How Millennials View Reputation

This week’s blog post was guest-written by Nicole Silverberg, executive assistant in Chaloner’s NY office.


Here on The Interview Room, we’ve investigated what it means to be a Millennial in today’s workforce. After all, there are more than 53 million employed Millennials: over one third of employed Americans overall. We know that Millennials are invested in a company’s mission and culture, but according to new research released by Weber Shandwick and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), Millennials care about reputation as well, and while they’re digitally minded, they care about in-person interactions more than any other generation.

Reputation Goes Online
Research revealed that one in five Millennials believe that work and social media reputation are equally important. Given the digital climate that Millennials have grown up in, this isn’t shocking. As a Millennial, the appropriateness of my online presence has been stressed to me; everyone has heard the story of the revoked college acceptance or job offer due to online irresponsibility. Is it a problem to be focused on social media presence? Not necessarily. It depends on how it relates to other values. “Overall, our research demonstrates how level-headed Millennials are about building their reputations at work based on good job performance, being on time and being polite and courteous,” said Sarab Kochhar, Ph.D., Director of Research at Institute for Public Relations.

Millennials Emphasize In-Person Interactions
Survey results reveal that Millennials believe that in-person social presence is a big contributor to building a positive reputation at work. 34% of Millennials believe that “meeting with other staff members outside of work for happy hour, lunch, etc” is important (compared to only 15% of Boomers and 14% of GenX), and 30% of Millennials put emphasis on “bringing food, drinks, etc. to share with coworkers” (compared to 19% of GenX and 13% of Boomers.) “Hanging out with colleagues after work might have been a nice way to kick back for a Gen Xer, but for Millennials it’s a critical component of building their ‘rep’ or ‘brand’ at work and they take it seriously,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, Chief Reputation Strategist at Weber Shandwick. “Our research shows that more than any other generation, Millennials believe that in addition to doing a good job, it’s important to connect with colleagues to build their careers and create lasting impressions.”

If there is a downside, it’s that Millennials seem less aware than other generations of the dangers of gossiping. Yet overall, Millennials are considerate with their reputations. “In today’s digital world, it’s nearly impossible to keep your work and personal lives completely separate. Millennials give greater weight than other generations to their digital and in-person reputations, which shows the influence of having grown up digital,” Gaines-Ross said. This may mean that hiring a Millennial means you have a reputation-conscious employee who will take care with their online reputation as much as their in-person reputation.