What Makes (and Breaks) Professional Reputations

 
 
By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 01-11-2016 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    What Makes (and Breaks) Professional Reputations
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    What Makes (and Breaks) Professional Reputations

    It's nearly impossible to keep work and personal lives completely separate in today’s hyper-connected world, but it’s smart to avoid certain “reputation killers.”
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    Making an Impression
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    Making an Impression

    47% of surveyed Millennials think about their at-work reputation "all" or "most" of the time, compared to 37% of Gen Xers and 26% of Baby Boomers who do.
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    Good Rep: Work at Hand
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    Good Rep: Work at Hand

    93% of Boomers believe that doing a good job helps build a positive reputation at work, compared to 89% of Gen Xers and 81% of Millennials who feel this way.
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    Good Rep: Polite Company
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    Good Rep: Polite Company

    72% of Boomers say being courteous contributes to a good reputation, as opposed to 67% of Gen Xers and 64% of Millennials who agree.
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    Good Rep: Extra Effort
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    Good Rep: Extra Effort

    48% of Millennials believe that volunteering for assignments/additional work helps build a positive reputation, versus 44% of Boomers and 43% of Gen Xers who say the same.
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    Good Rep: Midnight Oil
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    Good Rep: Midnight Oil

    38% of Millennials say staying late to complete work can enhance your reputation, while 34% of Boomers and 33% of Gen Xers agree.
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    Good Rep: Smart Snacks
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    Good Rep: Smart Snacks

    30% of Millennials believe that bringing food, drinks and snacks to share with co-workers helps build a positive reputation, but just 19% of Gen Xers and 13% of Boomers feel this way.
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    Bad Rep: Timely Issue
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    Bad Rep: Timely Issue

    81% of Boomers say being late to work and meetings can damage your reputation, compared to 78% of Gen Xers and 73% of Millennials who say this.
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    Bad Rep: Word of Mouth, Part I
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    Bad Rep: Word of Mouth, Part I

    79% of Boomers feel that saying negative things about co-workers can lead to a bad reputation, while 74% of Gen Xers and 68% of Millennials agree.
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    Bad Rep: Word of Mouth, Part II
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    Bad Rep: Word of Mouth, Part II

    74% of Boomers believe that taking part in gossip about colleagues can hurt your reputation, and 72% of Gen Xers and 64% of Millennials feel the same way.
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    Bad Rep: Solo Effort
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    Bad Rep: Solo Effort

    70% of Millennials and Gen Xers say not being helpful/collaborative with co-workers can lead to a negative reputation, while 66% of Boomers agree.
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    Bad Rep: Heated Rivalry
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    Bad Rep: Heated Rivalry

    37% of Millennials say being too competitive can damage your reputation, but just 29% of Gen Xers and 28% of Boomers feel this way.
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    Equal Footing
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    Equal Footing

    21% of Millennials say their social media reputation is just as important to them as their at-work reputation, compared to 14% of Gen Xers and 13% of Boomers who agree.
 

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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