How we interact with each other — online and offline, at work and at play, with friends and with strangers — is evolving. Perhaps it’s a shift in expectations around acceptable behavior, or the opportunity to hide behind a curtain of anonymity online, but civility nationwide is eroding.
It’s a topic we’ve explored both in our State of Seattle Survey and one we’ve researched more broadly as a company in our just-released annual Civility in America study, a survey that identifies how civility is affecting Americans’ views of and participation in social media, company engagement, the workplace, schools and everyday life.
This year’s installment of Civility in America, conducted in partnership with Powell Tate and KRC Research, looks at civility through a generational lens. Although Americans are unanimous about the bleak state of civility nationwide, there is hope: not only does the Millennial generation seems less convinced of a more uncivil future, but when faced with incivility, they are also the most likely to take action against it, be it quitting a job or defending a victim.
These findings should raise a red flag for brands that seek to engage this increasingly influential — and financially significant — segment of the market. Millennials are fully aware that they have the power of choice, and many of them are prepared to exercise that power when they experience uncivil behavior.
So what’s the right approach to surviving in a landscape of increasing incivility? Focusing on authenticity, transparency and being quick to right a wrong are key tenants to successful engagement – ones we work toward for both ourselves and our clients every day. The more brands can humanize their interactions, and treat their customers like people, the more likely we are to end the breakdown of civility.
A full breakdown of the Civility in America study is available here, and we’ve included an infographic with the top takeaways below. We invite you to explore the results and let us know what you think – civilly, of course.