If your enterprise or organization is riddled with issues like employee theft, sexual harassment, hostility, or fraud—and internal corporate investigations aren’t throwing up a bean—then it’s pretty clear that you’re going to have to call in the corporate private investigations cavalry. But, what if if you haven’t spotted any obvious warning signs but nothing is going as smoothly as it should? That’s where a corporate culture audit can come in handy.
Sometimes, the signs that corporate culture has slid sideways are glaringly obvious, but at others, they can be a little more demure. If you know that your business is not meeting its true potential, a corporate culture audit is just the solution for the job. This proactive and comprehensive assessment offers up a health check for all areas of your businesses, providing evidence-based strategies that will help you turn the corner once and for all. If this has piqued your interest, then lets dig a little deeper. Read on for seven indicators that you should take as a sign that urgent action is needed.
1. Pervasive Problems Have Become a Broken Record
If the same old loss reports, harassment complaints forms, or underperformance records just keep on sliding across your desk, then it’s time to raise the alarm. Ask yourself: Have you been pouring resources into internal corporate investigations and disciplinary actions, or perhaps sucking up holes left by minor but repeating corporate theft?
Either way, the nature of the problem—be it small or large—is fundamentally insignificant. Whether rooted with internal processes or personnel, until you get to the source of the pattern and address it, the cycle will not be broken. In contrast, when corporate culture is corrected, operations and employees alike can begin to truly flourish.
2. Accountability Has Fallen Out of Your Team’s Vocabulary
If your workplace meetings and exchanges tend to tumble into a charade of shrugging and finger-pointing, you can be certain that corporate culture has grown sickly. Engaged, happy employees within a healthy workplace environment are far more likely to step up and take responsibility for their actions. When everyone seems more interested in deflecting accountability, it comes with the cost of slumping productivity, and wasted time on all levels.
Particularly perilous, when leadership is behaving badly a mindset of “If the boss is doing this, it must be okay.” sets in. Grappling with executives and leaders who aren’t holding themselves accountable can be particularly challenging for internal corporate investigations, but an external investigator is perfectly poised to make impartial assessments, and suggest effective remedial options.
3. A Contagious Form of Apathy Has Struck
We all have our better days and our worst days in terms of productivity, but when activities have mysteriously slowed to a snails pace office-wide, you can be certain that a hidden cause awaits discovery. A healthy corporate culture shines with engagement, elevating the experience of both employees and customers. If your team instead exude a vibe of sapped energy and drained morale, then whatever lies behind it needs to be identified and neutralized before your profits and reputation take a hit.
4. The Employee Ethics Compass is Spinning
When we talk about employee ethics, we mean something universally shared rather than the cumulation of individual moral stances. It’s down to companies and organizations to establish a clear framework of values that employees can get on board with. This means more than talking the talk—the walk has to be walked too.
If employee ethics have lost their clarity, your team are likely to exhibit signs of an identity crisis—with cohesive productivity paying the ultimate price. One of the elements tackled by a corporate culture audit is assessing collective understanding of and quality of mission statements and values. From there, worthy common goals and a shared sense of purpose can be established.
5. Your Workforce is Lacking in Diversity
When it comes to corporate culture, one of the biggest red flags to be alert to is a lack of diversity in the workforce. What’s more, allowing homogeneity in terms of race, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation to become the status quo means actively stunting your organization’s ability to develop and grow.
Statistics tell us that the most common version of this picture is cisgender, straight, white men in leadership roles—recruiting, promoting, and mentoring others who tick the same boxes. However, a rut in terms of diversity can take many forms, and all are equally limiting. Employees who are able to bring a variety of experiences and perspectives to their team provide the strongest path towards innovation, evolution, and staying ahead of the competition. Not something to let slide!
6. Employees Are Working in a Pressure-Cooker Atmosphere
It’s true that the capacity to work under pressure is a prerequisite for plenty of job roles. However, all forms of baked-in stress needs to be effectively counter-balanced to avoid workforce burnout. Employees who are running on empty will not only lose engagement, but they may also begin to fall into a mentality that raises risk of corporate theft, misconduct, workplace bullying, or even white collar crime.
Employers who safeguard their employees’ wellbeing—harnessing workplace support, benefits, paid-time-off, and vacations—are more often than not rewarded with a team that can fire on all cylinders whenever required. Specialist corporate investigations can help to highlight an impending burnout that hasn’t been spotted by leadership, before major damage is done.
7. Poor Investments in People Keep Sending You Back to the Drawing Board
All too often, leadership can be entirely unaware that they are stuck repeating bad recruitment and promotion practices. Inescapably, investing in the wrong people is always a huge drain on resources—as the hiring, on-boarding, and training stages are repeated again and again.
Muddying the water further when individuals don’t meet expectations, focus frequently remains solely on retention strategies. While this is an important part of forging a strong corporate culture, investing in the right people from the get-go is also crucial if terminations and turn-over are going to be brought into line. In this area, a corporate culture audit may extend from examining recruitment and promotion policies into carrying out corporate background checks.
Corporate culture audits are a fantastic way to gain comprehensive insight into the health-status of your business—something that is often impossible to achieve from within. The results of our investigations will allow us to provide expert guidance on how to bolster the wellbeing of every aspect of your business. With a trusted corporate investigation specialist on hand, you can also be confident that investigations can be scaled as necessary, for impactive and cost-effective results. Learn more about Corporate Culture Audits from Lauth Investigations, or contact our team today for a free quote.
When it comes to your business, you don’t know what you don’t know. Successful corporations are more than their bottom line, and corporations must be conscious of all their internal operations to ensure they’re getting their maximum output or profit. Leadership must be vigilant in seeking problems out in their organization to ensure there are no leaks in the bottom line. That’s why more executives are opting for seasonal corporate culture audits to identify corporate weaknesses.
Weakness is a subjective word, but definitively, we’re talking about structural or personnel weaknesses that contribute to weekly disruptions within the corporations. These disruptions can come in many forms, including employee misconduct, theft of trade secrets, external theft, and worker’s compensation fraud. Whatever the problem, a comprehensive corporate culture audit can serve as a net to catch these unseen problems. Purveyors of corporate culture audits can range from corporate intelligence firms to independent private investigators, but regardless of the size of the operation, diverse experience in corporate investigations is key. After all, the investigator must know what they’re looking for in order to identify corporate weaknesses.
Think of a corporate culture audit like a medical checkup for your business or corporation. Just like a medical checkup, a private investigator proverbially acts as a physician routinely looking for problems. Just like a physical, a private investigator can identify corporate weaknesses that the “patient,” or client, did not previously know existed. In this way, leadership can stay on top of things and eliminate any internal problems. The most pervasive corporate crises are likely to fly under the radar, with the perpetrator(s) making competent attempts to cover their tracks. Unfortunately, this means that the problem can go undetected until irreversible damage is already done, not unlike a debilitating disease that has gone untreated.
One of the greatest examples of these undetected risks is white collar crime. When it comes to misconduct, any official action will inevitably cross an executive’s desk. Because of their level of access and oversight into all company matters, it’s frighteningly simple for an executive to cover their own tracks in an ongoing pattern of misconduct. In the case of an independent private investigator, they can easily infiltrate a business and place themselves in a strategic position where they can observe and document the behavior of all employees without being detected. This preserves the integrity of the investigation and ensures that the executive cannot suddenly destroy all of the evidence. One of the most common is embezzlement, or other forms of financial fraud within the corporate structure. Hiring an investigator to complete a corporate culture audit not only buys oversight, but objective intelligence-gathering. When an investigator attempts to identify corporate weaknesses, they do it with an independent an objective point of view. This ensure that no stone will remain unturned, and that all results of the investigation are subject to only the highest level of scrutiny in any subsequent legal action against the corporation.
If your corporate needs a corporate culture audit, call Lauth Investigations International today at 317-951-1100 for a free quote on our corporate culture audit services. Our team of investigators is staffed by former military and law enforcement personnel, and we carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call Lauth today to learn how we can identify corporate weaknesses with a corporate culture audit.
Working from home used to only be a dream for some people.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in many significant ways, but none so illuminating as how the workforce views capitalism and corporate culture. At the onset of the pandemic, most businesses were forced to cease onsite operations in order to comply with the stay-at-home order. While some employees were furloughed due to the changed economic landscape, other employees had their positions transitioned to some form of telecommunication—zoom calls, chat boxes, and email inboxes that have become impossible to clean out. Everything has changed, which has left some working people wondering why working from home is an impossibility in an age where it can help change a corporation’s culture.
Working from home can give an employee a better sense of work-life balance. Everyone who has worked a full-time job has at one time or another craved a greater work-life balance in order to maintain their health and happiness. Many Americans across all industries and tax brackets have expressed some desire to work less for a myriad of reasons. Employees who have never had flexibility in their jobs before are enjoying the flexibility of working from the comfort of their homes. While this is not comforting to all employees, especially ones with children who are also in the home and likely involved in virtual learning, the sudden cushion of their own couch underneath them while working from home makes them wonder why this was never possible before.
Corporate culture is the manifestation of the relationship between leadership and their employees. It is sometimes referred to as organizational culture. It concerns how policies and communication from the top of a corporation can directly influence the level of employee engagement and satisfaction at multiple levels of an organization. When a company’s management does not show initiative to improve operations surrounding these types of complaints, it can create a culture of silence & resentment within the workforce. Healthy corporate culture creates a cycle of satisfaction and productivity that both benefits the bottom line and improves employee engagement for a balanced, stream of operations.
The mandate of working from home has placed some companies on notice, as the situation has exacerbated the stress of many in an already turbulent time. As work and life and work continue to pass over each other, braiding themselves into context with one another, employees are starting to expect more care from their employers were regards to their corporate culture.
There will always be businesses and business models that cannot support telecommuting as a way of day-to-day operations. Studies have shown that separating work space from living space, the routine of commute and workday operations, the continued face-to-face contact with other employees and how it impacts daily output. Not to mention that every corporation and team is unique. Every work environment is a complex eco-system in its own right—internal structure, policies, how those policies are enforced, leadership, the personalities of all interacting employees—all of these factors creating unique professional experiences. Working from home continues to recontextualize life for working people, and leadership must use this open window to start investing in their corporate culture audit.
Think of a corporate culture audit like a checkup for your business. An investigator comes into the workplace, interviews employees, reviews daily operations and polices, and how those items are enforced. The investigator looks at all of these factors and how they effect the cycle of corporate culture. The investigator then provides leadership with methods to improve their corporate culture by investing in the happiness of their employees.
If you find your business is in need of a corporate culture audit, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our corporate culture audit services. Our corporate culture audit can be customized to fit businesses of all sizes and needs. Our private investigators are made up of former military and law enforcement personnel and we carry an outstanding A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call 317-951-1100, or visit us online at lauthinvestigations.com.
If you follow the mission and directives of nonprofit organizations, you’ve likely heard of United Way Worldwide. According to their website, the nonprofit “advances the common good in communities across the world. Our focus is on education, income and health—the building blocks for a good quality of life.” However noble their mission statement, United Way has been in the news recently as former employees have come forward with reports of a hostile work environment, prompting an internal investigation.
The United Way investigation began when former employers decided to take a stand against a toxic corporate culture. The allegations of a toxic, hostile work environment came in the form of a letter that was signed by an anonymous group of former United Way of Summit and Media, citing pervasive problems such as racism, sexual harassment, and nepotism. While the word “anonymous” raises eyebrows in conjunction with whistle-blowing, it bears pointing out that these former employees claim they will be subject to retaliation. The letter was sent to United Way board members on July 31, prompting board chairman Mark Krohn to announce the onset of an internal investigation.
Harassment and bullying are just one of the allegations made by the former employees who signed this letter, and this has led to one United Way board member already resigning. One of the first dominoes to fall in the United Way investigation was former board member Elizabeth Bartz, who was in charge of running government affairs in Akron, Ohio. Leadership from the United Way of Summit and Media began investigating Bartz after there were allegations that she had verbally abused employees on social media. Bartz used Facebook Messenger to send a private message to another former employee, calling them a “toothless piranha” and accusing them of attempting “to ruin UW” with their allegations of bullying in harassment—ironically by engaging in bullying and harassment. This led to Bartz’s resignation.
Bartz’s reaction to the anonymous letter might actually validate these anonymous claims by former United Way employees. However, according to an article by the Beacon Journal, these anonymous former employees are feeling ignored after an investigator reported that the allegations in the letter “were mostly unsubstantiated.” A former employee who claimed to speak for the group told the Beacon Journal, “It’s clear it’s not an objective report…We can’t keep talking if we’re not going to be valued and our experiences are going to be diminished. It’s pretty disheartening when someone says they were sexually harassed and they are told it was ‘he said/she said.”
The frustration and feeling of defeat expressed by these anonymous employees are the effects of poor corporate culture in motion. Like a piece of antique furniture with termites, poor corporate culture can rot a company from within. Looking at the list of grievances these former employees are citing—racism, sexual harassment, nepotism—these are all enormous and complex problems that are not created in a vacuum. The corporate culture of the workplace must be an environment where these issues are able to thrive in order to develop a pattern of behavior. When employees make claims about these types of internal issues, it is in the best interest of the corporation to submit to an independent corporate culture audit.
If your corporation or organization is experiencing repeated instances of internal difficulty, it might be time for a corporate culture audit. A corporate culture audit is a program that examines the internal policies of a corporation or organization, how those policies are enforced, how they effect the employees, and how those employees relate to each other as a result. If the corporate culture in a company is good, that positivity is baked into the internal operations, employees feel valued by their organization, and therefore will remain engaged and invested in maintaining productivity. Pervasive, repeated internal problems may not stem from a single factor, but the entire corporate culture of the workplace. Think of a corporate culture audit like a medical check-up for a business or organization. Lauth’s investigators evaluate the culture from leadership down, identifying the major factors in disruption, and advise leadership on how to improve their business from within. For more information on our corporate culture audit program, click here.
The ubiquity of smart technology and information technology has made work-life balance more attainable than ever in the United States workforce. Telecommuting has made it possible for single parents to work while also caring for their children, and for single individuals to pursue personal passions while maintaining a sustainable living. However, this blurring of the lines between work and life have also brought work stress closer to home for millions of Americans, severely impacting their mental health.
The conversation surrounding work-life balance and its effects on mental health has developed significantly over the last ten years. Leadership in major corporations have become more aware of how their corporate culture not only effects their workforce, but also their brand, productivity, and their stock holders. The Health and Safety Executive published national statistics declaring that 28.8 million work days were lost in 2018 due to both physical and mental health reasons. While physical helath of employees has always been one of the priorities for major corporations, mental health has only recently come to the forefront of corporate priorities. In an article by Sarah Chilton published by Forbes at the beginning of January, Chilton said, “In some sectors there are cultural issues which are likely to exacerbate the problems, or make it harder to openly discuss mental well-being. In particular, high pressure environments, or night shift work for example, can contribute to mental health issues. My own sector, the legal sector, with its highly pressurized and competitive environment where there is a long hours and heavy workload culture, can significantly affect mental wellbeing, but also the willingness of employees and business owners to discuss it openly.”
This connectivity that Chilton mentions comes in the form of platforms like Slack, Monday.com, and other telecommuting tools that can be huge assets to corporate communication and productivity. These platforms can connect employees located around the countries, for a seemingly more holistic approach to corporate success. When your work is well-connected to the devices we use in our personal lives, such as our phones, our laptop computers, and home-based artificial intelligence like Alexa and Google Home devices, a bleeding source of stress is introduced that can further disrupt our desire for a work-life balance.
Regardless of an employee’s physical location within the organization, many corporations are beginning to adopt work ratios that have been proven to reduce this bleed, such as the 25:5 rule. That means a 5 minute break for every 25 minutes of work completed. This can come in many forms, such as walking meetings, meal breaks—anything that would stimulate an employee physically in order to refocus their minds on their work once they return from that break. This also reduces the physical impact of jobs that force employees to sit for long periods of time, which has devastating effects on posture, eye-strain, and lack of circulation in lower extremities that contribute to health problems such as blood clots and diabetes.
When corporations invest in the mental health of their employees, the positive ripple effects may surprise even the most seasoned executive. Corporate culture moves in a cycle. When employees feel that their mental health is valued at their place of work, their level of engagement is higher in their capacity. This leads to a better quality of communication between employees and stronger engagement on behalf of individuals, which promotes productivity. This increased productivity not only pleases leadership, but also improves the quality of customer service within the organization, which also has the potential to impress and reassure shareholders.
How do you know when your business or organization needs a corporate culture audit? The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to be an educated risk assessment investigator to identify the signs. Many employees can trace their workplace woes back to an internal process or another employee they do not like. Sometimes it’s difficult to discern whether your organization needs a corporate culture audit. Here are 8 of the most prevalent signs that leadership should watch out for when it comes to declining corporate culture.
8. High-Pressure Environment
There is a plethora of high-pressure jobs that can create tension in the workplace, like media conglomerates, financial firms, and law offices. When stress is part of the job, many employers go the extra mile to ensure that their employees can have good work-life balance, such as paid-time-off, vacations, and comprehensive benefits. In high-pressure jobs where these things are not available to employees, the workforce regularly experiences burnout and lack of engagement. When leadership is ignorant or inattentive to these issues within their corporation, it drives corporate culture down and contributes to the overall detriment of the workplace.
Every employee has substandard days for a myriad of reasons, but when the workplace is constantly plagued by low energy and low morale, it spreads like a cancer throughout the organization. Employees who are engaged in the workplace increase productivity and customer experience. When apathy spreads throughout the workplace, it usually indicates that the root cause is pervasive, effects everyone, and needs to be neutralized as soon as possible.
If your organization is running into the same problems quarter to quarter, this is a major red flag. The nature of the problems are insignificant—whether it’s a problem with internal processes or multiple complaints of harassment, the fact that the problem continues to thrive within the workplace indicates that there is a fundamental issue with internal processes or personnel. While each issue may have resolved initially, the root of the problem was never identified or addressed. A healthy cycle of corporate culture cannot grow in such an environment.
5. Poor Investments in People
When it comes to hiring and promoting employees, sometimes leadership does not always make a sound investment in a single employee. It happens in every business, where a new hire or promoted employee does not meet expectations as predicted. This can bring internal operations to a screeching halt, whether executives elect to correct this poor investment via termination and turn-over, or to ignore the issue and allow that employee to continue stalling the corporation’s mission.
4. Questionable Ethics
“Questionable ethics” does not mean that it’s apparent that there is illegal or ethically unclear practices taking place within the workplace—otherwise it would be much higher on this list. “Questionable ethics” actually refers to individual employees’ understanding and ability to explain their company’s values. Regardless of intent, corporations are sometimes vague about their mission or values, using rosy words that denote a company with integrity and passion for bringing their products and consumers together. This can make it difficult for employees to intellectualize company goals and vision. When the workforce does not have a clear, common goal to achieve as a whole, employees can easily become detached and apathetic.
3. Lack of Accountability
When corporate culture is healthy, there is a mindful unity throughout the workforce, in which individual employees are content, engaged, and working towards the same goal. When the corporate culture is poor, individual employees at all levels refuse to take responsibility when something goes wrong. Lack of accountability for a mistake or oversight leads to a great deal of finger-pointing and shrugging in meetings and over email, and slows down the wheels of progress within a corporation or organization.
2. Bad Behavior in Leadership
Corporate culture audits can catch some of the most elusive culprits of tainting corporate culture: Executives and leadership. The old adage goes, “The fish stinks from the head,” meaning that most distasteful things within a company or organization can be traced back to leadership. Whether it is a supervising manager or an executive, bad behavior on behalf of leadership always trickles down into the rest of the workforce, because the supposition is, “If the boss is doing this, it must be okay.” This applies to all levels of bad behavior, from theft to malingering and everything in between.
1. Lack of Diversity
The number one indicator that your company or organization might need a corporate culture audit is a lack of diversity in the workforce. Any corporate culture that is homogenized with regards to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or even age lacks the inherent ability to grow and change. Leadership in the workplace—management and executive positions—are dominated by cisgender, straight, white men, who are statistically projected to hire other individuals who are also in this category. Individuals in this category are hired, mentored, and promoted more than others, which feeds into a cycle of stagnation that will ultimately disbenefit the company or organization. The value of diversity comes with the support of trusted employees from many walks of life—employees who have had different life experiences and have a perspective that can reinvigorate an organization’s vision or mission—ensuring that the pursuits of the workplace are growing and changing along with the rest of the economy.