Hector Hernandez, of Brooklyn, N.Y., walks with his father, Gaston Hernandez, along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. He plans to take his parents to work to show them what he does as a senior relationship manager at LinkedIn.(Photo: Jennifer S. Altman for USA TODAY)
(USA TODAY) -- Hector Hernandez was in elementary school when his parents - both
professors - took him to the University of Connecticut as part of the
national program to give kids an inside look at their parents' jobs.
"I learned what they did. I have really fond memories of that," he says.
Now he can return the favor.
31, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is a senior relationship manager at LinkedIn, a
social networking site for professionals. It is among companies opening
their doors not just to employees' kids, but also their parents.
has declared Nov. 7 "Bring In Your Parents Day" and has enlisted more
than 20 companies in 14 countries to participate. Company officials say
the effort grew out of conversations among employees who said parents
are clueless about what they do. A survey the company commissioned over
the summer found that almost a third of parents are unfamiliar with
their adult child's job.
Google has had two "Take Your Parents to
Work Day" events this year at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters;
4,000 parents of Google staffers worldwide have participated in similar
On the surface, these efforts have particular appeal to
the ever-increasing numbers of Millennials in the workplace who are
particularly close to their Baby Boomer parents - and to parents who are
more than a little curious about job titles that didn't even exist a
But business experts say inviting parents not only
nurtures relationships with younger employees, it may well impact the
"As the world gets more diverse, this is a way to
link to other cultures where involving parents is a way to show them
honor," says Ellen Ernst Kossek, a management professor at Purdue
University in West Lafayette, Ind.
Google spokeswoman Katelin
Jabbari says the idea was borrowed from India, "where parents are a huge
part of the overall experience and have long been invited into the
In Asia and Latin America, Kossek says, it's not uncommon
for parents to talk to the boss. She says the USA has valued more
separation between family and work, but inviting parents to the
workplace signals changing times as increasing numbers of immigrants
enter the workforce.
Parents days are "one part recruiting, one
part corporate culture and one part retention strategy," says workplace
consultant Bruce Tulgan of New Haven, Conn. Young employees "trust
parents as advisers. Employers think parents are more likely to see the
value of the tangible and intangible benefits of the job."
of Fremont, Calif., will visit the office of computer accessories maker
Logitech in Newark, Calif., on Nov. 7. Her son, Nicholas Wong, 24, has
been a financial analyst there for for two years.
"I'm doing it
because I care for my child and I want to see what he does," she says.
"If there's a day like that and he's inviting me, I will definitely go
to show I'm there for him."
When LinkedIn did a pilot parents day
in August at its Dublin office, Margaret de Lacy Staunton, 67, traveled
100 miles to attend. Her daughter, Eva de Lacy Staunton, 35, is a
regional sales manager.
"I know more about what Eva does and who she works with. I met her
colleagues and her boss," she says. "I'm more comfortable talking with
her about the challenges and stresses that go with her job, having been
"It was an opportunity to share with my mom what my day-to-day is like," says her daughter.
LinkedIn survey of 16,102 adults included 2,014 in the USA; 1,000 have
kids who are employed. Findings show that among parents:
• 29% are unfamiliar with what their child does for a job.
• 81% don't understand what a "UI designer" (user interface designer) does; 57% aren't sure about "social media manager."
• 67% want their child to have a job that makes them happy.
• 40% don't want their child to follow the same career path they did. Just 11% do; 43% say they have no opinion either way.
parents don't understand (their child's) industry, they may want them
to do something more traditional," says sociologist Tom Buchanan of
Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada, who has studied helicopter
That's one reason Hernandez is eager for his parents to
visit LinkedIn. "Hopefully, after this, they'll stop asking me to go
back to medical school or law school," he says. (As a "senior
relationship manager," he says he helps small and medium size companies
use LinkedIn's online tools to improve their hiring practices.)
dad, Gaston Hernandez, 62, of Mansfield, Conn., is a math professor.
"When I look at my desk, it's clear for people that work in the same
field of mathematics. I have a harder time understanding other fields,"
"I want to see Hector's desk."
Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY