Melissa Janoske McLean, Ph.D., The University of Memphis; Stephanie Madden, Ph.D., The University of Memphis; and Geah Pressgrove, Ph.D., West Virginia University
This summary is provided by the IPR Digital Media Research Center.

Dr. Melissa Janoske McLean and colleagues explored how communicators strategize and plan for digital social advocacy and foster long-term relationships with their publics. 

Researchers conducted and analyzed 25 semi-structured interviews with directors of communication, communication specialists, and executive directors at nonprofits categorized as “advocacy and alliance."

Key findings include:
  • Few communicators focused on how to make the information they posted on social media useful beyond the present, even though they knew content would exist for as long as social media does.
  • Digital advocacy communicators placed high importance on being responsive to comments, questions, and requests made on social media.
  • Social media users drove the conversation with organizations on social media.
  • Even if digital advocacy communicators create content that publics want, social media algorithms may prevent that content from being seen.
  • Communicators should focus on creating deep connections with audiences in new, innovative ways and engage with them in real-time to make an impact.

Marlene S. Neill, Ph.D., APR, Baylor University & Shannon Bowen, Ph.D., University of South Carolina
This blog is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Center.

Listening to employees is critical for a myriad of reasons including employee retention, motivation, inclusion, and commitment. A new study examined the state of listening in U.S. organizations and found several areas in need of improvement. Findings show that female and non-management employees did not perceive that they were being listened to by management in their organizations. In addition, employees identified barriers to listening in their organizations, such as a lack of training in analyzing insights from employee listening.

An online survey of 300 U.S. employees was conducted in July 2020, in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results showed that both managers and non-management employees perceived that their leaders were not genuine in their interest in listening to employees and that “the organization only listens to what it wants to hear.” Managers should take action based on employee feedback to show that they are listening. Even if it is only an acknowledgment, employees want to know that their input matters – otherwise, they may decline to offer such input in the future. 

Leathwaite examined the impacts of ongoing uncertainty and intensity of the pandemic on employee wellbeing.

Leathwaite partner Austen Advisory conducted employee burnout research in January-November 2021 using the Aura Burnout-Resilience Continuum (seen below).

Key findings include:
  • 53% of employees reported not feeling comfortable talking about issues and asking for help.
  • 58% of employees check messages at all times of day and reported feeling a constant sense of urgency.
  • Despite a large proportion of employees reporting that people in leadership have articulated that it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them, 56% of employees still felt corporate pressure to be perfect. 
  • Many employees across the Asia-Pacific region feel depleted and demoralized, lacking passion and drive, which places organizational resilience at risk.
  • The report details a Burnout-Resilience Continuum, ranging from "fully resilient" to "crisis."
  • The curved line represents the benchmark – the average Asia-Pacific employee is in the "denying" category.
The Harris Poll explored Americans' perspectives on the metaverse. The “metaverse” refers to virtual 3D worlds and networks that foster social connections and interactions for work and entertainment.

A survey of 2,042 U.S. adults was conducted in December 2021.

Key findings include:
  • Most Americans (58%) do not understand what a metaverse is.
  • 64% of Americans under 40 years old understand the idea of a metaverse compared to 27% of people over 40 years old.
  • 70% of Gen Z and Millennials are interested in interacting within the metaverse compared to 32% of those over 40 years old.
  • 38% of Generation Z think the metaverse is the “next big thing and will become part of everyday life” compared to 48% of Millennials. 
  • Respondents are interested in using the metaverse to:
  • Play virtual games (85%)
  • Experience social interaction and virtual meetups (83%)
  • Visit virtual stores and brand experiences (81%)

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