What Makes (and Breaks) Professional Reputations

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 01-11-2016 Email

Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers differ greatly about what helps and hurts one's reputation at work, according to a recent, generational-focused survey from Weber Shandwick and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR). Findings reveal that Millennials think more about their company reputation than their older counterparts. Yet, while they rank "doing a good job" as the most significant of influencers here, their Gen X and Boomer counterparts are even more likely to link job performance to a good reputation. At the same time, Millennials place more of a priority than older colleagues on gestures such as volunteering for assignments, staying late and bringing in food for the gang to share. They're also less inclined to view tardiness and gossip participation as "reputation killers." Another key finding: Younger professionals are more likely to feel that their social media reputation is just as important as their company one. "In today's digital world, it's nearly impossible to keep your work and personal lives completely separate," said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at Weber Shandwick. "Millennials give greater weight than other generations to their digital and in-person reputations, which shows the influence of having grown up digital." We've broken down many of the findings into what makes for a "good rep," and a bad one. (For the purposes of our slide show, "Boomers" represent "Boomers and beyond," or employees who are 51 and older.) A total of 600 U.S. workers took part in the study, which was conducted by KRC Research.

Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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