Yes, You Can Bring Your Parents to Work!

Maybe a version of “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” was part of your childhood, and The Motley Fool certainly continues this tradition every summer. We recently turned the tables and organized “Bring Your Adult Family to Work Day,” which hosted Foolish spouses, siblings, and parents. This event, the first held at the Fool in a few years, left everyone impressed – and informed. Financial breakout sessions, a company-culture breakdown, and lunch over a live taping of Motley Fool Money gave family members a glimpse into Fools’ lives here as employees.

Considering that only 1% of U.S. companies host such an event, it’s not surprising that many of my friends were unfamiliar from their own work experiences. However, more companies are inviting parents into the workplace. Google and Starbucks held their first parent events in 2012, and LinkedIn recently hopped on the bandwagon. Last November, LinkedIn hosted the company’s first “Bring In Your Parents Day,” which allowed guests to tour the campus and mingle with staff. In short, it sounded quite similar to our event – except for LinkedIn hosted nearly 600 family members.

Interestingly enough, there was once a time when companies didn’t roll out a welcome mat for employees’ parents. Managers saw them as a burden, furthermore “The hyper-involved moms and dads of the millennial generation were said to be showing up at job interviews, calling hiring managers on behalf of their kids and even complaining to employers about their children’s salaries.” The tides have turned and organizations are now embracing the idea of parents in the workplace – every so often, at least. Some argue that if employees’ parents appreciate the company, those staff members will be happier and more connected to the organization. The Washington Post feature continues, “If there’s any common theme to why companies have started involving parents more, that’s it: Showing the workplace off to parents, and better communicating with them, could stoke higher engagement among employees and make them less likely to leave.”

There’s a happy medium that can be found in parents’ workplace involvement. Our event was meant to be something fun and casual for Fools and their loved ones to enjoy. To take the idea a step further, Northwestern Mutual sends optional e-newsletters to parents and also organize recognition dinners, while Google offers the option of sitting down alone with their child’s manager.

It’s clear that companies can approach this type of activity in different ways. Can you see the benefits of hosting a parents’ event at your workplace? Why or why not?

One thought on “Yes, You Can Bring Your Parents to Work!

  1. I can definitely see the advantage of it, especially in the terms of transparency. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to work at a place like Motley Fool, but I fell in love with the type of positive culture after visiting google and spending the past few years reading about the concrete advantages backed by scientific studies.

    Inviting spouses and parents really makes the company ask themselves “Is our workplace really worth showing off?” by literally inviting more people inside. It adds a very human element that reminds us we all have friends & family that mean a lot to us, as opposed to the delusional “worklife isolated from non-work life” view. In addition it creates a stronger sense of empathy because coworkers see slice of an employee’s home life, and the employee’s family gets to see what work is like for Daddy. I remember from my time at exxon that even the take your kids to work day was not very transparent…the activities were isolated to a couple rooms while some workers continue to remain isolated back in the corner of the building. The activities were extremely structured and had very little to do with the actual work employees do. I really wish I could find a job at a company with a great positive culture like TMF or Google.

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