"When I'm in an interview and somebody says 'I'm a people person,' sometimes it makes me cringe a little," says The Reis Group principal Sharon Reis.
"What about talking about being a problem solver, being research-driven? Being somebody who consumes news? What about being a social media expert or someone who loves brands? I think those are the things, the skill sets that people need to be successful in public relations."
While building those skill sets is important for PR pros on their way up, Reis stresses the value of "sharing the same meaning and purpose with your organization and with your work. One of the things that I suggest that people do is to really look for a manager or mentor in your workplace who you can bond with, who you can help, who can help guide your career path."
But she adds that all communicators—from new hires to experienced pros—have something to learn from each other. "What makes a team better is to have a range of perspectives on it."
That exchange of perspectives, she says helps PR pros reach a wide variety of audiences. "I think sharing what you know about communications, what you know about writing, what you know about consumer behavior, whether it's through school, or experience, or your opinions from who you follow on social" is "really important to bring to the table."
One of the secrets to finding the right employees, Reis says, lies in finding the "personal connection" bewteen team members. "We're going back to sharing our values, sharing our passions, and that's what brings us together. And I know that's how we built our team."
Just as her company works "in the area of whole person health," Reis says that she takes a holistic view of her team members and their success. "We've merged whole person health with some research from Harvard Business Review, and we've come up with the wheel of whole person success at work."
She also she says that focusing on people's strengths is essenital. "We are big believers in strength finders with my team. Finding what people do well and lifting them up, not focusing on weaknesses or where people can do better. I'm not saying we don't all try to improve—we do—but it's the idea of building each other up, recognizing and valuing what people bring to the table."
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]