By Ally Viano
On Oct. 19, Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, and fellow PRSA enlightened many students on the importance and significance of keeping the communications industry as current and “ahead of the game” as possible.
McCorkindale is the President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR.) She describes the IPR as “a nonprofit research foundation devoted to the science beneath the art of public relations.”
During her session, McCorkindale explained that the IPR conducts research that matters to the profession, with the end goal of progressing the industry forward. She works with a board of approximately 75 CEOs and CCOs as well as agency professionals. McCorkindale advises these professionals in a way that guides them toward a more progressive foundation for their organization.
“The pace of change is more significant than the change itself,” McCorkindale said.
Emphasizing that the industry needs to constantly seek out the most current and up-to-date information in order to best serve its publics. She mentioned that while the industry is ever-evolving, strategic skills such as critical thinking and problem solving should always remain constant.
McCorkindale believes that the communications will continue to grow and fluctuate as the contractor industry continues to change as well. She emphasized that employees of companies such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are increasing in numbers. She also noted that the stigma against these workers is growing too. Because this industry is largely consumed by millenials, the generational divide between employees is greater than ever.
The contractor industry is continuing to flourish as more and more generation z and millenials enter the workforce. This group of individuals value this type of work more so than generation x and baby boomers due to its flexibility. McCorkindale’s research with the IPR shows that young professionals value flexibility at a job more than any other generation.
While McCorkindale offered insight into the challenges of the generational divide in today’s professional community, she also expanded on many opportunities that it provides. She stated that millennials became the largest population in the workforce in 2016, and with that, came the significance of neurodiversity. Neurodiversity encompasses neurological conditions that people may have that change the way people interact in the workplace. McCorkindale’s current research is focused on designing workplaces that accommodate neurodiversity.
In conducting this research, McCorkindale has discovered many things that hold true, regardless of generational gaps, neurodiversity divides:
McCorkindale noted that in order to succeed at these keys, an organization’s internal community must reflect it’s external audience. She also emphasized the importance of mentorship, and the need to invest in the people of the future, today.
To close, McCorkindale left with the idea that public relations is the connector of all things internal and external, and our goal as PR specialists should always be to strategically communicate.