Private investigators can serve multitudes of purposes in both the private and corporate realm. Private investigator services are typically diverse and can bring clarity in the murkiest of circumstances. Whether it’s hiring a private investigator to track a missing loved one or to investigate a pervasive pattern of workplace theft, the name of the game is quality. When you’re ready to hire a private investigator, it’s important that you select the correct professional for the job. Here are some questions you can ask a private investigator about their firm and their body of experience when exercising due-diligence in the hiring process.
How long have they been in private investigations? What is their specialty?
While it’s true that many private investigator services can be very similar across all firm types—such as background checks, surveillance services, and location services, also known as “skip traces”—it’s also true that many private investigators choose to specialize in one or two areas of intelligence-gathering operations. For example, many law enforcement officials and investigators use their retirement years getting a private investigator’s license and continuing to serve the people in their communities by picking up missing person cases or helping families find clarity in the complex personal and domestic situations of their every day lives. Other private investigator services skew more towards the corporate side of the United States, such as internal corporate investigations, background check services, and serving as multi-tools for law firms. The nature of intelligence operations is knowing how to spot patterns, anticipate and assess cause and effect, and comprehensively pursue any and all leads that might arise. The more years private investigators have on the job, the stronger their investigative tool chest will be.
What is their level of transparency and communication?
Private investigators should always be straightforward with their clients. It demonstrates a level of integrity and transparency that is crucial in a quality investigator. Private investigators should be willing to meet with prospective clients in person. Quality investigators go the extra mile to establish professional relationships based on trust and transparency. Every investigation type is different, and the unexpected left turns of any case can be difficult to anticipate at times, but regardless, private investigator services should have a price range with the caveat that they may be subject to change. The best private investigator services will come with a cursory phone call and a free consultation from the investigator to determine the client’s level of need and to do their best to estimate what their retainer will be.
Do they have a verbal agreement or a written contract?
In tangent with transparency and communication, the terms of agreement regarding private investigator services should be clear, explicit, and in writing. Private investigators who do not clearly define their services, term of service, or outline terms of payment on paper should be a big red flag. Desperate clients sometimes get bilked for thousands because of dishonest professionals who intentionally keep them in the dark. A comprehensive, quality investigation is always initiated with clear terms in place, in writing, and signed by both the private investigator and the client.
Can you verify their private investigator number?
Private investigators are licensed state to state. Regardless of where the private investigator is located, they must be licensed in the state where the investigation is to take place in order to have investigative power and access to proper resources. Private investigators should provide their license number when asked so the client can run the number when their state’s database of privately licensed contractors.
In private intelligence, due-diligence is key, and that means as a prospective client, you have a right to know that you are getting what you paid for. That’s why you have to ask the right questions when vetting private investigator services for your needs. When it comes to your corporate or personal life, you deserve facts, not fiction.
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.
One of the most critical decisions we make in life is who to legally bind ourselves to in matrimony—not only because of the vows we make to each other, but also because the legal union in most states means entitling the other person to half of your assets. There is an unexpected trend of private investigators—especially female private investigators—in countries where arranged marriage is woven into the fabric of culture. Many families seek to control familial relations and extensions for many reasons, like politics, financials, business consolidation, and status. As recently as 2017, arranged marriage accounted for 55% of marriages throughout the globe, leaving traditional marriage in the minority. This creates a niche market for private investigators to properly vet potential spouses in countries like India, China, Pakistan, Japan, and Israel to name a few.
Even though arranged marriage is not a major part of Western culture, that doesn’t mean that engaged individuals in the United States shouldn’t do their due-diligence when it comes to their life mate. When it comes to your assets, you should expect facts, not fiction. That’s why hiring a private investigator to perform a background check on your intended can save a great deal of heartache and financial distress. Even a basic background check from a private investigator can unearth risk factors. Private investigators will pull criminal history, litigation history, credit history, and history of residence to corroborate proposed facts about your romantic partner. It’s true that there are many “people finder” databases on the internet that claim their results are accurate and worth the cost of purchasing the report, and therefore an individual could conduct a background check themselves. However, private investigators must comply with specific security protocol and licensing in order to have access to verified databases on par with certain law enforcement agencies. This means that the quality of data entry comes with a much higher degree of accuracy, and will be updated regularly with regards to both public and private records. “People finder” databases cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, which may lead to additional misinformation, especially with regards to criminal and litigation history.
Private investigators also have years of experience that contextualize available information on a subject. For example, residence history is traditionally part of a basic background check. If the subject has a long history of moving between jurisdictions, or from state-to-state in short periods of time, a private investigator might examine this information—and based on context—determine that the subject has a history of transience, which could indicate a lack of reliability or a flight risk. If a subject’s credit history is consistently poor, that would be a financial red flag that might disqualify a subject as a spouse.
Private investigators bring valuable contexts to background investigations that empower individuals to make critical decisions in their private or corporate life. When two people get married, they often conduct other litmus tests in order to determine long-term cohabitation, such as blood tests for their health, or pre-marital counseling to determine their level of preparation. Background checks are just another measure for you to ensure that your life and your livelihood are protected.
Corporations and nonprofits are in mutual company in 2020 as new rules and regulations of corporation oversight and employment go into effect. Leadership will have to step up their administrative supervision of their internal processes to ensure they don’t violate new legislature. Luckily, hiring a private investigator to ensure your company is compliant with new administrative legislature at the fraction of a cost to expand your corporation’s internal investigation team.
Legislature and leadership alike are refocusing their personnel priorities to push sexual harassment to the forefront of their reform. In addition to ratcheting up sexual harassment prevention, but all forms of harassment within their workplace. A recent NLRB decision that would allow leadership to enforce total confidentiality during internal investigation, which will assist the identification of predators within any workforce. Private investigators are ideal candidates to seek out the predator in any corporation or organization, because they can infiltrate the workforce under the radar and collect evidence and testimony that might otherwise be lost.
Employers can look forward to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) increasing oversight on work sites, evaluating hiring processes, and ensuring every employee is able to legally work in the United States. Employers who do not comply will be subject to both civil and criminal penalties that can be devastating to an organization. Private investigators have vast databases at their disposal to obtain work and residency records for potential hire, applying proven screening methods to ensure no personnel are a legal liability.
Legislature is also holding companies to a higher standard of responsibility when their independent or sub-contractors incur legal trouble or have grievances against the parent organization. A bill in California known as AB 5 would make it more difficult to classify a worker as an independent or sub-contractor, a measure that would effect employers both in California and throughout the nation. When contractors are successfully classified as such, you’ll need a private investigator on your side to comprehensively vet the situation. With their full investigative toolbox, private investigators can get to the truth about inciting events that led to legal action, collecting evidence, speaking to worksite foremen, and provide comprehensive solutions to employers.
Private investigators can also lend their prowess to individuals who believe a corporation is misappropriating funds in order to comply with a Department of Labor measure that requires employers to pay a minimum percentage of total salary in order to satisfy overtime requirements. Private investigators who specialize in financial fraud and misappropriation are able to review a corporation’s internal processes and open-source financial records to document the appropriation of overtime pay.
With the ubiquity of technology and digital communication systems, corporate data—especially with regard to transparency—is a trending issue in public discourse. Whether through legal channels or otherwise, corporations and organizations need to protect their data from falling into the wrong hands. A private investigator can provide any organization with a risk assessment of both their digital and brick-and-mortar security measures from top to bottom—identifying cracks in the system and providing expert recommendations to ensure internal information stays internal. Private investigators can also identify potential whistleblowers in a workforce by examining individual risk factors and patterns of behavior.
The biggest mistake executives make when trying to improve their corporate culture…
The corporate culture within any company, without question, effects their bottom-line day to day. Just to name a few avenues, this occurs through operations, interpersonal relationships between employees, and a level of engagement from leadership that requires consistent enforcement of their established mission and values. Because a corporation’s internal culture often remains hidden from consumer view, it’s not uncommon for leadership to simply restructure operations. Unfortunately, if every aspect of a company’s culture is not examined, this solution is just a band aid.
The Ice Berg Metaphor
When concerning a corporation’s culture, we often use the iceberg metaphor as a means of defining it. Ten percent of a corporation’s values and culture are above the water where the public and consumers can see it, and the other 90% lies below the surface. It’s that 90% that directly affects a company’s employee morale, productivity, and bottom line. A corporation often places its highest priority on how they are perceived by their consumer base, and therefore that 90% of company culture and values are either placed on the back burner, or corporations find themselves at a complete loss of how to get in front of the issues.
Some other band aid fixes for happy employees include things like discounted vending machines in the breakrooms, or regular celebrations of major holidays and birthdays. These lovely notions might improve culture for a day or even a week, but the pervasive internal problems will remain.
Happy employees are engaged employees. When a corporation’s culture is healthy, employees feel invested in the success of their companies. The company’s success becomes internalized as their own success, and they are more likely to be plugged in, to take initiative, and to think outside of the box when it comes to problem-solving.
When employees are leaning into their positions and actively working towards a company’s goals, that leads to smoother daily operations. Engaged employees are constantly finding ways to improve their processes so they can generate higher rates of productivity within their positions
When daily operations are streamlined, this yields higher levels of productivity within the company. An employee’s daily duties are no longer a monotonous checklist, but a recipe for success for their company. An engaged employee’s success is the success of everyone in the corporation, and the same is true of productivity. A single employee’s increased productivity is the entire company’s success. Not only does this set an example for all employees, but increased productivity is what helps a company grow, mature, and prosper.
This one is a no-brainer. Anyone who has ever been employed knows that a happy boss makes a happy employee. Leadership sees the increase in engagement and productivity and lean into that success. Good leadership will reward that success in tangible ways that will have long-term effects on the company’s culture. They promote or give raises to those employees who are giving 100%, empower those employees through collaboration and development, and are more open to the thoughts and ideas of employees who are contributing to their success.
When leadership is actively encouraging employees through a pure manifestation of the company’s mission and values, employees feel as if they are making a difference within their organization. This increases the feeling of purpose and desire for cooperative teamwork. These feelings inspire employees to continue their pattern of success through the diligent, genuine practice of a company’s established mission and values. Increased morale means happy employees, and that’s where the cycle begins anew, exponentially influencing a company’s success with each cycle.
Structure is Not Culture
The network of operations within a company will never have a direct effect on company morale. Poor daily operations due to structure are really just a symptom of unhealthy corporate culture—a manifestation of poor culture at work. To diagnose the problem, many corporations turn to independent firms to conduct corporate culture audits in order to identify the problems within a company or organization. These firms measure a company’s daily operations, their quality of communication, and interpersonal relations among employees—just to name a few factors. When a corporate culture audit is comprehensive and curtailed to the organization, the findings can be invaluable to leadership that seeks to grow and mature in tandem with their values.
As mentioned above, employees who see a consistent display of established values from leadership, they’re more engaged and productive. It’s one thing to have the company’s mission statement and list of values posted online or on the wall within a workplace. It’s a completely different ballgame when leadership puts their money where their mouth is, and serves as an example for the entire workforce. That example can have a ripple effect creating an interpersonal trust between employees, in which they all feel like they’re on a team, working towards the same goal. It is in the nucleus of that atmosphere where real change and growth begin.
Employee apathy may seem innocuous enough, but the costs to time and resources can be a slow, devastating drain on a corporation. Many corporations and organizations have at least one employee who exhibits all the major signs of checking out in their daily capacity. Even if your corporation has bulletproofed human resource operations, employee burnout can still occur. That’s why it’s imperative for leadership and management to know and identify the signs of apathy on the part of an employee.
Signs of Employee Apathy
A repeated pattern of tardiness
Poor appearance and hygiene
Complaints about lack of money and/or repeated attempts to borrow money
Exclusive precedence on their personal life
An excess of breaks
Appearance of being busy with nothing to show for it
Lack of accountability, making excuses
Irrelevant preoccupation with cell phones, smart devices
It stands to reason that if an employee is underperforming at their job, leadership will cut the dead weight for the good of a corporation. There are actually three umbrella categories that are often used to justify retaining apathetic employees: Costs, Litigation, and Personal.
The first thing leadership will think of when they notice an apathetic employee is dollar signs. Not only is the apathetic employee hemorrhaging their money by wasting time and resources, but the cost to replace that apathetic employee can also be an issue. Costs are incurred to the human resources department to find, hire, and train a replacement. Employers might hesitate to fire an apathetic employee because of unemployment insurance rates. Another relevant factor specifically effects small businesses, in which the workforce is not large enough to support turnover operations.
When it’s not a matter of money, it can often be a matter of personal feelings or relationships concerning leadership and the apathetic employee. A manager or owner might have a personal relationship with the employee, and their bias prevents them from pulling the trigger on termination procedures. Personal knowledge of that employee’s personal life and their identity as a person (rather than an employee) can color their perceptions and increase their latitude with the employee. Avoidance behavior can also play a role. When this happens, leadership usually resigns itself to one of two end results: Either the employee will improve on their own without intervention from leadership, or they will leave on their own without termination proceedings.
The independent judgement of leadership may not be the sticking point in terminating an apathetic employee. There are often legal factors that a corporation or organization must consider. For instance, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (AEDA) protects employees from being terminated based on their age. If an apathetic employee is of a certain age, leadership may fear legal retaliation, citing age discrimination as the reason for their termination. In higher education, an employee may have tenure as defined by the institution, which would prevent leadership from terminating them.
Risks in Retention
Retaining apathetic employees for any of the reasons listed above can have serious consequences for a company who is avoiding the issue or trying to save money. Apathetic/underperforming employees cannot provide a customer base with quality service, leading to dissatisfaction and consumer complaints. This can negatively impact the corporation’s brand or campaign, with a high risk of human error, loss of valued customers, and lost reputation. Disgruntled employees could potentially say negative things about the corporation on their social media accounts. Perhaps most concerning, apathetic employees can easily spread their attitude throughout a work force, and harm long-term goals for the corporation.
Corporate Culture Audits
One apathetic employee is enough of a drain on company time and resources, but if that attitude is contagious, you could have a larger problem on your hands. Unfortunately, when it comes to employee morale and performance, you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s why so many corporations and organizations are investing in quarterly or even biannual corporate culture audits. With a corporate culture audit, an independent, third party firm, like a private investigator or security company, conducts a full overview of company operations, structure, and environment in order to identify problems at their source for the health of the corporation. With a corporate culture audit, leadership will be able to identify factors that might be contributing to employee apathy.