You’ve probably heard of “Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day” — a day when kids get a chance to see what their parents do all day. Well, there’s a new twist on the concept — one a number of small businesses are embracing to help the parents of their employees finally figure out what it means when their adult child’s job is “social media specialist,” “app builder,” or “data analyst.” This year, November 4 marks the fourth annual “Bring In Your Parents Day” (#BIYP).
“When we were talking about having a ‘Family Night’ party, it struck me how much time you spend at work, but how little your family really knows about your job, your day-to-day, and the people you spend the majority of your time with,” said Megan Driscoll, founder of the New York based public relations firm, EvolveMKD. “I also wanted to thank these women who took a leap of faith and came to work for my start-up agency.”
“Evolve’s ‘Family Night’ was first called ‘Parents Night’ but we made it more inclusive so employees could bring all of the important people in their lives to see where they work,” said Driscoll, whose firm held their event July 22 with about 80 people in attendance.
“In two years, we grew from an apartment to WeWork (temporary office space), which we quickly outgrew,” said Driscoll. “We now have a full floor of a building in Chelsea with 20 employees. Since it’s a startup, we wanted to show that we’d arrived, that their family members made the right choice by coming to work for a startup.”
“Your parents are this guiding light in your life,” said Catherine Fisher, Career Expert at social media site LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the driving force behind the “Bring In Your Parents Day” observance, but many other companies — such as Google, Amazon, Samsung, Visa — host “Take Your Parents to Work” events.
“One in three parents don’t know what their children do,” said Fisher, citing research LinkedIn commissioned. After all, many of these jobs didn’t exist a few years ago.
Family-oriented events might be even more important for small businesses and startups than for well-known corporations. After all, parents are already proud when they say their child works for Google, LinkedIn, or the biggest employer in town. But they’re likely to be worried when their offspring works for a small company — “What’s their future? Are they secure?” — and those concerns can easily be transmitted, making employees nervous too.
“We brought everyone into the conference room and showed them examples of our work and videos of what we did,” explained Adeena Fried, EvolveMKD Vice President. “Every desk had a picture of the person who worked there on it, and we showed examples of the work.”
“We also wanted family members to experience some of the fun perks we have in the office,” Fried continued. “Because we’re an aesthetic wellness and beauty agency, we provide eyebrow shaping as a perk, so we had that. We had a celebrity makeup artist doing women’s makeup and recommending skin care and makeup products, and everyone got a very nice gift bag.”
Family members were excited to be invited, many coming from far away to attend. Fried’s parents, Rabbi Scott Colbert and Karen Colbert, flew in from Atlanta, Senior Vice President Andrea Wytish’s mother and brother came from Philadelphia, and Account Supervisor Kaitlyn Girod brought both her parents and in-laws. In a serious moment, Rabbi Colbert dedicated the office, offered a prayer for the family members and hung a mezuzah over the office door post (a Jewish tradition).
“I’ve never heard of any other company hosting a Family Night, and EvolveMKD went above and beyond with an evening full of fun, food and new friends,” said Robert Greene of Mount Kisco, New York, whose daughter Katie is a Director. “I’m appreciative that my daughter is at an agency where the CEO values family and invites us to get a closer look at what her career is all about.”
“My mother was there and having her see me in my element and meeting the people I work with, my boss…it definitely built this wonderful connection,” said LinkedIn’s Fisher.
“It was an emotional day, and the emotion was pride.”
Linkedin has created a toolkit you can use to plan your own “Take Your Parents to Work” day in your small business. You can download that here: https://bringinyourparents.linkedin.com/toolkit
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2016
This article originally ran in USA Today on October 26, 2016