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Insights on young workers and strategic communication leadership for talent development and retention.

Take a look at the high-level takeaways from my collaborative research projects below. 

Let me know if you'd like to chat about findings or future projects. 

LaGree, D., Houston, B., Duffy, M., & Shin, H. (2021). The Effect of Respect: Respectful Communication at Work Drives Resiliency, Engagement, and Job Satisfaction among Early Career Employees. International Journal of Business Communication,

Respectful workplace communication drives resilience, loyalty, and engagement among young workers

  • The problem: Business leaders face an unprecedented challenge of engaging and retaining young workers, who report feeling isolated and disengaged with their work. 

  • The opportunity: Understand how respectful workplace communication by leaders--recognizing employees for their valuable contributions--might combat this issue

  • The study: A survey of 1,036 young workers (aged 21-34) employed full-time in the U.S. measured workplace respect and a variety of positive job outcomes

  • The insights: 

    • Young workers who experienced respectful communication from their leaders were more engaged with their work, more loyal to their organizations, and had higher job satisfaction​

    • Respectful communication also increased young workers' occupational resilience, meaning that they were more equipped to positively respond to and "bounce back" from workplace challenges/

Early-career women can leverage proactivity behaviors to get ahead in the creative communication field

  • The problem: The first five years of full-time employment is a pivotal phase in one's career journey that influences upper-level advancement. Little is known about how and if early-career women are proactive agents in developing their career trajectory during this phase. 

  • The opportunity: Understand how young women self-managed their careers while adjusting to their organizational roles

  • The study: 31 interviews with early-career women in advertising, public relations and marketing communications explored how young women are proactively managing their careers.

  • The insights: 

    • Intentional relationship development with middle managers and external professional networking can position young women for future success. Middle managers are the gatekeepers to those that have the influence and power to "open doors."

    • Young women should proactively develop their confidence by putting themselves in situations that allow for professional challenge and growth. This offers the courage needed to
      re-negotiate roles, allowing for upward mobility.

    • The early career phase is marked by age insecurities and complex emotions, but female managers hold the power to cultivate a supportive team culture. 


This is a collaborative, ongoing project with Katie Olsen, Ph.D.

LaGree, D., Tefertiller, A., & Olsen, K. (2021). Preparing mass communications students for an evolving industry: The influence of emotional intelligence and extracurricular involvement on career adaptability. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 76(1), 65-77.

Emotional intelligence and career adaptability prepares college students for an evolving industry

  • The problem: Career paths of entry-level professionals in media and communication fields are more complex today than ever before. To make a successful transition into their careers, young workers must possess proactive career management skills. 

  • The opportunity: Develop a better understanding of how college students can be more career adaptable, meaning they have career concern, control, curiosity, and confidence

  • The study: A survey of 320 college students measured emotional intelligence, career adaptability, and extracurricular involvement

  • The insights: 

    • College students with high levels of emotional intelligence are also more career adaptable, meaning that their self-awareness of their own and others' emotions makes them better equipped to adapt and self-manage their career trajectories

    • Emotionally-intelligent students were also more engaged in extracurricular activities, which enhanced their career adaptability. Working with others in collaborative settings provided opportunities to learn more about their work styles and approaches to challenges that gave them the confidence needed to transition into careers.

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