Your PR team needs to get confident about ethics, particularly the younger members who haven’t yet witnessed ethical crises in their career.
This finding may not be surprising on the face of it. A recent study of Millennial-age public relations practitioners found them to be earnest, eager, and…naive.
The study, funded by the Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State and sponsored by the PRSA Board of Ethics & Professional Standards was administered during September of 2016 to newer members of the Public Relations Society of America.
The majority of respondents said they felt ill-prepared to advise their clients or employers about ethical issues related to their work, and in fact did not even expect to face ethical dilemmas during their careers.
Yes, this is a facepalm cue for us
older more experienced members of the communications world but should we be surprised? These talented, young pros learned the craft from us.
It’s a lack of ethics education, not desire or skill
Unsurprisingly, those who had mentors and had completed adequate ethics training felt more prepared and were more likely to speak up when faced with an ethical dilemma.
Four factors were found to significantly impact Millennials’ confidence in discussing ethical concerns with supervisors and clients.:
- College ethics courses
- Employee training
- Professional association training
While the majority of millennials in this study had completed an ethics course in college, most were not receiving ethics training at work or through an association. This critical lack is not just debilitating to these young professionals but also hampers their ability to contribute fully to their firm’s mission.