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.
Nobody at the helm of any kind of organization wants to see it driven into the ground, and yet across America, corporations and businesses fall into crisis every day. The reality is that even for the most astute and visionary leaders, seeing the signs of danger with unwavering clarity isn’t always an easy thing to do–the type of signs that a corporate culture audit could identify.
When crises move from being isolated incidents into becoming part of a pervasive pattern, the tough truth is that an undoing may have already begun. In these instances, a corporate culture audit provides the powerful insight and game-plan required to not only avert catastrophe, but get growth and prosperity set back between the sights—where it belongs.
What is a Corporate Culture Audit?
A corporate culture audit is a comprehensive assessment of all the moving parts that together comprise a business or organization. Its goal is to reveal the root causes behind the challenges faced by so many contemporary businesses, and plot a course towards their remedy. The corporate culture audit can be seen as akin to getting a check up from a great physician—the idea being to pinpoint how to cure the disease, rather than simply treating the symptoms in a reactionary fashion.
Undergoing a corporate culture audit will almost certainly bring big results, but it’s not something to view as a big disruption. Corporate investigations specialists know how to navigate essential information gathering with discretion, efficiency, and respect for your day-to-day operations. So, the only impacts felt will be the ones that come with the positive action that follows!
Turning to the role of the auditor, their efforts will be to assess factors such as hiring protocols, organizational subcultures, leadership functionality, interdepartmental and hierarchical communication, on-site security, team morale, external influences, and potentially much more. They may also examine the company’s corporate culture history—going back to its inception—in order to develop an optimal picture of the best way to get back on track.
Who Performs Corporate Culture Audits?
Programs designed to evaluate business operations can be found across a number of different avenues, but the most common providers—and usually the best equipped—are risk assessment and private investigations firms. Here, we find the broad skill set required to follow leads within a professional setting, gather corporate intelligence, engage the workforce in valuable interactions, compile a documented body of evidence, and make precision and practical suggestions for effective remedial action.
Of course, many businesses will be keen to keep corporate investigations internal as far as they can. This instinct is understandable—the idea of having an outsider come into the organization in order to seek out its weaknesses may well be a source of anxiety for leadership. However the problem with internal investigations is inherent; there’s no escaping the fact that objectivity is almost impossible from within, and failing to acknowledge this is all too often where organizations start to stumble.
Even when transparency and accountability is the quest objective, viewing day-in-day-out co-workers and the culture within which one is immersed with impartiality is not as easy feat. What’s more, it is difficult not to be bias when the impacts of an investigation may mean dramatic changes for the business, or an emotional fallout for those doing the reporting.
In the case of smaller businesses, there may simply not be the budget to maintain an internal corporate investigations team—not to mention, the will to take team members off vital tasks so that they can put their private investigator caps on. Bringing in external corporate investigations services as and when required can deftly side-step all of these issues. Professional investigators do this sort of work every day, serving swiftly with independence and autonomy. Their role is to provide you with the information you need today so that you can change tomorrow’s trajectory for the better.
The Value that External Investigators Bring to Businesses
With a fresh pair of eyes, corporate culture auditors will be able to establish whether there is cognitive dissonance between leadership and employees, and whether internal operations are as efficient and effective as they should be. Seasoned analytical skills will be turned to examining the chain of command, productivity flow, and the quality of communication company-wide. This may involve the confidential review of meeting minutes, interviewing department heads, or environmental evaluation. Through this process, previously unseen causes for concern or further indications of corporate theft and misconduct may also come to light.
Fundamentally, even the most engaged, efficient, and talented team member will struggle to perform well within a flawed corporate ecosystem. With this in mind, it becomes clear that every company can find value in periodic corporate culture audits—whether seeing signs of a problem or not. There is a lot to be said for performing maintenance before the cracks start to show.
With a corporate culture audit report in your hands, you will not only find a detailed overview of the current status quo, but also explicit recommendations for how to fix every hidden flaw identified. From there, enacting the transformation is up to you. Being a beacon of change means having a clear plan in place, and setting it into motion. If you’re ready to light the way, contact Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote. Our team of corporate security and investigations specialists are here to help you prosper.
We’ve all worked with one at some point or another: the person who derails productivity, trashes team morale, and knocks out the self-esteem of their co-workers. There’s no question that toxic employees can leave a minefield in their wake. But, this doesn’t always leave the leader positioned above them truly empowered to set things right. Luckily, that’s where corporate internal investigations come in.
At times, even when seeing the red flag indicators of a toxic employee, it can be challenging to demonstrate that company policy has been breached. When toxicity is allowed to run rampant within a corporate environment, what results can become a hotbed for corporate theft and white collar crime as employees lose faith in their role and mission.
In order to avoid that path, collaborating with a corporate investigations specialist can help you build the body of evidence you need to quickly nip the problem in the bud. If there’s a danger that the problem is endemic, a Corporate Culture Audit can allow you to set a course towards company-wide resolution.
What Makes an Employee Behave in a Toxic Way?
When we talk about a toxic employee, we’re describing someone who is more than difficult or inclined to underperform. The hallmarks of toxicity are those of the saboteur; their presence will have a knock-on effect that will eventually harm company culture and ultimately your bottom line—far beyond the scope of their role alone. In aiming to address the impact of a toxic employee, insight into why people behave this way can be helpful.
Toxic behavior in the workplace can be a sign that the employee in question is going through personal issues, and taking out their emotions in a destructive way. Bereavement, trouble at home, or mental illness can all result in acting out if the employee in question doesn’t know how to navigate the challenges they face. Not dis-similarly, employees who are feeling insecure in their role may begin to behave in a toxic manner—exploiting the vulnerabilities of others as an unhealthy coping mechanism. In these moments, a supportive and open-door policy may allow you to turn the situation around.
In some cases, a toxic employee may simply feel the need to exert control and power over others. Research reveals that around 4% of people engage in this type of toxic behavior because they enjoy it. They may resort to manipulation and bullying because they feel they can get away with it. With this in mind, it is important to approach corporate investigations focusing on toxic employee behavior with the understanding that termination may become the only possible path to resolution. Finally, it is also vital to be aware that the toxic employee you see may only be the tip of the iceberg. At times, damaging employee behavior can serve as a clue to a larger pattern of workplace dysfunction.
Taking Action With a Swift and Effective Corporate Investigation
Many larger organizations may choose to tackle toxic employee culture with corporate internal investigations. However, for smaller businesses—and at times larger ones too—it can be hugely challenging to launch an impartial investigation of this nature.
Complex dynamics between employees and even entire teams can make the ethics of internal scrutiny difficult to assure, leaving the organization in question vulnerable to legal challenge or even litigation. Corporate internal investigations can provide clarity. When the issue at hand is of a sensitive nature, corporate investigations are typically easier when an impartial outsider with the expertise required to act quickly and diligently steps in as a specialist collaborator.
A skilled corporate investigations expert will be able to aid in the establishment of patterns of behavior, documenting both actions and impacts in order to build an air-tight case for discipline or dismissal. Through the application of a corporate culture audit, they will also be able to provide eye-opening advice, allowing you to avoid future run-ins with toxic employees, forging a stronger, more collaborative working environment in which your team can truly thrive. Finally, their presence will allow you to keep your own energy focused where it should be—on what counts. Managing a toxic employee can be a drain on leadership resources, but seasoned corporate investigators will lift the burden of handling toxic employees in your midst. Specializing in corporate security and investigations, corporate theft, white collar crime, risk consulting, and much more, Lauth Investigations make it their mission to help businesses create a firm foundation upon which success can stand proudly. In addition to tackling corporate investigations on their client’s behalf, Lauth investigators also provide corporate culture audits, illuminating workplace vulnerabilities so that harm can be mitigated. If you would like support in navigating toxic employee culture, discover more about what the team can do for your organization, or contact Lauth Investigations today.
Any entrepreneur or high-level executive knows that there’s a lot at stake when running a business. You might well wish you had an all-seeing eye, but the reality is that it’s impossible to steer the ship while keeping tabs on every last detail of operations.
Every leader hopes that their employees are team players, but even a lone bad actor can cause immeasurable damage that erodes from within. The tough reality is that what you don’t know might well hurt you. But, the good news is that corporate investigations firms are ready to help you achieve that all-knowing oversight—while you keep going about doing what you do best.
Why Undercover Corporate Investigations Are Sometimes the Best Option
Sometimes, our spider-senses tingle and we get the feeling that something is just not right. At others, we have a pretty clear idea of the nefarious activity that’s afoot, but we don’t have the airtight proof required to back it up. In these moments, a corporate investigation is the logical next step, but what would warrant taking that investigation undercover?
Discretion can be one of the primary appeals of keeping corporate investigations on the down-low. Until your suspicions are concrete, you might not want workplace problems to be revealed to employees, clients, or customers. At times, a strategic investigation may reveal there’s no need to rock the boat at all—or on the flip-side, the need for urgent action may be revealed. Either way, a deft and discreet investigation can demonstrate that you practice due diligence with the wellbeing and interests of all parties involved in mind.
Another aspect of keeping things covert, particularly relevant to corporate theft or corporate fraud investigations, is to stay ahead of ill intent. An employee who is oblivious to the fact that they are under investigation is less motivated to cover their tracks, watch their words, or even direct blame towards others. Corporate investigations that warrant uncovering evidence before it’s hidden are typically easier when conducted undercover—and in the meantime, dedicated employees and successful day-to-day operations can be safeguarded against disruption.
Using Undercover Corporate Investigation Services to Uncover the Truth
The range of underhand behavior that an undercover corporate investigation might serve is a broad one. Specialized and experienced undercover investigators are adept at gently teasing out the evidence required to act on white collar and corporate crime such as business fraud, employee misconduct, asset misuse, FMLA abuse, time theft, non-compete violations, and much more.
A high-caliber undercover corporate investigations service will be scaled to meet your needs—whether what is called for is simply intelligence gathering or the coordination of sting operations and the use of advanced surveillance equipment. A trusted investigator can advise you on the best course of action whether you hope to avoid litigation, or want to be optimally prepared for it. If there is a suspicion that problems are endemic, a corporate culture audit may help you address the problem at its source. Fundamentally, the role of investigators is to help you be the best corporate steward that you can be.
At times, covert operations are an efficient element of a larger investigation, aiming to illuminate why profits have fallen or team morale is down. Fully licensed corporate investigations firms offer the unique skill set of being able to marry going undercover with performing corporate background checks on employees, vendors, and contractors; investigating data security threats and carrying out audits; discreetly investigating your competitive market for signs of a non-compete violation; and more.
Choosing the Right Ally for a Successful Undercover Operation
Within a sea of corporate investigations firms, the right ally should stand out for its excellent track record and corporate-specific expertise. A firm with strong standing will be able to walk you quickly towards the perfect plan of attack—ensuring that investigative actions are mindful, effective, ethical, impartial, low risk, and legally advantageous. Their goal will be to build a solid body of documented evidence on your behalf so that you can take the necessary steps to right the ship, safeguard valued employees, and continue unimpeded towards your business objectives. The corporate investigations team at Lauth Investigations are seasoned veterans when it comes to launching agile and effective undercover investigations. We combine this resource with a full-spectrum corporate investigations toolkit, spanning from targeted investigations through to preventative Corporate Culture Audits. Learn more about what we do, or contact our team today.
As someone at the helm of a corporation or organization, you likely have a clear vision of what a smooth team work-flow looks like. You know that when executives and employees fall into a synergistic rhythm of getting things done, mountains can be moved. However, when that cohesive energy becomes elusive, it can be difficult to know what to do next. What causes that optimal functionality to flourish or fail? Fundamentally, the answer lies within shared culture. When productivity starts to sour, pin pointing how to improve corporate culture is just the ticket for getting things back on track.
What Is Corporate Culture?
When we describe company culture or organizational culture, what exactly do we mean? In essence, this type of culture can be defined as the personality of any given organization. It is the values, attitudes, beliefs, and motivations that are shared by everyone involved. The impact of this can be found within the way coworkers connect and collaborate, the way customers and external associates are treated, and the efficiency and innovation seen across the board.
The last decade has been abuzz with talk of businesses striving to improve their corporate culture. Driving this trend is data indicating that stronger internal culture delivers enhanced employee engagement, greater talent attraction and retention, and a powerful boost to the bottom line. Some businesses fall into the trap of imagining that culture can be corrected with the sweeping introduction of new perks or a change in office aesthetics, but in truth the key is more human than that. Forging unstoppable culture means strategically empowering and uniting employees. So, let’s explore how to improve corporate culture from the ground up.
Corporate Culture by Design
Before tackling existing culture and identifying how to shift it for the better, it is vital to lay out a blue print. This begins with revisiting the core values, mission statement, and employee value proposition of your organization, and confirming that they align not only with your business goals, but also with your corporate culture goals. Strong organizational culture is built upon both shared intentions and a shared sense of identity. Defining each of these clearly serves as an optimal launch point for infusing your team with a solid sense of direction.
Engage Your Team in the Creation Process
If your current corporate culture road map is lacking, deviations from optimal practices can become predictable, and the need for costly corporate investigations may follow. An effective way to encourage your most tenured team members, executives, and HR personnel to invest on a personal level in correcting this is to invite them to participate in the creative process required. Surveys and interviews will allow you to enlist the help of your human assets as you identify the current strength and weaknesses of existing culture, and the values that will serve as guiding lights moving forwards.
Modeling Corporate Culture
When it comes to both forging and reinforcing company culture, leaders must never forget that all eyes are on them. “Do as I say and not as a I do” will not stir motivation or emotional investment, but leading by example certainly will. In practical terms, this means not only modeling the behavior and attitudes that you want to see in your team, but also recognizing and elevating positive behaviors, and constructively calling out negative ones. Celebrate team wins, and take advantage of the potential 59% reduction in turnovers that employee recognition can provide.
Forge Trust With Operational Transparency
When it comes to employee satisfaction, morale, and motivation, communication is essential. Keeping employees abreast of targets through timely updates allows them to see the strategy behind their daily efforts. When open communication, clear objectives, and employee recognition are combined, leadership and team members alike are given the ingredients required for cooperative and innovative thinking. Implementing dependable opportunities for employees to both give and receive feedback allows you to track employee engagement, stay ahead of problems, and utilize opportunities that would otherwise remain unseen.
Call On an Expert
Whether you are wondering how to improve corporate culture in order to strengthen your organization, or are facing down an impending corporate investigations crisis, external expert assistance can provide an immediate path towards favorable outcomes. Specialists in corporate culture from Lauth Investigations are primed to objectively analyze the current cultural landscape within your business, and help you lay out a game plan that delivers transformative results. Learn more about corporate culture audits, the support we provide for workplace investigations, and more, by contacting us today.
Is it possible that the productivity and morale of your team suffering at the hands of toxic employee cliques? An uncomfortable workplace atmosphere or a downturn in performance might not lead you to think first of toxic employees. You might question the competency of your leadership or your own business strategy first, but a negative evolution within corporate culture can have a surprisingly erosive impact—often going unnoticed until substantial damage has been done.
At a most basic level, the formation of toxic employee cliques inevitably leads to a loss of profits, stalling workplace momentum, operational issues, and a rise in staff turnover. At the more insidious end of the scale, toxic culture can culminate in discrimination or workplace harassment complaints, and all of the potential legal and reputational complications that can follow.
Of course, every organization wants to see its employees get along. Strong working relationships can foster fantastic morale and cohesion when those bonds are healthy. So, how can employers tell the difference? Here, we will examine some of the tell-tale signs that a toxic employee clique may be impacting your business, and how professional workplace investigations can help you transform corporate culture for the better.
Negative Narratives Become Currency in the Workplace
While feedback is a vital progression tool within any company, a constant negative undertone is a strong indicator that toxic employees may be steering the dominant narrative within a workplace. That chronic negativity may manifest as gossip, backstabbing, or rumor spreading, or it may appear in more passive-aggressive forms—such as body language, sarcastic tones, disrespecting boundaries, cynicism, victimhood, and undermining others.
While team members of course need to vent on occasion, holding workplace narratives within a negative frame leaves no oxygen in the room for motivation, objective seeking, or innovative thinking. Toxicity tends to nourish itself, relegating the needs of others and of the company itself to the wayside.
A Tight-Knit Group Shows Signs of Ostracizing Others
Those who are embraced by a toxic employee clique may not notice the need for alarm bells immediately. However, for those left on the outside, the impact of a workplace clique’s presence will be felt immediately. Those excluded will begin to feel undervalued, dissatisfied, and demotivated. Meanwhile, the root cause of lost productivity and a dropping bottom line can remain elusive for those who don’t know the warning signs. While workplace friendships can be immensely valuable, they should never come at a cost to colleagues’ well-being, or company success.
Toxic Employee Clique Behavior Slides Into Bullying
While some forms of bullying are obvious, workplace bullying can be surprisingly hard to spot—especially when toxic employees resort to covert or manipulative behavior. While hostility to colleagues can take place within the workplace, cyberbullying can become pervasive before management even notice a blip on the radar. When toxic employee cliques demand conformity, both those within and outside of the group can start to avoid creative thinking, out of fear or reprisal. This waste of professional talent means less innovation within your business, and less work satisfaction for your employees.
Toxic Employee Cliques Thrive When Left Unaddressed
Failing to call out toxic employee behavior inevitably validates and emboldens the clique mindset, while further disempowering those outside of that unhealthy inner circle. Valuable and committed employees may well seek a better work environment elsewhere, while new recruits will be vulnerable to getting sucked into quickly-entrenched patterns of damaging behavior. As the performance of others begins to suffer, those within a toxic clique may respond competitively, showcasing their comparative strength and actively sabotaging co-workers.
Tacking Toxic Employee Cliques Head On
Many leaders and company owners don’t consider the value of corporate investigations until a major incident occurs. However, conducting a thorough investigation at the first point of suspicion—or even as a maintenance strategy—can allow organizations to nip toxic behavior in the bud before it begins to spread. Tactics such as breaking up cliques by asking employees to take on projects in different groups, or reworking—and re-training—codes of online and in-office conduct can be effective. However, it is essential to understand the scale of the problem in order to resolve it effectively. The impartial assistance of an expert investigator can be invaluable in revealing an honest picture of the current corporate culture within your organization. Learn more about the Corporate Culture Audits and Corporate Investigations offered by Lauth Investigations. Not only will we help you uncover the true state of play, but we will aid you in drawing a road map towards the type of workplace culture that will allow all of your employees to shine.