As the Black Lives Matter movement continues throughout the globe, corporate diversity is once again on the minds of leadership in the United States. Leadership has begun developing strategies to improve diversity in their structure. Regardless of the motivations behind resisting this change, leadership might not understand that corporate diversity is a measure that not only elevates BIPOC professionals, but will improve the quality of life within the corporation.
When leadership is singular in representation, it cannot possibly consider all the needs of everyone in the organization. Leadership that is composed entirely of White executives will have a functional blindness or bias towards the needs of non-White employees. Not only will they leave their non-White employees feeling undervalued, but corporations can be selling themselves short on opportunity to improve business from within, and ultimately from without.
One of the most obvious benefits to having corporate diversity—both at the executive level and below—is that diversity breeds innovation and creativity. When a corporation continually relies on the same thinktank of people who all come from similar backgrounds and have similar experiences, you will eventually begin to see a patter in the same 15 ideas or solutions generated by that thinktank. Workforces with diverse backgrounds see a more diverse array of ideas, innovations, and solutions to challenges faced in the workplace and in the market.
The more corporate diversity you have, the more likely your team will generate ideas and solutions that will better serve your customer base. Different skills and different histories of experience will lead to a more unique brainstorm—from the conference room to the loading dock. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, businesses with corporate diversity are able to find solutions to problems faster than teams of employees from similar backgrounds. The speed attributed to corporate diversity is due in part to the fact that these corporations foster an environment that promotes a free exchange of ideas, where everyone has a place at the table and their voice is heard. That is the sort of corporate culture all businesses should be striving for.
Diversity is more than a two-pronged approach, but it is important that you have diversity from the top down, and that every person feel as though they can safely bring ideas, concerns, or solutions to the table. By encouraging this diversity, you make sure every person on your team feels as though their voice is being heard. When employees feel heard and valued, the corporate culture of the entire business significantly improves. We know the effects of corporate culture move in a cycle. Employees are either positively or negatively impacted by engagement and validation from leadership, which in turn effects their own engagement, which directly impacts their level of output. As corporate culture improves, output increases. The elevation of those diverse voices has the capacity to save your corporation money in billable hours, workplace lawsuits, and engagement.
Corporate culture audit
At Lauth Investigations International, we pride ourselves on using our intelligence services to connect business leadership with the solutions they need to improve their company from within. If you suspect your business is suffering due to a lack of diversity, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our corporate culture audit.
Just after lunch last Wednesday, violence erupted in Milwaukee, WI at the famous Molson Coors factory, when an employee walked in with a loaded firearm and began shooting, leaving 5 victims and the shooter deceased. The violence is another in a string of shootings in the workplace that has corporate leadership wondering what their role is in limiting these acts of violence.
The victims in the Milwaukee Molson Coors shooting were identified as Jesus Valle Jr., 33; Gennady Levshetz, 61; Trevor Wetselaar, 33; Dana Walk, 57; and Dale Hudson, 60. The shooter, electrician Anthony N. Ferrill, 51, is deceased as well. Those victims, Ferrill’s coworkers, are remembered by the dozens of friends and family they left behind, as well as a community rocked by violence. Molson Coors chief executive Gavin Hattersley said in a news conference, “They were husbands, they were fathers, and they were friends. They were a part of the fabric of our company and our community, and we will miss them terribly.”
While many acts of violence in the workplace are perpetrated by former employees, Anthony Ferrill was a current employee of Molson Coors. Ferrill worked in the building’s utilities department. While authorities have not established a clear motive for the shooting, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Ferrill had a history of dispute with his coworkers that many have speculated finally came to a head in the events leading up to last week’s shooting. The dispute may have had racial overtones, with Ferrill accusing other employees of discriminating against him in the workplace. He had suspicions that other employees were trespassing at his home, bugging his electronic devices, and disturbing his property. With the exception of one man, Ferrill had previous confrontations with all the victims, yet police have declined to comment on how the shooting occurred.
When shocking incidents of violence like this occur in the workplace, it’s not uncommon to hear from leadership in the organization that they are ‘shocked,’ or ‘astonished’ at the events that have taken place, or that the violence was perpetrated by a member of their organization. The reality is that active shooter events and other forms of violence in the workplace can usually be anticipated and prevented if leadership is not asleep at the wheel.
Most workplace crises, from violence to theft, can be traced back to faulty internal operations. That’s why so many corporations are seeking to have their daily operations evaluated by independent investigators and risk assessment firms. These investigators come into your business and begin examining hiring processes, onboarding materials, employee engagement, and the turnover rate in an attempt to identify the problems that cause frustration within the organization. In the unfortunate example of Molsen Coors, there was obviously room for more supervision with regards to intra-employee conflict. If the alleged intra-employee conflict had been given more attention, it might not have ended in violence.
Corporate Culture Audit investigators can provide leadership with the insight they need to improve their daily operations. Investigators can review hiring protocol, identifying risk factors and lack of oversight. They can review security systems, both in cyberspace, and at brick-and-mortar locations to identify weaknesses that would leave the company vulnerable to attack. These are measures that could have prevented the violence that broke out at Molson Coors, and they can protect your company, too.
If your corporation or organization needs a corporate culture audit, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our corporate culture audit program. Our program is built to fit businesses of any size and is customizable to fit you investigative needs. Call 317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com
Employers across the country have operated in a sea of gray area when it comes to confidentiality among employees regarding internal investigations. The question remained whether or not employers were able to require employees to keep internal investigations internal while they were in full swing. Prior to the new year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) finally answered that question.
Previously, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) had taken a position that employers could not require employees to keep ongoing internal investigations confidential because it generally violated labor law. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act guarantees employees “the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.” Universal requirement of confidentiality could potentially interfere with that law. Confidentiality in internal investigations was instead dealt with on a case-by-case basis, with no precedent for blanket confidentiality. This topic has been in review by the NLRB since May of 2019, but it was only recently that the board announced that they had reversed their position.
By their very nature, internal investigations are already a big headache for many employers. Further compounding these frustrations is the ideation that no internal investigation can generate meaningful results unless the integrity of the internal investigation is maintained by all employees of the corporation or organization. This new standard of approval by the National Labor Relations Board is a categorical win for employers. The win comes down to one word—duration. In articulating their decision, the majority wrote,
“There are obvious mutual interests to be served by encouraging and allowing employees to report wrongdoing without fear of reprisal from the subject of the investigation. Among other considerations, such reporting promotes the goals of the antidiscrimination statutes by helping employers eradicate workplace discrimination and deal with it promptly and effectively when it occurs.”
This articulation is indirectly evocative of the cycle of corporate culture, a process by which cause and effect on the parts of both leadership and employees in pursuit of improved operations leads to a healthy corporate culture for the entire workforce.
While there are concerns that the future of this reversal may affect an employee’s ability to organize, the projection of this reversal is very good news for internal investigations. In any investigation, the control of information is critical to finding solutions to the corporate crisis, allowing investigators to use tried-and-true methodology to get to the root of the problem. With the NLRB finally taking a position that allows employers to require confidentiality, the integrity of those internal investigations can now be maintained from the onset, leading to clearer solutions for the pervasive issues that malign corporations and organizations.
Corporations and institutions with relative high visibility have a lot to lose when internal misconduct is exposed. If you are an institution, such as a school, prison, or government body, internal misconduct can strongly shake the public’s confidence in how that misconduct will impact the groups and communities being served. Embarrassing, pervasive issues, such as a business party culture, can really drive down faith in your brand. If you’re a large corporate chain, such as Walmart, or McDonald’s, your corporate culture is subject to criticism from current/past employees, with heavy emphasis on how that corporate culture effects both productivity and the workforce.
Just one week after ringing in the new year, McDonald’s current CEO, Chris Kempczinski, has announced that he plans to bring an end to the business party culture embroiled in their corporate atmosphere. According to The Wall Street Journal, Kempczinski, “…is seeking to restore a more professional culture at McDonald’s after what some current and former employees described as an environment influenced by his predecessor’s late-night socializing with some executives and staffers at bars and flirtations with female employees…” This business party culture was pervasive. His predecessor, Steve Eastbrook, was terminated in November of 2019 after he confessed to having a relationship with an employee. What is particularly problematic about these circumstances is that healthy corporate culture begins with leadership. When leadership behaves ethically within the organization, employees are more likely to follow that example. When executives, managers, and supervisors are not held accountable for bad behavior, it sends a message to the rest of the organization that poisons the well of corporate culture.
But inappropriate personal conduct is not the only challenge currently facing McDonald’s culture. Strains imposed by the franchises’ renovation program has franchisees challenging their relationship with the corporation. In addition, unions are still reeling from a decision handed down by a national union-organizing supervision board, which states that the corporation will no longer be liable for labor violations committed by its franchisees. Labor advocates who made their concerns apparent to the board were ignored, and the decision came down with a 2-1 vote. In the background, employees continue their cause of “Fight For 15,” in reference to their desire to have McDonald’s starting wage raised to $15 per hour.
Kempczinski’s promise to diffuse a business party culture within the corporation is a promising start—however, in order to make meaningful changes to the corporation, there needs to be a top-to-bottom evaluation of internal processes, and of the behavior exhibited by leadership—both in the public view and behind closed doors. That is why so many institutions and corporations are subjecting their internal operations to a corporate culture audit to ensure that they won’t be caught unawares about the debilitating, pervasive issues within their organization. Regardless of quality, corporate culture moves in a cycle. The actions of leadership filter down through the workforce, influencing productivity and engagement from employees. Employees either contribute positively or negatively to the corporation as a result of that leadership, and that leads directly back to leadership in a supervisory capacity. For the sake of a long-beloved American corporation, let’s hope that Kempczinski follows through on his promise for change.
It’s mind-boggling to think that some of the most controversial scandals in our country’s history have taken place only in the last decade. Corporate scandal is a hot media item, with the misbehavior of employees at all levels facing public scrutiny. Information on corporations and their corporate culture is more visible than ever as experts continue to place more and more importance on work-life balance, and satisfaction in the workplace remaining the driving force behind employee engagement. As technology and the ubiquity of accessible information continues to advance, private United States citizens are becoming more informed about the largest corporations in the nation, how their behavior effects their corporate footprint, and how their own consumerism can affect these corporations.
BP Oil Spil
There’s no better place to start than at the beginning. In April of 2010, the oil and gas conglomerate BP began the new decade with an oil spill so catastrophic that we’re still talking about the environmental impact ten years later. The corporate scandal also involved devastating loss. The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, which broke open the will, dumping between 2.5 and 4.2 million barrels of oil into the gulf before it could be capped once more. For thousands of miles, the oil slicks contributed to the deterioration of marine life and had cost the corporation in excess of $65 billion dollars before 2020. In an article published in June of 2010, Peter Fairly of MIT Technology stated, “A culture of tighter safety and more experienced regulators might have prevented the BP Deepwater Horizon leak.” Under the terms of a settlement, BP agreed to pay the Natural Resource Damage Asessment Trustees up to $8.8 billion for restoration work to rebuild the natural environment that was damaged by the spill.
Later in 2010, there was an alarming string of suicides at a plant run by Foxconn, a Chinese corporation that produces roughly 40% of the world’s consumer electronic components—technology that builds our smartphones, gaming consoles, and other forms of smart technology. These tragedies were covered heavily in American media as questions arose to the quality of labor conditions in these Chinese plants. In subsequent investigations, it was revealed that workers could be working 12-hour shifts, with less than a dollar (U.S.) in their pocket for food. While the suicides received a great deal of coverage, and had public relations repercussions for corporations that utilize Foxconn exports, there have been at least 8 additional suicides at the same factor have been reported since 2010.
Few things are more universally loved across the globe than soccer, or football, as it’s known in the rest of the world. In May of 2015, millions of soccer fans were shaken by the FIFA corruption corporate scandal. The Department of Justice indicted the Federation Internationale de Football Association leadership on charges of racketeering, wire fraud, and money-laundering. The indictment outlined various instances of an excess of $15 million dollars in bribes taken by executives for preserving advertisement marketing rights for decades. The scandal lead to the resignation of President Sepp Blatter in June of 2015 after he managed to escape indictment. Millions of dollars in legal costs and loss of corporate sponsorship severely damaged the reputation of the organization, netting losses of $122.4 million.
Theranos & Elizabeth Holmes
The scandal surrounding the health technology company known as Theranos was a cluster 15 years in the making. Once again a corporate scandal that effected public health, both the executive and the corporation were villified in the media. Stemming from a fear of needles when she was a child, founder Elizabeth Holmes was seeking to develop a technology that would lead to higher accessibility of blood-testing throughout the world. Her device supposedly would be able to perform a smattering of biological tests from a single drop of blood. The Wall Street Journal published an expose in October of 2015, exposing more of the company’s deception and further implicating some of Holmes’ colleagues in the scandal. Holmes was charged with massive fraud in March 2018. Formerly thought of as a young genius, she is scheduled to stand trial in 2020, facing up to 20 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.
Big Pharma & the Opioid Crisis
Corporate scandal is at it’s worst when it comes to public health. The ever-growing opioid crisis in the United States is hands down one of the most pervasive scandals of the last decade. In 2017 alone, there were over 70,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States. Of those overdose deaths, 67% came from an overdose of opioids. From the Midwest to the Northeast, opioid deaths spiked between 2016 and 2017. As of November 2019, six pharmaceutical companies were under federal investigation and were facing federal charges for their responsibility for the opioid crisis. Amongst other big pharma companies, Purdue Pharma reached settled for billions of dollars for communities in 23 states that were affected by their shipment of opioids, forcing the company to ultimately filing for bankruptcy. The settlement set major precedent as the first of it’s kind in our American legal system.
Virginia legislation placed on notice following the active shooter event in Virginia Beach.
In what has seemed like a death from a thousand cuts, the mass active shooter event that occurred on Friday, May 28th at a municipal building in Virginia Beach has inspired action on the part of state leadership. According toUSA Today, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has ordered a legislative session devoted to exploring the current climate of gun violence in the United states. At a news conference, Northam said, “The nation is watching. We must do more than our thoughts and prayers. We must give Virginians the action they deserve.”
It was a public works employee who killed 12 people last week—another senseless tragedy in a long line of mass shootings that have spiked in recent years. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, shootings accounted for 79% of all workplace homicides in 2016. Statistics from the Office of Victims of Violent Crime indicate this number has not only risen dramatically but will continue to rise. The number of mass shootings was nearly 2.5 times greater over the last ten years—greater than the mass shootings that occurred between 1998 and 2007.
While the governor of Virginia has put the legislation on notice, businesses throughout the nation have put themselves on notice as well, with interest in active shooter training programs for businesses increasing exponentially with each new report of gun violence in the workplace. What’s chilling is OSHA estimates 25% of workplace violence goes unreported. Yet, many businesses believe events like the ones that transpired in Virginia Beach cannot happen to them.
Many businesses not only believe an active shooter event is unlikely, but that they are, in fact, prepared for one. If you happen to be reading this at your desk, or on a break at your job, do you know the evacuation protocol for your business in the event of an active shooter? Evacuation procedures like these are often explained in personnel materials like handbooks and manuals. But the average employee is not regularly engaged on the topic, let alone received comprehensive education & demonstration of these protocols. It is a morbid, serious subject, and it is not uncommon for management or leadership in a business/organization to be uncomfortable with addressing it, and certainly struggle with addressing it comprehensively.
Companies who have decided that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure are investing in contracts with independent investigators to perform risk assessments on their headquarters and locations of business. These investigators consider factors such as the total volume of personnel, layout of the worksite, and security protocol to determine what is needed to keep the employees safe and secure.
These horrific crimes are also placing a heavy financial burden on businesses. Lower & Associates estimates businesses across the United States will lose more than $55 million in employee wages each year due to violence in the workplace. They experience direct losses in the form of medical expenses, workers’ compensation, litigation fees, and indirect losses such as breakdown in operations due to arrested productivity, record-low morale, and public relation nightmares. Not to mention the fact that a business’s preparedness for an active shooter event is literally a matter of life and death.