For the past few years, the world has shown a mixture of disgust and concern for the increasingly erratic behavior of musician, Kanye West. Despite a career punctuated by hit albums and singles, millions of dollars in concert tickets sold, and a level of popularity that was attractive to major brands, West is proving that there is a breaking point in which his behavior drives away his fans, and drives down revenue associated with his name. Not only has his personal rhetoric severely damaged his reputation across multiple industries, but now Kanye West is also garnering a track record of toxicity within corporate settings.
From crashing the award acceptance speeches of other musicians to changing his legal name to “Ye,” Kanye West is no stranger to being in the spotlight for his strange behavior. After garnering controversy by aligning himself with divisive figures such as former President Donald Trump and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, and exacerbating an acrimonious and very public divorce from ex-wife Kim Kardashian, the very mention of Kanye West’s name prompts eyerolls from many everyday fans and consumers. While the seemingly endless pageantry of grandstanding and posturing make it easy to dismiss his behavior as childish or inane, the reality is that Kanye West’s increasingly unacceptable behavior is having real impact in the professional world.
Given the totality of his documented behavior, it’s not an understatement to say Kanye West is a walking toxicity conduit. While we think of Kanye as an entertainer first, it’s difficult to remember that behind his entertainment empire are thousands of employees and business professionals who are required to deal with him on a weekly basis. Many of his public statements can be characterized as misogynistic, homophobic, racist, and even antisemitic. Kanye West has already publicly said problematic things about institutional hate and oppression—famously stating back in 2018 that 400 years of slavery in the United States was a choice for black people—but it wasn’t until recently that his words actually caused corporate partners to scatter to the winds.
Kanye first began partnering with Adidas in 2015 to release a line of footwear known as Yeezys. While Adidas was not the first footwear company to work with West, they certainly had the longest tenure. However, a series of tweets and public statements have recently caused Adidas to dissolve their business relationship with rapper. Back in October, West startled the public with an alarmingly antisemitic tweet that read “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE…” West went on to say that it was impossible for him to be antisemitic and that the Jewish people oppressed anyone who did not agree with them. Adidas was not alone in severing ties with West, joined by the likes of Balenciaga, Peloton, and prominent talent agency, CAA.
If his horrific statements about Jewish people weren’t toxic enough to a workplace culture, Adidas announced last week that they would be launching an investigation into possible misconduct West displayed in the workplace. An open letter was sent by former employees of Yeezy Adidas’ executive board members and CEO claiming that “leaders of Adidas were aware of West’s problematic behavior’ but ‘turned their moral compass off,” when it came to that aforementioned behavior, implying that this is part of a larger pattern that has never been addressed. In addition to claims of West verbally abusing women on staff, it was also alleged that he would show pornographic videos to staff members during meetings that featured his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian—including pornographic videos featuring himself. The open letter also alleged that there were “disturbingly” sexualized work conditions that targeted women on Yeezy’s staff, along with bullying tactics that ensured West would get what he wanted.
In workplace environments where celebrities are not part of the fold, behavior like that of Kanye West would not be tolerated. His alleged behavior is not in any sort of gray area, meaning that if they did in fact occur and were reported to the staff, then Adidas was responsible for letting a toxic element rot their corporate culture for the sake of a big-name partnership. While it’s true that celebrity partnerships can bring a great deal of exposure and popularity for a company or product, the internal damage that can be done by toxic members of staff can cast a long shadow, both internally and externally. With toxic staff members comes increased turnover, disengagement from employees, and negative public relations should that toxicity ever come to light. Despite the millions to be made from partnerships with celebrities and other representatives of note, the damage that a toxic representative or partner can cost a corporation can take years to mend in the public eye.
If your corporation is having difficulties with a toxic employees, contact Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our corporate culture audit program at 317-951-1100, or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com.
More and more businesses these days are cottoning onto the idea that healthy corporate culture drives performance and profits. But what if leadership doesn’t know good culture indicators from their elbows? You might imagine that the red flags indicating that something is off would be blatant, but the cues telling you that your corporate culture has hit the skids can actually be pretty nuanced.
Yes, when a workplace is ingrained with habitual practices, it’s easy to miss the warning signals. So let’s examine the signs of a toxic work environment a little more closely. These are pointers that you can look for from the leadership perspective, or simply as a concerned member of the team. Check out our toxic workplace checklist so that you can claim a greater understanding of your organization’s current cultural state:
Red Flag #1: Runaway Employee Turnover
One of the first signs that your workplace is veering into toxicity is an escalation in employee turnover. You might not see clear signs on the office floor that things are going wrong, but if you’re getting a lot of notice letters or employees are getting laid off or fired at a faster rate than usual, don’t assume that this issue will correct automatically. There is a reason why your team is jumping ship, and those earning the ultimate discipline are likely not doing so in a vacuum.
Red Flag #2: Running Burnout Due to Poor Work-Life Balance
Next on our toxic workplace checklist, we find the gremlin of poor work-life-balance. If you notice that employees are exhibiting signs of burnout, it is likely that a lack of healthy work boundaries, unrealistic expectations, lack of recognition, and always-on-the-clock stress is to blame. Long gone is the era when leaders imagined that griding employees toward their targets would yield long-term results. Balance is essential if performance is to be optimized and sustainable.
Red Flag #3: Poor Communication and Mismanagement
Poor communication can have your teams running around in circles, looking productive but not getting much done. This might mean a lack of clarity around projects, inefficient siphons leading to duplicated efforts, frustrated employees who feel unheard, and micromanagement from leaders who overcompensate because they don’t know how to direct their teams effectively.
Red Flag #4: Cliques and Bullying Run Rife
Among sure signs of a toxic work environment is when things start to get passive aggressive, hostile, harassing, bullying, gossipy, cliquey, preferential, or selectively withholding. At best, these kinds of behaviors can trigger your greatest talent heading for the door. At worst, you can expect to see discrimination, sexual harassment, or bullying complaints landing on your desk, and potentially a downward slide towards litigation laid out before you. Clique-ish behavior should always be taken seriously, before it gets the chance to escalate.
Red Flag #5: Forward Movement Has Stalled
A lack of opportunity for progression, poor team morale, staff that feel underchallenged or overchallenged, an a lack of alignment between company values and the truth on the ground will all contribute to employees switching off in a big way. This can stifle growth, slam on the breaks, and even trigger a high-rev reverse away from your brand’s success. So don’t allow neglected corporate culture to erode what likely took years to build. Re-review this toxic workplace checklist and decide if further action needs to be taken.
What To Do When Concerned About Corporate Culture
Fixing corporate culture gone awry begins with understanding the why and how of it all. The best way to achieve this is with a comprehensive corporate culture audit. This process will serve-as a health check for your organization, bringing to light the toxic traits that are undermining your brand’s success and the wellbeing of your team.
It’s important to know, too, that these issues can arise across work-from-home teams just as readily as they do in a shared work environment. So turn to a skilled and trusted auditor from Lauth Investigations International to turn the tables on a toxic company culture. Learn more about the process or reach out to our corporate team today. A consultation is no-obligation and we’re ready to explain exactly how we can help.
Your organizational structure—does it serve you in preventing embezzlement, or is a loaded gun simply waiting to go off? Countless business owners across the US see employee fraud or embezzlement as something that only happens to other people, but in reality, the statistics sing to another tune.
Starkly, research tells us that embezzlement impacts around 95% of businesses. So if it hasn’t touched your company yet, then you are living the exception rather than the rule. The same data reveals that the average embezzler has worked for the organization they attack from the inside for eight years. This means that perpetrators are trusted, core members of the teams they undermine, making implementing preventative measures an essential pursuit.
One aspect of keeping the horror of a hole in your books at bay is conducting comprehensive background checks on everyone entering your team. Why? Because 4% of embezzlers are found to have had prior convictions—red flags that their employer would have spotted if they’d done the appropriate groundwork. But that defense is only a partial salve. A far larger puzzle piece for preventing embezzlement is building staunch safeguards into your corporate structure. So let’s look at why this tactic is so important, and how you can get expert assistance if you feel your current modus operandi is far from bulletproof.
Leaving the Door Open to Embezzlers
Sadly, for those of us in the corporate investigations business, this is a story as old as our profession. Company after company comes to rely upon that one gold-standard employee. They’re the dependable one—the bedrock of daily operations—and as such, their reach and control gradually extends and the checks and measures fall away. Of course, not all trusted managers or C-suite executives will leverage the opportunity to embezzle when they meet it. But the right cocktail of means and motive can lead to a slow-burning crisis with a sizable crescendo.
When asked by researchers, employees who stole from their employers, 24% said that they did so simply because they knew they could get away with it. Of course, factors such as personal financial woes or a build up of resentment at work due to poor corporate culture can all contribute to creating that melting pot-moment, but in essence, no employer can predict with certainty which rock-solid employee may take a turn in a far darker direction.
Not only do these factors justify why thoughtful measures for preventing embezzlement are so vital, but so too does the fact that most embezzlers get away with their crimes over an extended period. Among employees committing fraud, the average window within which they are able to siphon off money undetected is 18-24 months. That’s a mighty long time for your company’s assets to be hemorrhaging, so how can changing corporate structure close that window and lock it down tightly?
Preventing Embezzlement By Changing Corporate Structure
The reality is that an embezzler needs space to work—they need the scope to insert their falsified figures and fraudulent documentation; to paper over the cracks that would reveal their misdeeds. This means that developing systems that ensure all numbers are cross-checked and never the responsibility of one individual alone will certainly create a substantial obstacle to such endeavors.
Rotation of duties, multi-managerial verification, and tightly controlled and monitored access to high-value—or even low-value—assets can serve as guard-rails that protect against entry into embezzlement-friendly territory. And while it might seem that these practices are peppered with mistrust, in practice, they allow the opposite to blossom. When anti-theft measures are taken as gospel and followed to the letter, teams can enjoy an environment of confidence and collaboration that is far healthier and far less vulnerable to crime. So, is your corporate structure up to the task? If the question gives you cause to pause for thought then the corporate team at Lauth Investigations International can help. We combine expert services such as Corporate Culture Audits and tailored risk assessments to help businesses just like yours avoid leaving the ranks of the graced 5% of businesses unaffected by embezzlement. We can also aid with detailed background checks and workplace investigations if anything doesn’t add up. Turn to a trusted ally by reaching out to our team today and we’ll be happy to talk you through your options.
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.
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.
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.