When you’re at the helm of an enterprise in motion, it might not seem that a missing stapler could derail you, but what if this tiny example of employee theft is just the tip of the iceberg? In truth, a steady drift of office supplies should be seen as stark waves of warning—because they are a measurable metric for the health of your corporate culture.
Yes, someone raiding the supply closet might not seem like a serious form of employee theft, but don’t be fooled. When culture in the workplace begins to erode, it often marks a beginning of a steady slide into more troubled waters ahead. If you want to avoid future woes such as inventory losses, malingering, embezzlement, and fraud, then this article is for you. Let’s look at the facts.
Why Small-Scale Employee Theft Requires a Serious Response
While its true that missing office supplies can be the handiwork of a single trouble-making employee who slipped through the net of your recruitment screening process, it is important to ask yourself: might it suggest that there is a problem with your wider organizational culture?
Perhaps you’re a whiz at spotting employees engaged in the act of petty theft—you might even enjoy apprehending them. However, if you’ve come to expect their presence and encounter them frequently, then you are accustomed to an unnecessary reality. In fact, not only is it unnecessary, but you also have to wonder, what is the accumulated value of all of those drifting supplies? What if employees comfortable with stealing are finding other ways to rob you of your assets? Perhaps most poignantly, what will this be doing to the morale of your honest employees—are you losing high-caliber talent because your company culture has soured?
Fixing Corporate Culture to Eliminate Employee Theft
Sure, some people feel entitled to steal from the get-go, but in many cases, this behavior didn’t manifest in a vacuum. Employees who feel disgruntled in one way or another can often slide into feeling that the company owes them recompense. This might be due to poor leadership attitudes, an unhealthy cliquey environment, being overlooked too many times for advancement without understanding why, or feeling stressed and overstretched by unrealistic expectations and a lack of work-life balance—to name but a few examples.
Making matters more complicated, as soon as a company grows beyond a small team, it becomes increasingly challenging for the central leadership team to keep tabs on culture as it evolves. At times, it is the most trusted and long-serving managers who are unwittingly dropping spanners between the gears, while at others, a bad hire can become a bad apple that rots much of the barrel before being identified. This is exactly why those little office supply losses should be viewed as a canary in the coal mine.
If you’re lucky, then company culture breakdown is in its earliest stages and you can course-correct immediately. If you are less fortunate, you’ll at least be able to uncover serious problems and stop financial losses before they get any worse. In either case, a Corporate Culture Audit is an excellent place to start.
We Can Help
This savvy service from Lauth Investigations International will afford you a birds-eye view of your organization’s inner workings. Once armed with the facts, you can explore following our guidance on how to enhance the health of your corporate culture, launch fully supported investigations into any employee misconduct discovered, and eliminate any procedural vulnerabilities to minimize future risk. Are you ready to learn more? Then connect with our corporate investigations team today and lets get those office supplies back where they belong.
Multi-level marketing (MLM) companies have been around for decades, promising a path to financial independence and success to those willing to invest time and money into their products and recruitment systems. However, the corporate structure of these MLMs are often inherently problematic. These flawed structures are just part MLM corporate culture, but not everyone is aware of how toxic they can be.
Multi-level marketing companies can be very diverse in their industry and product type, but they typically do share one crucial characteristic: One of the biggest issues with MLM corporate culture is the pressure to recruit and build a downline. MLM companies rely heavily on recruiting new members and encouraging them to recruit others in turn, creating a pyramid-like structure. The pressure to constantly recruit and build a larger downline can be overwhelming, with distributors often feeling like they are letting down their team or missing out on potential income if they aren’t actively recruiting. This pressure can lead to a culture of manipulation and exploitation, where distributors are encouraged to prioritize recruiting over actually selling products. In fact, some MLM companies have been accused of being pyramid schemes because their compensation plans heavily favor recruitment over product sales.
Another issue with MLM corporate culture is the emphasis on personal development and self-improvement. While personal growth can be a positive thing, MLM companies often use it as a way to control and manipulate their distributors. Distributors are told that if they just work harder, believe in themselves more, and attend more company events, they will be successful. This can lead to a culture of victim-blaming, where distributors who aren’t successful are seen as not working hard enough or not believing in themselves enough, rather than acknowledging the systemic issues within the MLM industry.
Furthermore, MLM corporate culture can be isolating and all-consuming. Distributors are often encouraged to distance themselves from friends and family members who are skeptical of the MLM model, and to spend all of their free time attending company events, making sales calls, and recruiting new members. This can lead to a loss of social support outside of the MLM community and a dependence on the company for validation and social interaction.
Finally, MLM corporate culture can be financially devastating for many distributors. The pressure to constantly buy products to maintain their status within the company and the expectation that they will invest significant amounts of money into attending company events can lead to significant financial strain. In addition, many distributors are paid only on commission and are not provided with any benefits or job security, making it difficult to plan for their future or support themselves and their families.
The corporate culture within multi-level marketing companies can be incredibly toxic, with a heavy emphasis on recruitment, manipulation, isolation, and financial strain. While MLM companies may promise a path to financial independence and success, the reality for many distributors is quite different. It is important for individuals to educate themselves about the risks associated with MLMs and to seek out alternative ways to achieve their goals.
Workplace culture is crucial to a company’s success. The culture is what determines how employees within the organization behave. When executed correctly, company culture aligns the company’s mission, vision, values, and goals. It is no longer a secret that when employees are happy, they become more productive, and the workplace will likely achieve outstanding success.
Most employees consider a positive company culture highly instrumental to business success. According to Deloitte’s research, an estimated 94% of executives and 88% of employees think a positive and distinct company culture is essential for business success. This is probably because a positive company culture has a way of increasing employee engagement. In addition, a positive corporate culture attracts and retains talented employees committed to working hard to help it achieve its short and long-term objectives.
Many managers and business owners may already know the importance of a great corporate culture. But the big question is; Do they know how to create a work environment where employees want to stay? A great way to start as a manager is by implementing fantastic benefits that improve workplace culture. Here are some of the benefits that can help turn your workplace into a positive and thriving environment;
1. Encourage physical activity
You can help improve your workplace culture by encouraging your employees to be more physically active. Nowadays, the importance of a healthy lifestyle can never be overemphasized. It prevents diseases and keeps people fit, improving their moods and self-esteem. In addition, regular physical activity can improve energy levels and concentration, making your employees excel according to their full potential. Physical activity can also reduce stress, anxiety, and depression among your employees. A healthier workforce can lead to lower healthcare costs and lower absenteeism rates.
There are, however, several ways of encouraging your employees to be physically active. For example, you could provide a well-equipped on-site gym for them, allowing them to exercise after working hours or on weekends. Alternatively, you could subsidize gym membership to encourage them to register at off-site gyms. Also, as a manager, you could start a company’s sports team or encourage your employees to participate in group fitness classes. Whatever you do, make sure there are options for everyone to find an activity that works for them.
2. Offer flexible work hours.
A company that offers flexible work hours has a way of motivating its employees to be highly productive. The significant advantage of providing your employees flexible work hours is that it gives them the freedom to work when they are most effective. For example, with flexible work hours, employees who are more productive in the mornings can work morning shifts, while those more productive later in the day can work afternoon shifts. As a result, flexible work hours improve work/life balance and increase job satisfaction. It can also help attract and retain top talent.
If you need help implementing flexible work hours, you can always start by surveying your employees to see what would work best for them. In addition, you could also offer a trial period to see how it works before making any permanent changes.
3. Provide free or discounted meals.
Free or discounted meals are a great way to show your employees that you appreciate and care about their wellbeing. Besides, providing your employees with free or discounted meals will also help them save money and time. For example, if you offer them free meals during lunch, they may not have any reason to commute to other parts of the city to have lunch during breaks. Also, they get to save money they would have otherwise used to buy their meals.
Nevertheless, one of the best ways to provide free or discounted meals to your employees is to partner with a local restaurant or a catering company. You could also set up a lunchroom in the office with equipment such as a fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. Whatever you do, ensure that the options guarantee healthy eating habits for your employees.
4. Offer paid time off for volunteering.
As a manager, you could also improve your workplace culture by encouraging employees to give back to their communities. The best way to achieve this is by offering them paid time off for volunteering. Paid time off for volunteering shows employees that you value their time and commitment to making a difference in their communities. Moreover, it’s also a great way to build team morale and camaraderie.
However, to offer paid time off for volunteering, start by partnering with a nonprofit. You could also encourage employees to volunteer for company-sponsored events. Whatever you do, give your employees notice so they can plan their time off accordingly.
When it comes to your workplace culture, the costs associated with offering employees a better quality of life while on your team can be far less than the costs associated with turnover. Employee retention goes up and happy employees yield a higher level of output than employees who are dissatisfied with their work-life balance.
The rise and fall of the blood-testing company, Theranos, has already been heavily documented through journalism, a podcast, and a documentary. Consumers have long been privy to the meteoric ascent of alleged wunderkind, Elizabeth Holmes, who started the company when she was only 19 years old in 2003 in the pursuit of developing a method of testing blood that required smaller samples and vastly shorter testing times, all by a machine. As many of us know now, this was eventually proven to be false. While Holmes’ attempts to turn the medical technology industry on its ear may have gone off the rails there has been recent discourse regarding how companies across the entire economy can learn from the mistakes of Theranos’ harmful organizational culture that played a role in its ultimate undoing.
The harmful organizational culture of Theranos likely played a large role in allowing the company to subsist for so long on fraudulent claims to both investors and consumers. Because dishonesty and cutting corners were a major part of the culture within the company, employees at all levels were forced to make a choice to either be complicit in the fraud, or walk away from the operation entirely. However, in examining the culture of fear that Holmes managed to foster throughout her tenure with the company, it’s worth noting how management and executives must be viigilant of similar behaviors within their own corporations to protect themselves against harmful organizational culture.
No Fear Careers
The culture of fear within Theranos was practically by design when it came to defrauding investors. Employees feared they would be subject to litigation or loss of employment if they asked too many questions or became too loose-lipped regarding Edison. This was the first prong in perpetuating the fraud. The second prong was how the harmful organizational culture leaked outside the company to third parties. Not only did it prevent internal employees from blowing the whistle on Theranos’ shortcomings, but it also prevented those outside the company from asking vital questions. Experts who had been contracted to consult or work directly on the project were scrutinizing the capabilities of Edison, but Elizabeth Holmes and her associates were successful in silencing these detractors. As a result, there was never an honest and critical dialogue of Theranos’ mission and values, which contributed to its destruction in 2015.
Fear is just one way that harmful organizational culture can poison the company well. One of the greatest marks of a company’s culture can be the measure of those who were either willing or unwilling to hitch their horses to its wagon. It’s easy to dismiss a lower-level employee who could have walked away from the company for a laundry list of reasons. However, the departure of most enmeshed professionals deserves a closer look. Theranos and Holmes poached engineers and technicians from corporate giants such as Apple and reputable scientists to consult on Edison, but when those professionals balked or dissented along the way, they left the project. Advertisers also began to jump ship when their confidence in the product were understandably shaken. What’s important for other business owners to understand is that when there is a pattern of employees or contractors headed for the door, their must be steps in place to ensure the full picture is in crisp focus—things like exit interviews detailing their reasons for leaving, so that any toxic aspects of the company culture will be brought to light.
Corporate Culture Checkup
With the concept of corporate culture encapsulating so many different aspects of a business’ organizational structure, most in leadership are unsure of where to begin when it comes to evaluating it. However, if there’s one main takeaway from the Theranos’ collapse, it’s that corporate culture must be periodically evaluated in order to maintain the company’s mission and values. Because Theranos executives did not prioritize maintaining their corporate culture, a harmful rot was able to infect the organizational structure, and persistently grow over a decade. Not only must leadership invest in having their corporate culture evaluated, but once they have the full picture, they must take concrete steps towards adjusting day-to-day operations, acquiring new tools and methods for reinforcing their culture, and holding any employees who have been involved in misconduct accountable for their actions.
Workplace culture refers to shared values, norms, and beliefs that characterize an organization or enterprise. It is like a social operating system that influences how employees interact, communicate, and collaborate. Of course, improving workplace culture goes a long way in influencing how employees interact with clients and their communities at large. A company’s culture can either positively impact the organization by making it thrive or adversely affect it by causing it to suffer.
As a leader, you need to continuously strive hard to improve or upgrade your operating system to help your organization achieve its short- and long-term objectives. Of course, there is no specific strategy to improve workplace culture, but so far, most leaders have focused on carrying out a culture audit, which helps them identify the existing cultural problems and take the proper steps to overcome them.
A strong workplace culture is essential for the success of every organization. While there can be many strategies for improving workplace culture, the most effective ones often start from the top. Here are a few key ingredients that the management could use to enhance workplace culture;
Define a clear and inspiring mission for the organization.
One of the most crucial things the top management can in improving workplace culture is to define a clear and inspiring mission for the organization. Employees are more likely to be at their best and work according to their full potential if they believe in the organization’s missions. A clear and inspiring mission will make employees think they are part of something larger than themselves, pushing them to work even harder. In addition, when employees become aware of their organization’s mission, they start to understand exactly how their efforts can contribute to its overall success.
Define the core values of the organization.
An organization’s core values are clearly stated principles regarding its vision, mission, and regulations. However, core values that promote growth, development, commitment to open communication, and balanced life will likely reflect positively on your organization’s culture. For example, when employees feel free to share their ideas and feedback without fear of retribution, they are most likely to come up with great ideas to help the organization achieve its short and long-term goals. Similarly, when employees feel they have opportunities to learn and grow within the company, they become more committed to using their existing resources to work according to their full potential. In addition, when employees feel like they can balance their work and personal lives, they become mentally sound and motivated to do their best at work. So, defining the correct core values is a crucial step for top-management to help improve workplace culture.
Encourage employee recognition
Encouraging employee recognition can also help improve your company’s culture. Of course, employee recognition is different from employee appreciation. While appreciation helps make employees feel valued for their talents, contributions, and positive attitude toward work, recognition focuses more on showing appreciation through actions. An example of employee recognition is officially appreciating the best worker in every department with a car gift, cash, or a trip to a beautiful resort at the end of the year. Nevertheless, employee recognition is essential as it goes a long way to raise employee engagement. According to statistics, an estimated 78% of employees claim they become more engaged in their workplaces whenever they receive strong recognition from their organizations. However, aside from rising engagement levels, employee recognition encourages innovations and high productivity levels and also goes a long way to attract and retain qualified employees.
Create positive experiences for employees.
Creating positive employee experiences can also help improve your workplace culture as a manager. Company culture and employee experiences are intrinsically connected. Employee experiences, however, refer to the combined feelings of your employees about their experiences within the organization. Therefore, factors, including conversations, interactions, work tools, and processes, can form the overall experiences of employees. Positive experiences will contribute to a great employee experience. In contrast, negative experiences such as lack of team connection, inability to access working resources, and degrading comments from superiors could result in a poor employee experience. So as a leader, you need to be intentional about fostering positive employee experiences, which can, in turn, result in greater employee engagement and increased enthusiasm.
Give teams autonomy
The importance of autonomy in teams within workplaces can never be overemphasized. As a leader of an organization, you must give team members self-governing powers to build a culture of teamwork and contribution. So instead of trying to micro-manage all the teams within your organization, it’s better to encourage team autonomy while simultaneously setting the tones and expectations of these teams. For example, it would make more sense to guide the teams within your organization instead of always telling them what to do. Your responsibility as a leader is to mentor, inspire, connect, and trust your units instead of dictating what must be done. After all, autonomy goes a long way to paving the way for creativity and innovation.
Organize one-to-ones periodically
Another important way of improving workplace culture is to organize one-on-one meetings periodically. Such meetings are a perfect opportunity for you to converse with your employees and discover the problems affecting them individually and within the organization. During such meetings, you must allow them to speak openly while you carefully listen to them. Remember, you could use the outcomes of such meetings to upgrade or improve your organization’s procedures, leading to greater employee engagement and higher productivity levels.
The modern workplace is ever-changing, and with that comes new challenges for employers regarding maintaining a safe and comfortable environment for their employees. As an employer, one of the best ways to ensure your workplace is safe and up to par is by conducting a company culture audit.
A company culture audit thoroughly examines your workplace culture and policies to identify areas requiring improvement. It is often conducted internally to enable managers to see just how well their employees communicate and act and how well the organization’s values are reflected in the employees at every given time.
A culture audit is essential for organizations for several reasons;
It can help point out culture problems.
After a thorough culture audit, the management can uncover several things, including dissatisfied employees, communication issues, and other hidden issues that adversely affect the organization’s culture.
It helps improve the workplace culture.
Managers and business owners can only improve their workplace cultures after measuring them. A culture audit, therefore, helps organizations target all those areas and sectors that require improvements. Besides, a thorough company culture audit can suggest the appropriate initiatives for implementation.
It gives employees freedom of speech.
In most organizations, employees rarely have the opportunity to speak up when they notice a problem with their culture. However, a culture audit allows employees to voice their opinions about the things affecting their culture.
Evaluates how well your efforts have impacted your organization’s culture
As a manager or business owner, you must have taken several steps to create a healthy company culture. Nevertheless, it can be hard to tell the effectiveness of your steps without a proper culture audit. However, through a culture audit, you can get to know the extent your organization’s culture is improving, so you can, in turn, make relevant adjustments.
It helps you retain talents.
Above all, a company culture audit will help you retain your employees. There are indications that most employees would prefer to work in companies with a better culture. According to statistics, 48% of employees who believe their company culture is poor often seek new employment. But then, a company culture audit will help you determine whether your employees are happy, so you can make adjustments and changes before they decide to leave.
However, when conducting a company culture audit, there are a few areas you need to focus on to ensure that your workplace is a safe and welcoming environment for all of your employees. They include;
Workplace safety comprises an integral part of the workplace culture. Unlike in unsafe work settings, employees are generally happier in safer work environments. Therefore, while doing a culture audit of your organization, you must determine if your existing policies and procedures adequately address safety concerns. You must also find out if the working environment is free of potential hazards. And above all, are your employees trained on how well to stay safe at work? Finally, of course, you should be ready to modify your procedures or suggest actionable steps to improve safety within your organization at the end of the culture audit.
A favorable workplace environment is undoubtedly more attractive to employees. However, the truth is that when the working environment is conducive, employees can easily work according to their full potential, which is often reflected in high productivity and high-profit margins. Therefore, during your company’s culture audit, you need to determine whether your workplace is comfortable and conducive to productivity. For example, find out if your employees can take breaks when needed and whether they have access to all the necessary resources to do their jobs effectively. Again, after the findings, you should be able to make proposals and take steps toward improving the workplace environment.
Employee wellbeing refers to an organization’s overall physical, mental, emotional, and economic health. Positive employee wellbeing is reflected in high rates of employee retention, higher levels of productivity, and higher profit margins and returns on investment. Therefore, as a leader or manager, you must determine if your employees are supported in their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. And, of course, the best way to find this out is through a culture audit. During the audit, be intentional about finding out if they have access to affordable and quality healthcare. Also, ask them if they have a good work/life balance and take the proper steps to improve their wellbeing.
Diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are also critical in most workplaces. There is always a cause for concern when certain groups of people feel discriminated against within the workplace. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that diversity and inclusion be one of the most significant areas of focus during a culture audit of an organization. The culture audit is, therefore, the perfect opportunity to find out if your workplace represents the diversity of your community and whether or not your employees feel valued and included, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or other identities.
Sexual harassment and discrimination
Whether we admit it or not, sexual harassment and discrimination are more common in workplaces than many people want to admit. And, of course, it takes a toll on individual victims and the organization. Therefore, it is crucial to focus on sexual harassment and discrimination during a culture audit. You should ask yourself whether you have implemented the right policies and procedures to prevent and address sexual harassment and discrimination within your organization. Also, you must determine if your employees know of such policies and procedures.