Your Reputation is Your Greatest Treasure
Updated: Oct 18, 2019
We’ve all been there. Trying to impart on Millennials the benefits of “old fashioned” skills like ethics, professionalism, loyalty and the importance of reputation.
The fact is that these young employees will be the future of our businesses and are navigating a different world than we have. While they undoubtedly have many of the skills we wish we could keep up with – primarily of the technical variety – they still need those “old fashioned” skills that us baby boomers grew up on in order to be really successful.
While there is great debate about whether and how our colleges, universities and trade schools properly prepare these kids with the skills needed for the modern world, there is no doubt that they have the technical savvy to cope in an ever-changing, technically advanced world. However, whether that translates to weathering a social, etiquette and PR storm is less sure.
I work with 20-somethings a bit and always try to impart on them the importance of their public behavior and keeping public and private separate. At HeR, we keep our LinkedIn and Facebook personae separate and only occasionally cross pollinate posts or friends between them. My Facebook friends are really friends, not acquaintances, not business associates, not someone I met at a party last month … What I share on Facebook is intended for my friends and family only.
Of course there are some exceptions where business contacts are truly friends, but, as a general rule, they are separate.
We see stories all the time about the increasing use by HR executives of Facebook when vetting candidates. Keep your public life discreet… don’t post your weekend antics online and expect them to remain “just between friends”. You would think that with all the security options available to keep profiles private on Facebook, more people would limit public access to their accounts. Sadly, Millennials often don’t.
It DOES matter what they do in their private lives.
Many clients judge a company based on their employees’ behavior. It may not be fair, but it is reality. Unfortunately some will be convinced of this truth only after it is too late. It is our job, as we develop this next generation of professionals, to make sure they understand it.
Wherever you go in life and career, you will learn new skills, have new experiences, change your way of thinking and doing things. But your reputation stays with you throughout.
Socrates once said:
Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of — for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again.
Things to teach your millennials to understand the importance of reputation:
They should build their reputation carefully and strategically, nurture it by their actions and words.
Their reputation reflects on the company, and the company’s on theirs.
This will pave a path to success.
If you’re an experienced manager, share how you build and nurture your reputation and how you help your millennials to develop theirs?
If you’re a millennial, tell us what you think about this idea? Are we crazy to put so much stock in our reputations? What are the best things you have learned that have changed your way of thinking about reputation building and the affect it has had, or will have on your future?