks like for them.

Just as we wanted to go to Back to School Night, meet their new friends and their teacher, and see their desks, we want to feel that they are going to be successful in this new endeavor.

Tech companies seem to get this, and they are early adopters of Bring Your Parents to Work Day:

  • Google jumped on the bandwagon a couple of years ago
  • Amazon just held theirs with 5,000 parents in attendance
  • LinkedIn is a prime sponsor of Bring Your Parents to Work Day, complete with a website offering ideas on how to implement it in your business.

What’s the value of Take Your Parents to Work Day?

What do companies get out of hosting a day for employees’ parents to come to work with them?

The LinkedIn survey showed that:

  • 25% of Millenials ask their parents advice before accepting a job offer
  • 50% of parents felt they could help their child more if they better understood what they did on their job.

Companies know that a parent’s active support and advice can be an essential part of their child’s success at work. We parents know that our job of mentoring and parenting doesn’t end when kids turn 18 and move out — it’s really a lifetime commitment!

Mentoring our children while they navigate their work-lives benefits not only our kids but also their employers. After all, we have a lot of wisdom to share!

Host your own Take Your Parents to Work Day:

It doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking for a company or a big disruption to a workday to allow parents to check out what their children do for a living.

  • Open up the last hour or two of a day for parents to come visit
  • Serve some refreshments
  • Have senior management talk about what the company does
  • Provide a tour of the facilities
  • Let parents meet their kids’ co-workers and see their work spaces

Bam! You’ve successfully hosted a Take Your Parents to Work Day.

The wrap-up:

My youngest Millennial started her first career position a couple of weeks ago. I might just tuck this article into her purse in hopes that she shares it with her boss!

I’d sure like to see her workspace, meet her new co-workers, and learn more about the company she’s so excited to be a part of. Who knows? Maybe it would allow me to give her even better, more informed advice as she navigates her new job and strives to become a great employee.