How can we protect and nourish a trusting workforce during the disinformation age?

In today’s digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives, transforming the way we communicate, share information, and interact with the world. While it has brought numerous benefits, there’s an alarming downside: the proliferation of fake news. This phenomenon has seeped into every aspect of our society, including the workplace. As we navigate a tumultuous era, are there strategies that can be implemented to nurture trust all whilst searching for answers on pressing questions?

The dawn of social media platforms has given individuals unprecedented access to information and the ability to express their views. However, this freedom has also paved the way for the dissemination of false or misleading information, often disguised as credible news. Fake news spreads like wildfire across social media platforms, leading to misinformation, confusion, and mistrust. The erosion of trust is one of the most significant consequences of fake news as people are becoming increasingly sceptical about the information they encounter online. This scepticism extends to various aspects of life, including the workplace. In a sector where teamwork and collaboration are vital, a lack of trust among employees can hinder productivity and job satisfaction. The constant exposure to misinformation on social media can breed suspicion and affect working relationships. Employers must consider their relationship with employees; if staff members do not trust management, they may become disengaged, leading to high turnover rates and a negative work environment.

To combat the erosion of trust caused by fake news, employers in the hospitality industry must take proactive steps to nurture a trusting workforce. One important strategy is to maintain open and transparent communication channels within the organisation. If you address concerns and doubts promptly and provide accurate information to crush any rumours or misinformation surely employees will feel safe and trust you as an employer? Naturally also, fostering a sense of belonging and engagement among employees can help make them feel valued and included and therefore likely to trust colleagues and employers. The adage of “lead by example” can also come into play when considering strategies to instil trust in your workforce. By demonstrating ethical behaviour and decision-making, will leaders be exhibiting values of honesty and integrity to employees?

But as leaders, is there more we can do to help build trust in the disinformation age?

Our society grapples with a range of crises including climate change, stagnant productivity and profitability and the rising cost of living. As we navigate this tumultuous time, it is imperative that businesses actively seek solutions. Thought leadership serves as a catalyst, uniting communities of interest to address our more pressing challenges. In the year of 2023 and beyond, thought leadership will continue to revolutionise businesses and organisations, influencing how they articulate ideas and formulate strategies. When thought leadership is accurate and reliable, it can reinforce positive perceptions of a company to employees, customers, and clients. Could thought leadership be a strategy implemented that emanates trust throughout the team, whilst also challenging people and advancing traditional schools of thought?

Undeniably, digital disinformation is here to stay. If the lack of trust is a consequence to this propaganda age, then leaders must nurture and harness a trusting culture. Perhaps, thought leadership can solve the problem of trust whilst helping people to think about things in a different way?

Written by Izzy McHattie, EP Business in Hospitality