Taking “Fake News” Out of the Workplace

January 24, 2017
| ByMike Ryan

“Fake news” has been all over the “real news” lately. Some people are deliberately publishing hoaxes or circulating conspiracy theories (and other forms of disinformation) to advance their agendas.

Fake news has damaging consequences. It can erode perceptions of reality. A constant stream of it can challenge the truth and/or damage reputations. It can get people to buy-in to (or at least consider) a cause and effect that’s simply not the case.

Fake news, in its most extreme form, is a powerful propaganda tool. But it also surfaces within work environments. Just listen to disgruntled employees.

Employee recognition programs drive higher levels of engaged workers. Employees who are emotionally and intellectually committed to what they do and who they do it with are not just more productive, they are also more positive.

Actively disengaged employees on the other hand, are polar opposites. They don’t like their jobs or select groups of people they interact with. They are generally not successful at what they do and they rationalize that failure to anyone who will listen. They blame the company, its processes and its management. They are constantly spinning stories that explain away their shortcomings. They are corporate’s version of fake news broadcasters. Left unchecked they divide the company into camps that either support or criticize management. Their blame game damages moral and impacts an organization’s ability to work in a cohesive manner.

Not every program pays enough attention to the actively disengaged. Not enough companies try to win them over (or at least drown them) out with more “good news” in the form of recognition. That’s a mistake and it’s one that can be easily corrected.

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