Is critical thinking training for employees the next ESG frontier?

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Can companies do anything to reduce the vulnerability of their employees to fake news? And should they? Corporate school can be an uncomfortable idea, but it could be essential for the future of American capitalism and democracy.

When the United States was three years old, Thomas jefferson proposed government-provided education as a way to protect democracy from tyranny. Now that the country is approaching its 250th year, we need business-delivered education for the same reason. Corporate school can be as uncomfortable an idea as government education in Jefferson’s day, but it could be essential for the future of America’s economy and democracy.

Tens of millions of adults in the United States have been manipulated into believing absurd and disproved stories, with tragic results. We’ve seen people expose themselves to a deadly virus to protest proven safety behavior – wearing a sheet mask – that is inexpensive, inexpensive, and has no substantial downsides. Thousands of our fellow citizens have given their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, to oppose the very practice that could have saved them. And it’s not just right-wing politicians who fall victim to fake news. For example, countless numbers of leftists were furious that Lancaster, Pennsylvania kicked a Jewish family out of town for not celebrating Christmas, which never happened. Obviously, there are many people in the United States who suffer from thought disorders.

Most of these people with impaired thinking spend their days in the workplace, either physically or virtually. They interpret quarterly sales reports. They ask about job prospects. Their choice of sales strategy and new hires probably undermines the fortunes and darkens the lot of companies. The Capitol uprising in January established that the inability to distinguish truth from fiction is a societal catastrophe. It is also, however, a potential business disaster.

Can companies do anything to reduce the vulnerability of their employees to fake news? Should they? We believe the answer to both questions is yes. Over the past 50 years, corporate responsibilities have grown to include environmental stewardship, supply chain human rights and racial justice. Citizen Critical Thinking appears to be the next ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) addition.

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One of the proven contributors to the epidemic of false beliefs is the lack of formal education. School attendance is known to boost critical thinking skills – the ability to reason, assess evidence, and understand complex ideas. Critical thinking, in turn, has been shown to reduce vulnerability to falsehoods. Universal higher education would probably significantly improve our collective cognitive impairment; but it’s too expensive for many, doesn’t help today’s adult population and it would be decades before it produced significant results. Fortunately, there is another way.

Research suggests that relatively simple critical thinking training that lasts hours, not years, is effective. There’s even evidence that a carefully crafted, unique 15-minute game inoculates gamers against fake news. That’s not to say that critical thinking training in the workplace is plug and play. Indeed, certain cognitive biases that undermine critical thinking are notoriously difficult to overcome. However, these challenges are reminiscent of those encountered by existing training in the workplace, especially when they were introduced for the first time. Provided they design critical thinking training in accordance with the evidence of what works, there is no doubt that employers can Offer their employees cost-effective protection against fake news. So the next question is: should they? Here are three main reasons why the answer to this question is also yes.

  1. Employers may be the only ones who can increase the resilience of adults to fake news. Few people would self-select as poor critical thinkers, and people don’t voluntarily enroll in training they don’t think they need. Thus, employers are probably the only societal actors who can enroll large numbers of adults in critical thinking training. They already need security and other training.

  2. Businesses would benefit. A workforce with a high level of critical thinking has many potential benefits:

    • Better employee performance. Employers have long known that a lack of critical thinking in new hires is detrimental to their success. However, critical thinking training in the workplace is still scarce outside of leadership programs. Companies that train their entire workforce in critical thinking will, in all likelihood, improve employee performance, and therefore the business.

    • More employee well-being. Consuming fake news induces fear, rage, and compromises mental health and hence productivity. The wellness case for employee cognitive development is probably as strong as it is for smoking cessation, fitness, or financial literacy.

    • Lower brand risk. Social media circulated fake stories of infested pests Coca Cola drinks murderer Xbox consoles and Starbucks reductions for undocumented migrants. The training would minimize the number of employees who fall into fabrications hostile to their employer.

  3. Democracy could depend on it. If the rampaging of Congress by an armed mob isn’t enough proof that uninformed citizens are a threat to democracy, long-standing warnings from the FBI and academics should be.

Workplace critical thinking training that counteracts the pernicious impact of fake news could be an investment employers can’t afford not to do. Workplaces and countries infected with dangerous delusions are unsanitary and unstable. America must do all it can on all fronts, including on the business front, to free the victims of fake news from their private nightmares, to save our democracy from its precarious perch, and to restore our economy. resilient market in an uncertain future.

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