By now, many know the standard tact taken in management articles, blog posts, and water cooler chats when discussing how to best manage and lead those who were born between 1980 and 2000: embrace their youth and enthusiasm, but keep a close watch on their predilection toward bringing their personal interests into the workplace.
The issue with this sentiment is that it's only helpful if you're aiming to approach every new under 30-years-old hire as something of a curiosity.
A far better method would be to acknowledge that millennials represent the next wave of upper-level management within the profession.
The blending we are now seeing within PR – and will continue to see for years to come – of three (or, in some cases, even four) generations of professionals is remarkable and offers learning and growth opportunities that can only serve to enhance the profession and its value to businesses.
The ascension of early-stage millennials (those approaching 30 years old and who have been in the profession for several years) to upper-level management is giving rise to a new wave of industry thought leaders. This is enabling PR to reach and influence new audiences within emerging and profitable markets.
Millennials' long-term exposure to the Internet as a source of information has given them a better filter for authenticity and verifying sources than older generations raised in the traditional Walter Cronkite news era. This adds value to the discussion and level of service to clients in managing consumer expectations and reaching them through the vast noise we are all faced with when gathering information.
When blended with the expertise, experience, and charisma of older generations of executives, millennial leaders enable the PR profession to provide far greater value and strategic counsel to both existing and emerging markets.
The millennials entering management-level positions now and in the years to come are helping to shape the next generation of client service, thought leadership, and counsel integral to building and enhancing the profession for the future.
Gary McCormick is chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America.
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