The Career Path of a Social Media Professional
Marcia DiStaso, Ph.D., APR, Chair, Public Relations Department, University of Florida; Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, President and CEO, Institute for Public Relations
The Institute for Public Relations Digital Media Research Center, Ragan Communications, and the University of Florida PR Department have launched a new report "The Career Path of a Social Media Professional."

Approximately half of social media managers say they work more than their colleagues and plan to leave their current role within two years, according to a new study of social media managers. The Institute for Public Relations, Ragan Communications, and the University of Florida partnered on a survey of more than 450 social media professionals about their career path, including the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The report focuses on the structure and budget of the social media function within organizations; the background, experience, and career path of the social media manager; and the job roles, work-life fit, and performance of the social media manager.

Read the full report to read the key findings and learn about the career path of a social media professional.
Why Researching the Dialogue Divide is Important
Bob Feldman, Founder, The Dialogue Project; Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., President and CEO, Institute for Public Relations
This excerpt is taken from The Dialogue Divide Research Report

When we started working on the The Dialogue Project, we wanted to know whether the dialogue divide, or the inability for people to have civil conversations with others who disagree with them, was a global phenomenon. With the help of Morning Consult, we conducted a global survey of 5,000 adults in five countries: Brazil, Germany, India, the U.K., and the U.S. This research report dives into the results of the survey. We investigate the severity of the problem, the conversation topics that are most difficult for people to address, how comfortable people are in having those conversations, the sources responsible for the difficulty in finding common ground, and how well people believe they are actually doing to bridge the gap.

We found that respondents in most countries did identify the dialogue divide as a “major” problem.

Lessons Earned: How a PR Pro Got Out of a Well-Paid Rut
Matt Bianco, IPR Trustee, Head of Corporate Public Affairs, Novelis
In partnership with PR News, “Lessons Earned” is a series featuring IPR Trustees sharing a difficult lesson.

There was nothing unusual about that Manhattan summer day — the subway was sweltering, I got body-checked on the 7-train, and I sat at my desk overlooking 42nd St in front of two scrambled eggs and a side of bacon. Business as usual.

That was the problem after eight years in communications at a blue-chip company, my career felt ordinary. This is not to say I wasn’t doing important work or that the company had failed me. I was in a rut.

Read the rest of Matt Bianco's blog to see how he got out of his career rut and made a decision that he considers his "best professional move."
Communication Research in Action: Walking the Talk
Mark Weiner, IPR Trustee, Chief Insights Officer, Cision
This essay first appeared in PRNEWS. Mark Weiner is a member of the IPR Measurement Commission.

Since the Business Roundtable released its Statement on the Purpose of Corporation in August 2019, a series of events have tested the resolve of CEOs and the companies they lead with a number of highly sensitive ethical topics which forced them to ask, “what’s appropriate to say and when is it appropriate to say it?” In this essay, we explore the PR implications of corporate actions taken in response to George Floyd’s killing and the protests that followed.

Some organizations chose to “play it safe” by staying silent. However, stakeholders now expect corporations to play an active role in making the world a better place and “saying nothing” speaks loudly in times like these. To mitigate the risk associated with meeting the challenges of addressing sensitive topics like racism, sexism and other injustices, some intrepid companies use research to ask questions, test hypotheses, assess their position and, to the extent possible, manage the difficult conversations into which they’re entering.

To assess the public reaction, Cision Insights communications research consultant Kyle Heatherly conducted a content analysis of the 55 named organizations and compared the media's treatment during the month before and the week following the May 26th event to assess the impact of their statements.

Read the rest of Mark Weiner's blog to learn how organizations can use research to develop optimal messaging.
Four Digital Strategies for "Always-On" Employee Communications
Gary Grates, IPR Trustee, Principal, W2O Group
This pandemic has upended virtually every part of our work and personal lives. We immediately had to adjust and adapt to new and different ways to interact, connect, share, and collaborate to maintain and create relationships. Through all of this upheaval and change, we discovered a number of truths regarding our resilience and perseverance, including:

  • Technology is a Bridge – Moving voices, ideas, engagements, from one place to another
  • Silos are no Longer a Barrier – We’ve discovered working virtually has almost eliminated company silos
  • Empathy Transcends Medium – We are very aware of the tone, cadence, and frequency of our interactions to respect emotions
  • Information is Ubiquitous – There are virtually no time barriers or restrictions as the world works as one, and the thirst for information is never satisfied
  • It’s Personal – Communications have moved from segments and audiences to personal engagement

Read the rest of Gary Grates' blog to learn about "always-on" employee communications in a time of change.
The State of Black Women in Corporate America
Lean In
Lean In examined the barriers holding Black women back at work.

Data for this report were drawn from the McKinsey & Company and Lean In Women in the Workplace Report, which was based on research from 317 companies across the United States and Canada. Data collection occurred between May and August 2020.

Key findings include:

  • 29% of Black women reported that their manager "advocates for new opportunities for me" compared to 37% of white women, 35% of Latinas, and 35% of Asian women.
  • 41% of Black women said they have had their judgment questioned in their area of expertise, compared to 39% of white women, 31% of Latinas, and 30% of Asian women.
  • 26% of Black women believe that they have "strong allies" in their workplace.
  • Black women are 50% more likely than men to say they are motivated by a desire to be role models for others like them.

Read more to discover the barriers holding Black women back at work.
Employee Communicative Behaviors in a Crisis: The Role of Relationship and Symmetrical Communication
Yeunjae Lee, Ph.D., University of Miami
This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center

Dr. Yeunjae Lee studied two types of employee communicative behaviors -- information seeking (employees' willingness to acquire crisis-related information for their organization) and voicing (employees' willingness to express ideas, concerns, opinions, or suggestions about organizational crises.) Dr. Lee also examined the relationship between communicative behaviors and employees' cognitive perceptions of a crisis, which include: recognition of a problem, connection to a perceived problem, and perceived obstacles to solving the problem.

An online survey of 449 full-time employees in the U.S. was conducted.

Key findings include:

  • Employees who perceived favorable relationship with organizations were more likely to seek out and forward relevant information, provide constructive feedback and suggestions to help solve internal crises.
  • A positive relationship with the organization encouraged employees to be more cognitively aware of the crisis (i.e. recognizing the organizational crisis as a serious issue, believing the crisis was personally relevant to them, and having more confidence in making a difference in solving the crisis.)
  • When employees had high cognitive perceptions of the crisis, they were more likely to seek out relevant information and share it with their organizations.

Read more to learn about employee communicative behaviors in a crisis.
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