Your Reputation = Your Greatest Treasure

by Evelyne Oreskovich, Featured Contributor

BUILDING ON OUR earlier discussion of Generation X – AKA Millennials – let’s talk a bit about teaching them “old fashioned” skills like the importance of reputation.

The fact is that these young employees will be the future of our businesses and are, in some cases, already engaged in a very different world than us.  While they undoubtedly have many of the skills we baby boomers wish we could keep up with – primarily of the technical variety – they don’t all necessarily have those “old fashioned” skills that we grew up on and that will pave the way to success.

Reputation-integrity-ethicsThere is great debate everywhere about whether and how our colleges, universities and trade schools properly prepare the next generation with the skills needed for the modern world.  There is little doubt, however, that they have the technical savvy to cope in a technically advanced world.  Whether that translates to social skills, etiquette and PR storm is less sure.

These kids are used to living their life in public and are not shy about posting any and every event, whether you want to know it or not, on their social media accounts. When everything you do is public and shared on social media, how savvy are these young kids about privacy issues – and I’m talking here about corporate secrets and strategies, guest privacy in hospitality, and the like, not PII privacy.

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.  For example, I keep my 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… 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”.  Sadly, with all the controls (despite the ever changing security options) available to keep certain information private on Facebook, many people still allow public access to their accounts.  Millennials, of all people, should know better.

Often, it seems difficult to understand the correlation between their private lives and their professional reputation or company’s public image.

It DOES matter what they do in their private lives.

The fact is, their personal behavior will reflect on their employer.  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.”

Two things millennials need to understand about reputation:

·       Build your reputation carefully and strategically, nurture it by your actions, behavior and words.

·       Your reputation reflects on the company, and the company’s on yours.

This will pave a path to success.

If you’re an experienced manager, share with us 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?


Evelyne Oreskovich
Evelyne Oreskovich
CONSULTANT for the hospitality and travel industry, Evelyne provides clients with expertise gained over 30 years in key roles at a wide range of entities covering reservations, distribution, marketing support and management in the global hospitality marketplace. Having performed various strategy development and implementation roles at hotel corporate and property levels and with key industry technology suppliers, Evelyne bridges the gaps between Management, Operations, Technology and Marketing, motivating teams as they navigate the ever-evolving distribution landscape. Evelyne understands North American, European and Asian markets and the cultures and trends of regional marketing, reservations, distribution, revenue & channel management.

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  1. Evelyne, generalizations are always hazardous, but I’ll venture one anyway.

    I don’t think it is so much that the young generation doesn’t understand the importance of reputation. They simply don’t care. They often seem to have the attitude that “I am me, and you can take it or leave it”.