Our board member, former SHRM CEO Sue Meisinger, reflects on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day – with a twist. Read her post below and take the poll at the bottom. We’d love to hear what you think about this idea.
I’ve been around long enough to remember when the “Take Our Daughters to Work Day” started. Initiated by the Ms. Foundation for Women in 1992, it was originally designed to address self-esteem issues unique to girls. Most companies gradually expanded the program to include boys, largely because parents thought it would be a good experience for boys as well. In 2003 the program officially became “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.”
The goal? To “encourages girls and boys across the country to dream without gender limitations and to think imaginatively about their family, work and community lives. This national, public education program “connects what children learn at school with the actual working world”. I like the idea and think that, when well organized, it can provide a valuable learning experience for children, allowing them to see what goes on in the world of work.
But I don’t think it goes far enough. I think LinkedIn had it right when, a few years ago, it launched a “Bring In Your Parents” day. Of course, I’m probably biased, since I held a “Bring Your Parent to Work Day” more than 10 years ago while I was the CEO of SHRM. My motivation was simple. First, I had kids who were just beginning their work lives, and I was dying to know how they were doing and what their employer was like, but I didn’t want to be a “helicopter parent.” I knew that if I was a curious parent, parents of SHRM employees were probably just as curious.
Second, I had traveled to India, where it’s more important to engage parents in recruiting and retention efforts. It’s just part of the culture – parents have a great influence on the choices their children make, and it extends to employment decisions. If the parents are impressed and happy with the way their child is being treated in the workplace, they’re much more likely to encourage their progeny to take or stay with a job. I think parents all over the world are like those in India: They have great influence over the decisions of their children, and employers should look for ways to leverage that influence to their advantage. For some employers – especially those that are great places to work – a visit of a few hours by some parents may be a cheap and easy engagement tool. Parents are more experienced, and can recognize a good thing when they see it, and can help remind their child that the grass is NOT always greener on the other side.
What’s the harm in trying?