Millennials@Work: Perspectives on Reputation

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Millennials_At_Work_FINALResearch released from leading global communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) found distinct differences in what Millennials think makes or breaks their reputations at work compared to older generations, especially when it comes to networking and socializing on the job. The survey reveals Millennials’ hyper-focus on their reputations at work – 47 percent of Millennials report that they think about it all or most of the time compared to 37 percent of Gen Xers and 26 percent of Baby Boomers. Surprisingly, although Millennials have grown up in this digital revolution, they place even greater value on their in-person interactions at work and after hours than their older, less digitally-bred colleagues.

What Builds a Positive Reputation at Work?

While job performance and punctuality top the list of reputation builders at work for all the generations surveyed, networking and socializing during off hours are more important to Millennials than any other generation. Thirty-four percent of Millennials see meeting with colleagues outside the office as a positive driver of their work reputation, compared to 14 percent of Gen Xers and 15 percent of Boomers.

Millennials also place a higher value on building and maintaining a positive digital presence as a reputation booster at work compared to the other generations. Seven in 10 U.S. adult workers who report to be social media users say that their work reputation is more important than their social media reputation. However, one in five Millennials (21 percent) – more than any other generation – believe both their work and social media reputations are equally important.

What Can Hurt Your Reputation at Work?

When it comes to behavior that can harm one’s reputation at work, Millennials are less aware than their older cohorts how hearsay and feeding the grapevine can damage their reputations. Millennials are less likely to see the danger in saying negative things about coworkers than GenXers and Boomers (64 percent vs. 74% vs. 79%, respectively) and engaging in gossip about colleagues (64 percent vs. 72 percent vs. 74 percent, respectively). Millennials are also more likely to believe that not socializing with colleagues outside of work can hurt their reputations (20 percent compared to 7 percent for Boomers).

More than one in three employed Americans today is a Millennial, an astounding 53.5 million people. During the first quarter of 2015, this generation surpassed Generation X as the largest share of the American workforce, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Weber Shandwick and IPR partnered with KRC Research to conduct Millennials@Work: Perspectives on Reputation to find out what the three generations currently in the workforce – Millennials (ages 18 to 34), Gen Xers (35-50) and Boomers and beyond (51+) – think about their reputations at work. Six hundred employed U.S. adults were interviewed through an online survey for the study.

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Posted in Employee / Organizational Communication, IPR Signature Studies, New Technology / Social Media, PR and Management, Relationships, Reputation and Trust.

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