I can’t bear the term ’snowflakes’ aimed at young people. My experience of young people (and I have a lot of interactions through my daughter, her friends, the County Junior badminton team I manage, my sports clubs and other volunteering projects), is that young people are open and receptive to new ideas, experiences and opportunities. I find that if you listen to what young people say, they have an awful lot to offer and as an example, I am currently doing my best to learn more about social media from my daughter who is impressively knowledgeable and helpful in her advice.
But it’s not just teenagers, our team at Groop is hugely varied in our ages, backgrounds, experience and knowledge – and we learn from each other. We learn about social value, design, writing, organising, media, technology, people, sales, finance and governance – and even though we are physically separated, we try to spread that learning amongst each other at every opportunity.
And then there are the social skills we learn; to laugh and to deal with problems, to care and to face conflict – young people have really missed out on those skills this last year and I really hope it won’t be long before they can be back in physical environments to continue to learn these crucial skills from each other and from their current or future colleagues. The work place is there to solve problems, provide a service or be creative for example, but it is also there to form a bond and build personal skills as well as work place skills.
So at work tomorrow, think about what your colleagues are learning from you – not just the work skills, but the softer personality skills that you portray and utilise every single day. Think about what your younger colleagues are picking up, what their future work careers will look like and the impact that you, now, are having on them and their colleagues, long into the future and long after you have retired and passed on the baton.