2nd Mar 2020
3 Min Read

World Changers - Explore the trend: ‘Disinformation Crisis’

World Changers

This year, we released our first World Changers report, looking at the trends likely to impact on our world of work in the coming year and beyond, and what this means for organisations and their people. Our consultants each championed a topic they feel particularly passionate about and can speak to from their experiences with our clients.

Kicking off our ‘World Changers – Explore the trend’ interviews, I asked senior consultant Lisa Hawksworth about disinformation, finding a way through fake news and why leaders are under the microscope.

Lisa, you chose a pretty meaty topic for World Changers. What is ‘disinformation crisis’ about?

Put simply ‘authenticity’. It really is at the heart of everything a successful organisation should have.

Employees want to feel they are being heard, understood and given as much timely and relevant information as possible, particularly during time of change and uncertainty.

Increasingly, the ‘politician’s answer’ isn’t going to wash with employees. I often say, ‘your people know where the skeletons are buried’ and it’s true. Not only do they know, they aren’t afraid to share them with friends, family and online if they reach a point of total disengagement with their employer.

You purposefully chose the word ‘Crisis’ – is it really that bad?

Absolutely, if leaders don’t pay heed to the risk. We’ve never had so much access to information and with that shift has come increased expectations in our workplaces and on our leaders.

But it’s not just about quantity of communication, it’s the quality. In a world saturated in fake news, today, leaders are under more scrutiny than ever to be visible, and to be talking to the team, rather than being reliant on an internal PR machine to craft and curate the narrative. People are sceptical, business have to be able to hold a mirror up to themselves.

Recent audits we’ve conducted have cemented the correlation between ‘authenticity’ and ‘connection’. The more genuine employees felt communications were, the more connected they felt to the businesses.

What kinds of conversations are you having with clients about disinformation?

A lot of the discussion I have with clients is around how to elevate authenticity. Not only the messages themselves, but the tone, the frequency and the appropriate channels, all with the desire to make the experience better for their people. Authenticity isn’t about being ‘warts and all’ but striking the right balance of personal and work. It’s also the right kind of information, at the right time.

There’s a push to create one source of truth and this inevitably hits challenges around remote workforces, multi-geographic locations and different channels. It’s the same challenges we’ve always had, but with greater understanding about the vast importance of fostering employee advocacy by curating authentic communications right across the company.

Why is this a particularly important issue for leaders to have on their radar?

Changes are only going to keep coming and if you really want to have your people on board with where the organisation is going, as true advocates, your employees must be able to place their trust in their leaders, and the communication from the business.

Discover this and nine other World Changers topics in our 2020 World Changers report.

More articles in the ‘Disinformation Crisis series:

The Blue Tick effect - creating a trusted source

Crisis comms - streamlining sign off

The new town hall - why leader visibility is more important than ever

More on this TopIC

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