How does Take Your Child to Work Day shake down at your office? Ten minutes of watching you work, followed by the realization that your job is incredibly boring, then followed by 7.5 hours of playing Minecraft? (Him, not you. Well, maybe you, too.) Why not take the opportunity to make this not only a productive day, but one that engages and motivates you, the organization, and the kids? Craft yourself a cubicle, and let’s get to work.
Setting Kids and Parents up for Success
Like any program you implement at the office, you have to create very clear objectives. What are you trying to accomplish with Take Your Child to Work Day? Why are you doing it? (Hint: the wrong answer is, “Because other companies do it.”)
Let’s say Joe brings his daughter to work. One objective might be that he becomes more engaged in his work. He has an opportunity to educate his child about what he does in a way that can’t be communicated over the dinner table. The outcome is that she has a better understanding of what her father does every day and how he makes a contribution.
Creating Brand Ambassadors
Another objective could be to foster brand ambassadors. What company doesn’t want that? Let’s say you’re a pharmaceutical company—with lots of bad “big pharma” press. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone in an influential age bracket walk away as a supporter, as someone who tells others, “These companies do a lot of research to develop these medicines and save lives.”
While it’s a stretch to say you can create potential new employees—but who knows?—you can certainly create brand ambassadors who constantly share things via social media.
The question for employers is, “What are we doing so we don’t leave parents on their own to create an experience that is fruitful for their children?” Whatever your specific objectives, you need to put careful thought into how you will achieve them and make this day a success. A few avenues to consider:
- Put the kids to work. What can they do to help out? This could be a great time to have them help with philanthropic efforts. On that day, parent and child could work on stuffing envelopes or creating food bags for homeless shelters. Engage them in an activity that occupies a few hours and furthers your community initiatives. Remember, Millennials coming to work with their parents are incredibly socially aware. They want to help, and they support companies that do, too.
- Go one step further. Maybe the parent-child duo fills bags in the morning. Why not give them the afternoon to deliver them or to spend a few hours handing them out? Whatever your specific philanthropic efforts, you can include the kids, motivate employees, engage the community, and renew your social license to operate. Win-win-win-win.
- Be prepared. Every company should be prepared for visitors, whether it is a reporter, an interviewee, or a 12-year-old child. Prepare orientation material that introduces guests to your organization. For kids, it could be a video or a tour. Give them something tangible to look at so they have a great feel for the place—and a great feeling about the place.
- Ask schools to provide clear objectives for the day. This would be terrific. If the school mandates that its students participate in this day, ask teachers what they hope to accomplish. What are their objectives? These could be sent in advance with the parent so you can plan how to create a successful day that hits everyone’s targets.
You want all the kids who participate in Take Your Child to Work Day to go home thinking, “My mom/dad has the coolest job! It’s a great place to work, and he/she does a lot.” Instead of, “My butt’s numb because I sat on it all day but at least the creepers didn’t get me.” The difference is in the planning and in the objectives you identify.