As Millennials leave school and enter the world of work, rather than cut the cord, Mom and Dad are buying an extension. “We recently had the father of a candidate call one of our sales reps to talk about his son’s job offer so he could make a decision on whether or not his son should come work for us,” says Carmen Baas, who’s been a recruiter for freight and logistics company C. H. Robinson Worldwide. “I’ve also had parents attend career fairs in lieu of their children who had prior engagements.”
Eden Prairie–based C. H. Robinson is not alone. In our M-Factor survey, nearly 40 percent of all respondents, regardless of generation, said they have witnessed a parent getting involved in an employee’s career in a way that seemed out of line.
If you haven’t had a workplace encounter with a Millennial’s parents yet, it’s probably only a matter of time until you do. In a 2007 Michigan State University survey of employers, 26 percent said parents had actively promoted their son or daughter for a position, 31 percent said parents had submitted a rÃ©sumÃ© on behalf of a child, and 41 percent said parents had requested company information on a child’s behalf.
But rather than resist the wave, C. H. Robinson decided to ride it. To cater to some parents’ need for involvement and make sure these influential figures get a positive picture of the company, Baas’s group at the company’s Chicago facilities created marketing packets to be mailed to parents simultaneously with their child’s job-offer letter for positions at the Chicago location. The packets include information about the candidate’s benefits package, so parents can review it for their child. In return for the additional effort, C. H. Robinson is gaining another generation of allies in the competition for talent.
Millennials and their parents will need to figure out how to set their own personal boundaries. Meanwhile, companies that really want to connect with Millennials should keep the folks in mind. After all, there could be advantages in recruiting both job candidates and supporters who are highly motivated to make sure that your new hires succeed.