Professional networking site LinkedIn hosted its employees’ parents at its Sydney office yesterday.
Working in social media and digital, plenty of the company’s employees struggle to explain what they do to mum and dad.
It’s a problem the company hopes to fix. LinkedIn thinks the older generation has plenty of advice and business wisdom to share, if only they understood what their kids did during the day.
The company said it has found many Aussie parents are not providing professional advice to their kids and not sharing that wisdom could be holding staff back.
Yesterday a big contingent of eager parents packed out LinkedIn’s breakout area, visibly excited to be a part of the orientation day, with one dad saying he looked forward to understanding why his son regularly came home late. Others asked a bunch of questions.
And of course, there were some of the cringe-inducing moments you can expect when parents and their adult children are in the same room meeting strangers.
One mother revealed where an employee was conceived.
Other mums and dads were asking senior LinkedIn execs some very specific questions about using the social network such as: “Someone I don’t know asked me to connect with him on LinkedIn. What do I do?”
What the event did highlight – inevitable parental moments aside – was how generations can learn from each other, especially when a company is full of young people who are in a business that has completely transformed the global job market.
The company flew in the parents of one staff member, Anne Nicole, who is a sales solutions relationship manager for LinkedIn. Her parents, Denis and Mary, had come from Michigan for the event.
Mr Nicole spent 30 years at Ford, heading up HR, and also did a stint at Swedish mining manufacturer Sandvik. His career took the family all over the world, moving almost every three years for nearly two decades and living in countries like Japan, China and the US.
Mrs Nicole is a real estate agent in Michigan, managing two offices. Preparing for the parents at work day she admitted she had been watching a number of Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner’s videos.
Here’s some of the wisdom Mr and Mrs Nicole were handing out while they were at Linkedin.
- Keep your integrity: “Always be honest, especially in sales be honest with who you’re selling to,” Mrs Nicole told her daughter.
- Be clear on what you want to do: “If you want to become the CEO it’s one path, if you want to be the best relationship manager it’s another,” Mr Nicole said.
- Speak up: “If you truly feel that you should be in a different scenario, a different situation, whether it’s career driven, money driven, location driven – whatever it might be – speak up because otherwise you can’t solve the issue,” Mr Nicole said.
- Be valuable: “Especially with women, it’s not really about the money but we have to show value and if I show value to my company… then the money will come,” Mrs Nicole said.
- Take advantage of managers being approachable: “What’s nice about these new companies and what’s nice about this generation is people are more approachable. Our bosses were all in the glass house somewhere and I didn’t get to see them,” Mrs Nicole said.
- You need to have passion: “You need to have that in the back of your mind,” Mrs Nicole said.
Bring Your Parents to Work Day is also being held at LinkedIn’s offices in the UK, US, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Brazil, India and Hong Kong.