You may have heard of or experienced a concept known as “Bring Your Daughter/Son to Work Day.” A number of companies set aside a specific day of the year in which parents can bring their daughter or son with them to work for a day. This experience gives their child an up-close look at what their parents do as a career. Often, such an experience can stir a new interest or validate an existing interest in a potential career choice for the young adult. Last year, LinkedIn decided to put an unusual twist on this particular concept.
With the cultural and technological changes that serve to define our professional and personal lives, it is easy to imagine how the child of today’s parent would easily accept a modern work environment as normal and unsurprising. In fact, the real generation gap in today’s workforce seems to exist between our ideas of a career and a workplace versus the ideas our parents might have based on how the workplace appeared during their careers. LinkedIn wanted to try to bridge that gap a little, while providing an opportunity for the prior generation to get a closer look at today’s work environment and the many changes that have been made.
Thus began the first ever “Bring Your Parents to Work Day.” This year, another 50 companies in 16 countries have joined in and offer this special day to their employees. Such an opportunity gives adult children a rare chance to show their parents how the workplace has changed since they retired from their careers. Some parents admit to not really understanding what it is their children do for a living. As a result, these older parents rarely know what to ask or how to communicate with their adult children about their jobs, their daily routine or their important career moves.
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner admits there was some initial apprehension at first regarding whether or not this was a good idea. But it makes sense, he says, "once you have done it and see how meaningful it is. It helps us all speak a common language in terms of how the world is working today."
Rich Stoddart, CEO of Leo Burnett North America, suspects the 200 mothers and fathers attending “Bring Your Parents To Work Day” at their Chicago office will be startled by his workforce walking around in jeans, sandals and t-shirts. His organization is taking the event a step further by offering the attending parents free lessons on how to use apps like Twitter to communicate with their adult children using today’s technology.
LinkedIn will continue to offer this special day to its employees around the world and hopes the trend will continue to grow around the world each year. It is a wonderful way to bridge both the generation gap and the communication gap currently experienced by adults who are unable to converse with their parents about their careers due to a lack of understanding about how today’s workplace is vastly different from their own expectations.