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.
As never before, today’s consumers expect the brands they buy into to lead by example when it comes to equality and social justice. Any organization that allows workplace discrimination to run rampant is not only going to face the potential of legal repercussions, but also substantial reputational damage that is hard to bounce back from.
In contrast, when companies choose to take a hard moral line, express their values openly, foster strong corporate culture, and tackle any internal challenges head on, they can come out wearing a badge of honor in the eyes of their audience. So ask yourself, is your organization setting a shining example, or are you asleep at the wheel?
What Is Workplace Discrimination?
While workplace harassment of any kind should always be taken seriously, discrimination carries a particular weight. In essence, discrimination describes the unfair treatment of an applicant or employee on the basis of their skin color, race, national origin, religion, gender, sexuality, age, marital status, or handicap. In dealing with an issue that lands under both Federal and State employment and labor laws, employers are responsible for ensuring that discrimination does not find a home within the teams for which they are responsible.
Discrimination may arise in the behavior of a single rogue employee, or it may present as a pervasive aspect of a corroded corporate culture. It is also vital to be aware that prejudice and discriminatory behavior can emerge upon any rung of the corporate ladder, from low-level recruits right up to the C-suite.
Swift and Appropriate Action
In many cases, an employer may be entirely unaware that a member of their team possesses problematic qualities. However, ignorance can be unforgiving; when a complaint arises, the fallout can escalate quickly. If alleged discrimination is reported as a crime, those at the helm of HR for the company may find that they are not only navigating their own internal workplace investigations, but that law enforcement agencies are on the scene as well. Pressure to arrive at a fair and just resolution can mount even further if the workplace discrimination complaint arrives in the public eye.
When employers navigate discrimination complaints poorly, they not only risk untold damage to team morale and company perception, but also legal culpability for allowing discrimination to go unaddressed. In the midst of such a challenging situation—particularly when the accused is in a leadership role—HR personnel and upper management can find mounting an impartial workplace investigation particularly challenging. In this scenario, calling on the aid of an external expert can ensure the integrity and legal solidity of each step yet to be taken.
Hiring a Private Investigator When Discriminations Complaints Arise
Given the gravity of this type of complaint, bringing in the cavalry in the form of a private investigator can be invaluable. Highly skilled corporate investigators from Lauth Investigations are ready to offer the skill set required to deliver a fair and moral outcome. A seasoned investigator will take the lead on corporate investigations, reviewing background histories, interviewing witnesses, and documenting patterns until a full picture emerges. With surveillance capabilities and the capacity to go undercover at our fingertips, we will find the right strategy to reveal the information you need.
Private investigators specializing in corporate investigations are adept at working delicately alongside law enforcement, while maintaining confidentiality, and sensitively safeguarding both employee well-being and brand identities alike. We are poised to aid in the navigation of legal matters, and can help organizations deliver justice while avoiding potential employee retaliation litigation. Learn more about how we can assist when workplace discrimination complaints arise, discover the bountiful rewards of Corporate Culture Audits. We are always on hand, so contact our team to discuss the unique needs of your organization.
The media and financial worlds saw the grueling impact of poor workplace culture this week as media giant Fox News has finally agreed to pay $1 million in penalties after a workplace culture investigation concluded following allegations of sexual misconduct within the network. The allegations ended in the departure of Fox’s co-founded Roger Ailes, and anchor, Billy O’Reilly. The chairperson and commission for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis, stated in an interview on Tuesday, “This is the largest civil penalty that has ever been levied by the City Commission on Human Rights. We need to send a message in order to deter future acts of harassment or retaliation.”
Part of the success of the settlement is the clause that prevents Fox News from requiring confidential arbitration in cases where an employee files a complaint under the Human Rights Law. This action prevents Fox News from privately hashing out the legalities of such complaints behind closed doors with little to no public accountability, giving the corporate culture little to no reason for change. Corporations, especially highly visible ones like those resembling Fox News, must have the oversight in place to ensure problems like sexual harassment allegations do not have the consequential chance to gut the company from within. With an appropriate structure in place, a workplace culture investigation can draw problems like employee misconduct out into the open as if drawing poison from a wound.
Stories like the one about Fox and their workplace culture investigation are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, seeking a workplace culture investigation in order to excise malignant sources of disruption from your company’s daily operations is an investment in the longevity of the company. Employers who are vigilant about their workplace culture can expect to see an increase in productivity as employees become more engaged in their jobs as the result of healthy corporate culture. However, it’s headlines like the ones associated with the Fox settlement that also have employers recoiling at the idea of a workplace culture investigation. After all, the investigation could very easily turn up problems that will continue to cost the company time and money in correcting. Employers may be expected to pay out large sums in court as the result of any subsequent legal action, and the bad press associated with workplace culture investigations are undesirable in the corporate world. However, the longer corporations and employers ignore the issues surrounding workplace culture, the more devastating they can expect the impact will be once the problem is forced into the open through circumstances such as whistle-blowing, criminal investigations, or involvement from another state or federal entity. In the case of Fox, the fallout from sexual harassment allegations should have come as no surprise to internal staff who have fielded these allegations over and over again. In any case however, the hope that the publicity of a workplace culture investigation will once and for all force the company to overhaul their culture and improve the lives of their employees and the longevity of their company.
If you have need of a workplace culture investigation, consider Lauth Investigations International for your needs. We are staffed by former military and law enforcement personnel with diverse experience in workplace culture investigations. We carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and regularly receive grateful reviews from out clients. Call 317-951-1100 for a free consultation or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com
How do your employees actually feel about you? Answer this burning question with a corporate culture audit.
It’s a question many business owners and employers may ask themselves often. There’s no shortage of dark humor regarding the 9 to 5 grind and the bosses who are at the top looking down. The relationship between an employer and their workforce is crucial to the overall productivity of day-to-day operations. When trying to improve employer-employee relations, you may require the surreptitious expertise of an undercover private investigator to conduct a corporate culture audit into your business.
Many businesses believe they can get an accurate picture of their business from within by tasking internal employees with getting to the root of the problem. However, what internal investigators lack is objectivity. They have their own biases regarding the people they work with, and the ability to remain 100% objective is tainted by their associations. Not only that, but in any subsequent action, the motivations of such an internal investigator may be called into question. It’s best to stick with an investigator who has no stake—directly or indirectly—in the outcome.
When it comes to your business, you don’t know what you don’t know. Think of a corporate culture audit like a medical checkup for your business. An independent professional comes into your business, either straightforwardly or undercover, and begins with a conversation with leadership and human resources. Just like an intake for a physical, the professional would ask questions about the functionality of the business, what day-to-day operations are like, and what patterns of disruption are regularly occurring. Once the intake is complete, the corporate investigator or private investigator will develop a plan to pull the corporation out of its pattern of disruption.
A corporate culture audit is a great way to take the exact temperature of employee morale. Corporate investigators can engage employees in diverse questions about the business, how much they enjoy their job, and what their level of engagement in the job itself is. Judging the level of engagement is important because an employee’s level of engagement in their job will have a direct impact on how well they do their job, which in turn has a direct impact on the level of productivity. Corporate culture investigators can pinpoint the problems in an organization that cause employees to disengage from their jobs and consequently raise the level of productivity in the organization.
Employees may not always be honest when asked to provide feedback on leadership in a corporation or organization, especially if such forums are not anonymous. They may fear for their job security, or retaliation against them for being honest. Regardless of the motivation, a covert or anonymous feedback forum is one of the many things that a corporate culture auditor could facilitate. In addition to the anonymity of such a measure, employees may also feel more emboldened to accurately describe their feelings to a third-party. In this way, employers can get a real picture of how their employees not only feel about the business, but also about themselves as an employer.
Corporations in 2021 cannot afford to shirk the exposure and customer relations benefits of the internet and social media. A social media presence allows a corporation to cultivate a personality with their customer base through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now TikTok. While Facebook itself has options for buying adspace to users, most platforms have the inherent value of free advertising, provided the corporation is able to build a following and maintain a visible presence. Social media itself opened up new opportunities for jobs in IT and social media management. However, the same level of access that allows companies to maintain daily contact with their customers can also ruin a company in a matter of weeks, and yet, the urgency to monitor these online metrics is lukewarm. 96% of businesses believe brand and reputation can affect revenue, yet only 44% monitor that impact. (CareerArc)
Prior to the new millennium, reputation management services for corporations used to be restricted to press coverage in analog newspapers and exposure through television and radio. Now in the age of the internet, the annals through which a company can be maligned have expanded exponentially. 69% of jobseekers would turn down an offer from a company with reputation problems (StatusLabs)
Through the years, Americans have seen bad actions on a company’s website or social media pages completely tank a company’s reputation, impact stock prices, and lead to sharp declines in profits within a single quarter. With billions of users on Facebook, international companies in particular are at risk of having their entire brand tainted by a mere tweet containing less than 140 characters.
- Building a glowing reputation online may seem like a shallow solution to a large issue, but the ubiquity of the internet and social media has completely changed how corporations relate to their customer base. Here’s why online reputation management matters:
- Online reputations can build consumer bases through integrity, transparency, and direct communication among customers, employees, investors, and the new industry of brand influencers that have developed over the last 10 years. Consumers are willing to pay more for a product if the company selling it has a good reputation. (University of Technology Sydney)
- An online reputation allows a company to meticulously cultivate and maintain an image by engaging on social media. Consumer bases can be updated regularly on products and services, as well as deals on products and sale opportunities.
- Draws in top-tier talent and interest from individuals who wish to work for the company, which can keep hiring costs down, and avoid a cyclical pattern of turnover that drags down the corporation’s bottom line.
- Online reputations can drive sales and improve quarterly reports. By the same token, a negative online reputation can lay waste to a corporation that has previously maintained excellent consumer relations.
No online presence is a missed opportunity—but a negative online presence is a malignancy within a corporation that has the potential to rot it from within. Therefore, executives, managers, and employees alike must always be looking for opportunities to build a positive online presence. Before leadership sets out to hire a reputation management firm, there are internal measures they can take first:
- Improve content marketing
- Invest in customer experience
- Invest in employee satisfaction
- Swiftly and comprehensively address internal issues
- Maintain a strict level of integrity
- Online presence
- Social media: A company’s social media presence must be carefully cultivated and maintained in alignment with the corporation’s mission and values.
- Social media in the workplace: The social media of all persons who officially represent the company must be devoid of any disparaging posts regarding their employer.
- Review sites: When exaggerated or fraudulent reviews of a company appear on one of the many review sites associated with a company’s culture and products, it can drag down the overall rating of a business, and create false impressions regarding the quality of their services. One bad review can cost you up to 22% of potential customers. The risk increases to 59.2% for three bad reviews. Four or more negative posts drive this number to 70%. (Moz)
When internal measures do not pull a corporation out of the hole created by a negative online reputation, it might be time to consider hiring a reputation management services firm. These firms can evaluate the level of damage inflicted by the negative reputation, and develop multi-pronged approaches to remedying those factors. This includes brand revitalization, social media cleanups, and white hat tactics to get negative reviews removed from a corporation’s social media and review pages. If you have need of reputation management services, please consider Lauth Investigation’s International. We have more than 20 years’ experience in managing corporate crises, and can work with clients to develop comprehensive solutions to rebuild their reputation. We are staffed by former military and law enforcement and carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call 317-951-1100 today or find us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com.