One of the greatest joys I've experienced anew lately is working with younger staff. The energy it provides has just about halved my caffeine intake, and the satisfaction I get from watching people grow into their professional selves just can't be measured. On the flipside, I'm continually impressed by what I learn from this group, and sometimes awed by it.
To be frank, it's a feeling that kind of took me by surprise. The rebalancing of power from nearly the exclusive province of agency veterans to a much broader age cohort, wrought by the digital revolution, is well documented. I had a handle on that, and with it, on the benefits of associating with talented younger staff.
What I've come to realize is how much value lay beyond association for its own sake. For one, I've discovered a willing audience of people ready, willing, and able to learn – ravenous about learning. After talking it over with like-aged and –minded colleagues and industry friends, I've come to realize that this mindset is generational.
What's became clear is that the digital revolution did something more than put information, entertainment, and the ability to reach huge audiences at our fingertips, instantly. It instilled a can-do, anything-is-possible attitude in young professionals (and college interns, for that matter) – among oft-labeled digital natives -- that I hadn't seen. Somewhat paradoxically, and quite wonderfully, along with that glass-half-full mindset is both an expectation and a willingness to be held to account, now that so much can be measured.
One of the joys of my role is leading our agency's creative development for new business, and that's another area where I'm seeing younger staffers shine and make real contributions. Here, too, I see deep down thirst for learning, and also the resilience to accept well-reasoned, and candid, feedback in real time.
If you haven't had the chance to work with younger staff in a while, I'd recommend finding an opportunity to do so soon. You're in for a treat.
Rob Bratskeir is GM of 360 Public Relations' New York office and EVP.