Conducting a Corporate Culture Assessment Can Really Uncover How Your Employees Feel

Conducting a Corporate Culture Assessment Can Really Uncover How Your Employees Feel

A vast survey from Gallup recently provided powerful insight into the current employee engagement landscape in America. We are, it would seem, in a pretty gloomy slump. Engagement began to dip towards the end of 2021 and it’s still in decline. The only silver lining to this unfortunate news is that stats are far more favorable for organizations that focus on culture and wellbeing. So is that you? If not, isn’t it about time you made it so? A corporate culture assessment is a great place to start.

Tune into Your Employees With a Company Culture Assessment

Even for the most intuitive employer in the world, knowing how employees really feel is nigh-on impossible without a comprehensive strategy. How’s morale looking in teams and departments that are beyond your oversight? Have your employees taken recent changes in stride, or is resentment building under the radar? Is it possible that team members are unhappy enough to decide that workplace theft or malingering might have become a great idea? These are the questions that a corporate culture assessment can answer.

It’s no secret that employees who feel heard and seen will yield better performance and greater profits while sticking around for longer. There’s no point in investing heavily to recruit the best talent if your company culture sends the best hires packing not long after their first day in your team. And in contrast to the welcome rewards that a strong corporate culture will manifest, a toxic one can soon turn into a melting pot of toxic management tactics, discrimination, theft, fraud, and harassment. It is a harsh truth that the symptoms of a neglected workplace culture are inclined to escalate.

The salve to these issues is a clear picture of your organization’s current standing and a game plan to get it back on track as required. A corporate culture assessment will aim to deliver on both of these points. First, a thorough investigation will illuminate issues such as poor communication, misaligned values, flawed management practices, cliques and preferential behavior, employee concerns, and much more. Once all of the data is compiled, your corporate culture auditor will lay out a road map towards remedy.

A Company Culture Assessment From Lauth Investigations International

If you can’t answer the question of how your employees feel with confidence—or if you can but you’re not too keen on what you’d have to say—then ordering an audit is the next logical step to take. Understanding exactly what shape the morale of your team is currently in and whether your company culture is serving you or holding you back will allow you to take affirmative action.

The corporate investigations team at Lauth Investigations International have been serving corporate clients for more than 30 years, operating as the largest arm of this family owned and operated private investigations firm. Our track record speaks for itself, and our team of dedicated and loyal fact-finders are ready to turn their expertize to spotlighting your corporate culture and pinpointing how to elevate it. 
To learn more about our comprehensive Corporate Culture Audit service, head on over to our CCA information page. Alternatively, if you prefer, contact us today for a friendly no-obligation chat about how we can serve your organization best. We’re always ready to advise.

How To Deal With Maligning Or Toxic Managers In Your Company

How To Deal With Maligning Or Toxic Managers In Your Company

Just like a bad apple in a barrel, toxicity emanating from a bad manager can sour a workplace’s entire dynamic given enough time. Whether the individual exhibiting toxic manager behavior is above or below you in the hierarchy of command, navigating their presence can be challenging to say the least. The first step, of course, is identifying a toxic presence in the management team, so we’ll tackle that momentarily with a toxic manager checklist.

But first, if the toxic manager is your senior or peer, it is a noble move to seek help from further up the chain of command. In fact, even if you decide to move on to greener, healthier pastures, your choice to speak up will likely save others from the hardship of feeling maligned. In contrast, if the manager answers directly to you, having a clear sense of how to proceed can help you deescalate the situation with finesse while documenting it in case further action is required. So let’s dive into these points one by one. Yes, managing a toxic manager is a thing—and hopefully by the end of this article you’ll feel better equipped to master it.

Identifying Toxic Manager Behavior

There are two sources to look to when hoping to pinpoint whether one of your leaders is exhibiting toxic behavior. The first is how they conduct themselves, and the second is how employees interact with them. As such, you can look to a two-part toxic manager checklist:

Examples of Toxic Manager Behavior Traits: 

  • Authoritarian approach paired with unwillingness to hear employee perspectives
  • Hostile response to feedback and corrections
  • Leverages hierarchy to disempower others
  • Deflects attention from important issues or failings—or blames others for them
  • Inflexibility and resistance to change
  • A lack of trust in others or constant micromanagement
  • Unrealistic expectations of the workload that others can carry
  • Maligning, discriminatory, condescending, or resentful language
  • Embarrassing or undermining team members in front of their peers
  • Bullying, withholding, and violence in the workplace

Examples of Team Indications of a Toxic Manager:

  • Hesitancy to speak up
  • High stress or anxiety levels
  • Elevating number of sick days taken
  • High team turnover
  • Consistently missed targets
  • Unwillingness to talk to HR due to fear of retaliation
  • A siphoned flow of information from the team through the manager 
  • Inappropriate behavior and preferential treatment is tolerated
  • New ideas are shut down
  • Promotions remain in-clique and diversity is lacking

How to Manage a Toxic Manager

As they say, most employees choosing to give their notice don’t leave the company—they leave the boss. High turnover, plus the many other worrying symptoms of a toxic workplace culture such as theft, malingering, bullying, and discrimination, can all leave a substantial dent in your bottom line and may even lead to litigation. With that in mind, taking action having identified toxic manager behavior is a must. So how exactly does one go about managing a toxic manager?

It is critical to start with a private conversation in case there is a part of the picture that you’re missing. That toxicity may be the result of troubles at home or financial woes, and you won’t understand the landscape until you’ve explored it. That said, know that the team is also watching, so calm and constructive feedback in the moment—that focuses on the behavior rather than the individual—can let employees know that the current status quo is not considered to be acceptable.

When navigating managing a toxic manager, it is realistic to expect some pushback. They may counter your feedback or exhibit hostility. It is important to document every interaction with HR and scale this diligence in line with the severity of the situation. In some instances, modeling alternative behaviors and providing training and support may bring the manager in question back into alignment with your company’s leadership standards and help them continue to grow. In others, performance warnings and eventual dismissal may become necessary. Thorough documentation and a prudent process will allow you to protect the organization from a claim of unfair treatment or dismissal.

Toxic manager behavior can be a worrying sign that the broader corporate culture is decidedly out of whack. If you are concerned that all is not as it should be in your workplace, consider the value of a corporate culture audit to provide invaluable oversight and afford a clear path towards enhanced culture metrics and team performance. Would you like to know more? Check out how the process works or contact the Lauth Investigations corporate team for no-obligation advice today.

How To Find Platforms And Analytics For Assisting With Organizational Culture Surveys

How To Find Platforms And Analytics For Assisting With Organizational Culture Surveys

When was the last time you did a health check of your organizational culture? When sat in the executive suit, it can be easy to imagine that the rest of the workplace is a hive of productivity; a well oiled machine. But what if your organizational culture is eroding right in front of you, and you haven’t even noticed?

Employees like knowing that their voices are being heard. So much so, that a recent Salesforce study revealed that this factor alone can infuse your team with a staggering 4.6x capacity to yield their best performance. 

To tune into how morale really is on the work floor, an increasing number of businesses turn to organizational culture surveys. Today, we’re going to look for the qualities that should be built into your surveying strategy if you choose to take this route. We’ll also examine when a corporate culture audit may be a better fit for your business needs. So lets get right down to it.

Why Keeping Up With Company Culture is More Important Than Ever

The instability of the last few years has certainly taken its toll on business culture—not only across the United States but around the globe. Where rolling out organizational culture surveys annually would have once been considered an aspirational achievement, these days it doesn’t really make the cut.

The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, transitioning too and from working from home, climactic stresses, and economic uncertainty triggered by the war in Ukraine all add new layers of complexity to your organization’s cultural vulnerabilities. The good news is that keeping tabs on your team with tools like organizational culture surveys or corporate culture audits can enable you to stay ahead of challenges and build in the resilience that will ensure your business thrives no matter the bumps in the road.

Key Features To Look For in Organizational Culture Surveys Software

If you decide to go the organizational culture surveys route—or even combine multiple culture monitoring resources—what kinds of features do you need at your disposal? Digital survey building tools can be exceptionally handy, especially when they have been created with this kind of use in mind. You’ll want to be able to curate tailored questions that are relevant to your business and add company branding as a starting point, but let’s look at what else you’ll need.

Consider whether you’ll want to roll out different types of surveys, such as those looking at Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) which measures how likely your team are to recommended your organization as a good place to work, or pulse surveys which are—as they sound—brief and frequent in nature.

Finally, you’ll want to consider what kinds of analytics you’ll want at your disposal. The right survey software should allow you to track results over time so you can identify the evolution of corporate culture and zero in on teams and departments individually. You may also want access to benchmarks data, letting you compare your business culture’s performance to that of other companies.

When a Corporate Culture Audit Is the Better Option

Surveys certainly sound good on paper, but they need to be structured and strategically targetted if they are going to be an effective tool. Factors such as survey exhaustion—when employees get tired of seeing all those tick boxes—or bias unintentionally built into your survey can compromise its efficacy. If organisational culture surveys aren’t getting you the results you’d hoped for, it might be time to call on something a bit more comprehensive.
If you haven’t surveyed your organizational culture before, it may be better to launch into the practice with a more insightful process than a survey alone. Similarly, if you are experiencing an escalation of signs of eroding corporate culture such as clique behavior, employee thefts, high turnover, workplace bullying, and even white collar crime, then organizational culture surveys are going to be akin to applying a band aid to a broken leg.

A culture audit will give you a full-spectrum overview of the health of your organizational culture. Why not discover more about this process or contact the specialist corporate team at Lauth Investigations today? We’ll happily share how we can help you forge a culture that can’t be beaten.

Deshaun Watson will miss 11 games, pay $5 million fine following allegations of sexual assault

Deshaun Watson will miss 11 games, pay $5 million fine following allegations of sexual assault

As part of an ongoing series, Lauth Investigations International is highlighting how poor corporate culture in professional sports starts at the top, and how changes in leadership can change an organization for years to come.

Even those who just casually follow sports news are already aware of the low threshold of behavior required of professional football players to remain in action. The standard of reprisal against football players for bad behavior has rarely even approached the level of appropriate, depending on the misconduct in question—but the Cleaveland Browns have set a new low in dealing with the fallout of Deshaun Watson and the sexual assault allegations made against him by 24 women who refused to be silenced with hush money. Despite these claims (which Watson continues to deny), it seems that at least the repercussions he will face within the NFL will be woefully lacking.  

Initially, an arbitrator proffered that Deshaun Watson would face a 6-game suspension from the Browns in light of the allegations made against him, but those stakes were raised when the NFL instead decided to almost double that suspension to 11 games—and threw in a $5 million fine on top of that. While $5 million may seem like a girthy number, it’s nothing compared to the record-breaking contract offered to Watson valued at $230 million to be the team’s quarterback.  

When asked about this decision, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam commented that they became “comfortable” meeting with Deshaun Watson following those allegations by the 24 massage therapists, and still decided to award him the contract. Haslam defended this decision by citing the precedent he set with running back Kareem Hunt after he was booted from the Chiefs after video footage surfaced of Hunt knocking a woman to the ground and kicking her. “We strongly believe [Deshaun Watson] deserves a second chance,” Haslam said, “We gave Kareem Hunt a second chance and that worked out pretty well.”  

Haslam’s decision to give Deshaun Watson a second chance has already emboldened fans to show support for him in some truly tasteless ways. Outside the Browns’ stadium, one man was selling t-shirts in “support” of Deshaun in the Browns colors that read “B*TCH GIVE ME A MASSAGE!”. In another classless display, a man and a little boy appearing to be his son were also standing outside the stadium holding signs that read “F*CK THEM HOES,” AND “FREE WATSON,” respectively.  

The prices that sports teams have willingly paid to keep athlete misconduct quiet and fans happy is far too high. Winning does not fix everything. The willingness to trivialize the literal dozens of accusations against Deshaun White that have been levied in recent months is the kind of inaction that breeds dissatisfaction and malcontent amongst players, employees, and fans themselves. From leadership to fandom, these actions can have very negative ripple effects throughout the organization. To learn more, visit our corporate culture audit page.  

Leadership Misconduct: Professional Wrestling and Vince MacMahon

Leadership Misconduct: Professional Wrestling and Vince MacMahon

As part of an ongoing series, Lauth Investigations International is highlighting how poor corporate culture in professional sports starts at the top, and how changes in leadership can change an organization for years to come.  

Vince MacMahon

The world of wrestling has changed significantly for the first time in nearly 40 years. Vince MacMahon, the man whose name is synonymous with the professional wrestling world, has finally retired from the world of what he calls “sports entertainment.” However, after a checkered history in front of the camera as a fictionalized version of himself and behind the scenes as the WWE’s CEO and creative director, those working in the WWE have reported a ‘night and day’ change in the federation following the exit of Vince MacMahon.  

Since taking over the business from his father, Vince MacMahon has been largely credited with uniting the professional wrestling world by buying up competing factions of wrestlers throughout the United States and merging them under one banner, what we know today as the WWE. In 2021 alone, the WWE reported more than $1 billion in revenue in their fourth quarter report. At the age of 76, MacMahon announced his impending retirement on July 22 in the wake of a report released by the Wall Street Journal that he had made over $14.6 million in hush money to various women to quell allegations of sexual misconduct.  

Following his retirement from the WWE, MacMahon’s daughter, Stephanie MacMahon has been named chairwoman of the company, becoming a co-CEO alongside Nick Kahn, the former head of CAA’s television department. Stephanie MacMahon’s husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, who rose to wrestling fame in the 1990s, will now be in charge of talent relations and creative—a position previously heavily supervised by Vince MacMahon himself.  

The change in leadership is already showing signs of strengthening the company’s corporate culture where it was previously buckling amidst MacMahon’s reported misconduct. According to Mike Johnson from the PWInsider, “One department where that change has been described as ‘massively night and day’ has been inside the company’s production end…there isn’t anyone yelling at the production truck or the announcers anymore since Vince MacMahon, who was extremely heavy-handed verbally over the course of TV productions, is no longer here.”  

Since MacMahon’s departure more than a month ago, there have been reports of a dramatic uptick in morale throughout the WWE, with the work environment being characterized as less hostile. The feeling of “walking on eggshells” has disapated with at least one production employee reporting that the change in leadership has “allowed them to ‘feel like it’s fun to work here.”  

How Poor Business Ethics Can Erode Your Corporate Culture

How Poor Business Ethics Can Erode Your Corporate Culture

Within the go-getter world of business, it may seem contradictory that an ethical outlook is essential for success. The hard truth is that when unethical attitudes are adopted in the name of profit, any progress will usually be undermined when the inevitable fallout finally comes knocking. That’s why it’s so important to be familiar not only with the legal hot water that poor business ethics can land you in, but also the brunt that will be born by your team, your company reputation, and ultimately your long term prospects. Read on to discover the need-to-knows on business ethics plus what to do if your organization’s morals have already gone astray.

Bad Business Ethics and Legal Repercussions

A range of laws established and enacted by federal and state governments operate as an ethical safety rail, protecting the economy and America’s citizens from the damage that can be done when business ethics go out the window. Of course, at times larger companies may decide that breaching these laws and paying the associated fines is profitable enough to leave their morals at the door. However, these kinds of decisions often result ultimately in criminal charges and litigation that may eventually even sink the ship. The question is, would you see the iceberg coming in time to course correct?

Poor Business Ethics Are a Poisoned Pill For Corporate Culture

There is nothing like spiraling ethics to destabilize the strength of a team and undermine employee performance, and yet the recent Global Ethics Survey revealed that pressure on U.S. employees to compromise their standards is the highest it has ever been. The sad fact of the matter is that without clear parameters within which to operate, employees can quickly step into loose cannon shoes, disregarding essential protocols and making costly errors in the name of proving their worth. Simultaneously, other employees who see colleagues or leaders bending and breaking the rules are likely to become demoralized. Team-wide trust can quickly be dismantled, with collaboration and creativity sacrificed in the name of hitting short-term targets. 

This kind of disengagement and mistrust can rapidly set the stage for an acceleration of things like employee theft, malingering, workplace bullying, and even white collar crime. High-caliber employees who operate with integrity won’t stick around in such an environment, so turnover can be the next sign that the hull of your business ethics vessel has been breached. At this juncture, damage to corporate culture can begin to manifest very much like an infection, with knock-on impacts seen in every area, and complaints and losses leaving leadership and HR running around in circles.

A Crisis In How Your Company is Perceived

With information sharing on social media at an all time high and review sites like Glassdoor growing increasingly popular, you can be certain that news of a business ethics crisis won’t remain under wraps for long. In an era that sees consumers value integrity more than ever when choosing where to invest their hard-earned dollars, the repercussions can be severe is your company’s credibility comes crashing down. Once this particular dam has burst, restoring consumer confidence can be a lengthy and costly undertaking. The key is to strike while the iron is hot—if you know that business ethics are not up to standard within your organization, act now to ensure that the many potential impacts of unethical activities are not allowed to ripple outwards.

How a Corporate Investigator Can Help You Get Business Ethics Back on Track

Many corporate leaders imagine that corporate investigation services are something to call on when crisis point has already been reached and a breach or crime has occurred. While it’s true that this kind of reactive investigative work is a facet of what we do, the corporate investigator also has a powerful role to play in risk prevention and pursuit of optimal performance. Business ethics and corporate culture are intricately interlinked, and an investigation into one will almost always shed light on the state of the other.
For any company wishing to raise their business ethics profile—whether aiming to prevent a downward spiral or mitigate damage already done—a Corporate Culture Audit is the best place to start. Our expert corporate investigators will illuminate the root causes that undermined your enterprise’s ethical status in the first place, and help you steer a course toward forging a thriving corporate culture that ensures productivity, innovation, and progress in all the right ways. Learn more about our comprehensive corporate auditing services today, or connect with our team to discuss your unique needs.