Improving Corporate Culture Improves Your Business

Improving Corporate Culture Improves Your Business

improving corporate culture

With the corporate landscape being indefinitely altered by the current COVID-19 pandemic, it can be easy to let other priorities fall by the wayside. Internal daily operations are already disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions and limited personnel, and personnel at all levels are already experiencing heightened levels of stress and disorder. It’s not difficult to understand how a corporation’s corporate culture could decline in these stressful times. However, improving corporate culture and improving it for your employees can have beneficial ripple effects that save you money and grief in the long run.

Corporate culture is a manifestation of how daily operations, corporate policy, enforcement of that policy, and interpersonal relationships between employees affect one another and the company’s mission. Decline in corporate culture can come in many forms, including but not limited to employee theft, sexual harassment claims, executive or white-collar misconduct, or chronic turnover in personnel. All symptoms of declining corporate culture can have disastrous long-term effects on a corporation’s daily operations, hurting productivity and the bottom line. That’s why there is a key list of important items to consider when making a plan to improve your corporate culture.

Clarify your mission statement

Improving corporation culture begins with having a clear mission statement. Corporations with a clear mission statement have an increased chance of success because all personnel are aware of the company’s goals and how they are going to achieve them. Not only is the mission statement clear to the employees, but its’ also clear to the public and shareholders in the interest of boosting faith in the mission and daily operations.

Good corporate culture keeps employees happy

Improving corporate culture is one of the best ways to retain employees and increase the longevity of a good team. Corporations with poor corporate culture experience high rates of turnover. That means increased disruptions to daily operations, high costs in screening prospective replacements for the position, and further disruptions to daily operations.

Decreasing employee apathy

Good corporate culture keeps employees employed while also mitigating the symptoms of employee apathy, which can cause further losses, both financially and in personnel. Employee apathy can look like many things, including poor hygiene, patterns of absence or tardiness, excessive breaks, and lack of accountability when they do not meet expectations. This employee apathy is not always an isolated incident, and can easily spread like a disease within the workforce. Improving corporate culture means creating an environment and a system that encourages transparency, trust, respect, and dignity for one’s employees, and can decrease or erase employee apathy.

Increase productivity

The cause and effect of improving corporate culture balances a corporation on many levels. As employee apathy goes down, employees not only become more focused, but engaged in the quality of their work in innumerable ways that benefit the company. Productivity will ultimately increase as a result, leaving leadership with more options to improve corporate culture. This cycle has the potential to repeat again and again.

Open your ears

When improving your corporate culture, it’s imperative to foster an environment of trust and open discussion when it comes to problems within the organization. Having an open and honest forum where employees feel comfortable discussing problems with proactive leadership means pervasive issues in an organization won’t be allowed to thrive and cause further ripple effects within your company. Always be open to suggestions and make employees feel like their voices are being heard.

Cleaning House in Corporations: Corporate Culture in 2021

Cleaning House in Corporations: Corporate Culture in 2021

corporate culture in 2021

Are you ready to revamp your corporate culture in 2021?

As the world finally bids goodbye to one of the worst years in history, anxious and eager people everywhere are looking forward to what 2021 might bring. With the COVID-19 vaccine having been approved and administered, the country is finally beginning the slow process of healing from this pandemic, and both businesses and private citizens are making plans to move forward in the future. Part of moving forward is examining and improve the corporate culture of the workplace As employers gear up for another fiscal year under the restrictions of a global pandemic, many are seeking to transform their corporate culture to springboard operations once everything returns to business as usual.

That’s a tricky phrase, “business as usual.” Every business encounters corporate crises from time to time, like employee theft or other forms of internal corruption, but when the business has a pervasive repeating pattern of disruption to daily operations, there could a glaring problem with the corporate culture. Corporate culture is a reflection of how operations, relationships between employees, and enforcement by leadership interact to make up an employee’s experience in working with the company. Corporate culture in 2021 will be punctuated by restructuring, employee turnover, and policy reform in order to address systemic issues.

Corporate culture audits in 2021 are not only going to be a new trend, but they will be a necessity to retain employees and control costs. Undergoing corporate culture audits is the first real step in addressing pervasive issues within the workplace. Think of it as an annual physical or checkup with a physician for your business. When you go to the doctor, you undergo an examination, and the specialists run tests in order to determine how healthy you are—a corporate culture audit is no different. A corporate culture auditor comes in and evaluates the level of functionality within your corporation so you can start implementing strategies to improve and grow your business. A corporate culture audit is a type of internal investigation in which the source of pervasive issues are vetted and corrected by an internal investigator.

When there are pervasive issues in your corporation or organization, internal investigations are a necessary evil to get to the root of the problem. In recent years, the public’s interest in internal investigations continues to grow as individuals seek to break the culture of silence that surrounds many industries. This is in the interest of ultimately changing the professional climate that allows abuses and misconduct to occur within the organization.  Cultural waves of awareness and learning—like those that occurred during the #MeToo movement, and the genesis of the Black Lives Matter movement—bring more attention to some of corporate America’s most pervasive issues, including sexual harassment, racism, and discrimination. Now leadership is seeking the advice of consultants and risk management experts in order to erode bigoted phenomena from their workplace. A private investigator may be the answer.

Internal investigations are necessary, but they don’t necessarily have to be internal. Private investigators are completely independent of the corporations that retain them. Though they are paid for their services, it is not in the bet interest of a private investigator to be loyal to anything less than the truth. Complete transparency and integrity are the cornerstone of their business. Therefore, a private investigator is a perfect individual to document internal issues for an organization, because they are inherently without bias and are able to maintain complete objectivity. With Lauth’s corporate investigators on your side, you’ll receive the unvarnished reality regarding the internal problems in your corporation or organization.

If you need help changing your corporate culture in 2021, contact Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on how we can help you get to the bottom of your corporate culture issues. Call 317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com

Private Investigations: Leave It To the Professionals

Private Investigations: Leave It To the Professionals

Private investigations

Private investigations can be a great way to find answers when law enforcement or other investigating bodies cannot provide answers. Both corporations and private citizens turn to private investigators to get to the unseen details in their cases and provide clarification in crucial matters. Given the ubiquity of information technology the lines between private investigations and personal investigations can blur very quickly, and it’s important to know when the line has been crossed in getting to the truth.

Private investigations require a great deal of informational tools in order to generate leads and find answers. With the growing sophistication of the internet, access to public records, and thousands of television shows about investigative procedures, it’s easy to see how a layman could view private investigations within their capability. The internet has already connected millions of people who call themselves “armchair detectives.” Armchair detectives are private individuals with an affinity for mystery and intrigue who use their free time examining the evidence of existing cases and attempt to find answers by collaborating and comparing notes online. Researching and discussing cases online is a great way to pass the time and keep the mind occupied, but when the investigation moves offline and into real life, that is where things can get dangerous.

When there is no justice through the proper channels, it’s not unheard of for private citizens to take up the mantle of finding answers. Parents of missing children often pick up where law enforcement left off when they have exhausted all existing leads in their child’s case. The story of Miriam Rodriguez, the woman who tracked down every one of her daughter’s killers one by one and handed them over to the authorities. Despite her success in this mission, her story ended tragically when she was shot in her front yard by members of the cartel who had kidnapped and killed her daughter as another act of revenge. The dangers posed by private investigations is why you should always seek the help of a professional, licensed private investigator. They can provide the same methodology as law enforcement, with similar tools and more freedom.

Many police officers and law enforcement officials turn to private investigations when they retire from their department. Law enforcement officials by nature are typically doers, and sometimes have difficulty enjoying the great deal of down time in retirement. As a result, many make the decision to get their private investigator’s license so they can continue using their skills to serve the community. However, some former law enforcement officers never take this crucial step, but still avail themselves of private investigations in retirement. Not on the internet mind you, but in real life.

One example in which such private investigations went to far is the case of former Houston Police captain, Mark Aguirre. Like many, Aguirre had been plagued by baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, convinced that fraudulent voting had taken place that would benefit the Democratic party in the outcome. Despite the fact that these claims have been refuted by a series of judges in multiple states and the amount of illegal votes cast by imposters or deceased persons was under 50—which amounts to a statistical anomaly. However, Aguirre remained convinced.

This undated photo provided by the Houston Police Department shows Mark Aguirre. Aguirre is an ex-Houston police officer who was arrested on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for an incident on Oct. 19 in which he pulled over an air conditioning repairman and held him at gunpoint believing the man had 750,000 fraudulent mail-in ballots in the back of his truck. Police say there were no ballots in the truck, only air conditioning parts and tools. (Houston Police Department via AP)

With many states allowing their citizens to vote earlier than normal in the election due to the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of votes were already theoretically en route to be counted through the mail. Aguirre and a few of his friends and associates had set up what he referred to as a “command post” at a hotel in Houston. They had been running surveillance on individuals who they believed to be transporting illegal votes, one of whom was an air conditioning repair man.  On October 19, about two weeks before Election Day, Aguirre placed a call to Lt. Wayne Rubio in the Texas Attorney General’s Office and asked him to conduct a traffic stop for the repairman’s truck. When Rubio refused, Aguirre responded that he would take care of the traffic stop himself and “make a citizen’s arrest.” In an interview with police, Aguirre said that he ran the man’s truck off the road, got out of the vehicle, brandished a firearm and forced the repairman to the ground with a knee on his back. Fortunately, no one was hurt in this confrontation, and when law enforcement responded, a search of the truck yielded no evidence of transporting illegal ballots. The truck only contained equipment and parts relevant to the driver’s business. Aguirre was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If he is convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

While no one was hurt in this incident, it is a perfect reason why taking private investigations into your own hands can be dangerous and ill-advised. If private citizens feel there is a problem that is not being properly investigated, it is recommended they seek the expertise of a licensed private investigator to find answers. They are professionals with the tools and access to get to the bottom of murky situations. Despite their toolchest of experience in law enforcement, former police officers do not have the same resources in retirement as they did on the force. While their expertise could assist in a private investigator’s case, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

Overpolicing with Employee Investigations

Overpolicing with Employee Investigations

Employee misconduct investigations have spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic in an unprecedented way. The coronavirus restrictions are different in many states, with many businesses still operating most positions in a remote capacity. In correlation with this wave of remote working, there has also been a wave of interest from employers in hiring a private investigator to spy on their employees while they work from home.

Anyone in business knows that due-diligence is the cornerstone of good practice. A proper level of oversight on behalf of leadership reduces the odds of pervasive issues falling between the cracks in the system and ensuring that problems within the organization are handled swiftly and efficiently. It also demonstrates for the workforce that leadership is engaged with the internal issues of a corporation and is invested in creating a better work environment for their employees. However, there is a threshold where oversight becomes disruptive and unnecessary, and has the potential to further disturb the bottom line.

Private investigators across the globe are seeing an increase in employee misconduct investigations. A private investigator based in Manchester, England, told the Daily Mail recently, “That was a type of work you never really got prior to lockdown. Now we see a lot of enquiries. It is quite prevalent. We get employers using us for surveillance to confirm that people are actually working and not going out of the house.” Employers are feeling understandably uneasy about the prospect of employees working from home without direct supervision. Many employers have transitioned to software that tracks an employee’s production level, or spies on their home computer activity while working. Others are taking it a step further and hiring private investigators to monitor employees while they work from home. For example, an employee might express distress over going out in public during the pandemic, but then be seen out and about.

Private investigators have a skillset that is ideal for this type of surveillance and documentation. However, the overuse of private investigators to police the behavior of employees can also have a detrimental effect on the workforce, particularly if employee malingering is isolated and not rampant within the organization. What it comes down to is a question of reasonable suspicion. A reasonable suspicion constitutes evidence to a reasonable degree that an employee is malingering on company time. When heavy employee misconduct investigations are instituted by leadership on such a wide scale, there is an err of distrust between employer and employee. The employee may decided that if they are not worth their employer’s trust, they might disengage from their job. They might be even more inclined to steal from the employer despite the knowledge that they are under surveillance. That air of distrust between employer and employee can rot the company culture from within, leading to lower returns and higher costs in turnover and training.

The bottom line is that leadership should trust their employees until they give you a reasonable suspicion not to. When that happens, leadership should definitely reach out to private investigators for employee misconduct investigations to get important clarification on their corporate crises.

Employee Malingering During COVID-19

Employee Malingering During COVID-19

employee malingering

Is there a way to stamp out employee malingering? The answer is complicated.

Employee malingering is becoming a problem for some employers. As some states move forward with plans to open their states back up during the global COVID-19 pandemic, many are looking forward to life returning to some semblance of normalcy. While businesses make plans to reopen their doors, there are others that will keep the bulk of their operations remote with employees working from home in order to mitigate the spread of the disease. While many employers feel this precaution is still prudent, there is the additional layer of anxiety about whether employees are keeping their noses to the grindstone, or malingering.

Obviously, these are strange times. A majority of businesses in the United States were forced to shut down direct business to customer operations in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Employees who were not furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19 have been forced to adjust to a new working life devoid of work-life balance—their work is literally in the home—complete with the distraction of children, family, pets, spouses, and other household distractions. It is a stressful time, and it can be difficult to maintain focus. Corporations and organizations should always prioritize their employee’s mental health for the sake of their corporate culture. These predictable challenges with suddenly working from home should not be considered employee malingering. However, willful malingering can lay huge blows to daily productivity and ultimately profits. Employers must have a way to verify whether or not their employees are actually working.

Under more normal, stable circumstances, employers have the benefit of face to face interaction for determining how engaged and productive their employees are. In addition to output, supervisors can note how many breaks they take, the quality of the work, and the level of communication from the employee, both on and offline. However, remote working has made detecting employee malingering almost impossible.

Telecommunication technology has played a vital role in facilitating the continuation of the economy despite the quarantine. Meetings are held over Zoom, employee time is tracked through invoices or through an online time clock of sorts that allows employees to log their time worked and have their timesheets stored on a cloud server. Short of a live camera feed that documents the employee in front of the computer or on the phone, is there truly a way to verify if they are actually working?

The idea of hiring a private investigator to surveil your employees may sound strange or even wrong, but it’s a highly common business practice that legally exposes the drain an individual employee might be having on your company. Private investigators can track an employee’s movements during the time they have invoiced or logged, ensuring that any errands outside the home are work-related and have some value to the corporation. Private investigators can document these movements with GPS trackers placed under their car, photographing their activities in public to either prove or disprove employee malingering. Private investigators are trained to blend in with their surroundings, and conduct surveillance discretely to prevent their cover from being blown, so in the event that no employee malingering is found, no one is the wiser.

If you suspect your employee is malingering on your dime, reach out to Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our surveillance services. Call us at 317-951-1100, or visit our website at lauthinvestigations.com

Quashing Bias in Internal Investigations

Quashing Bias in Internal Investigations

Quashing Bias in Internal Investigations

With the current outbreak of COVID-19 keeping many employees at home, corporations in the midst of internal overhaul are feeling the drag. Investigations that could improve a corporation from within could be on hold, or being conducted by an internal investigator to mitigate the complications of the stay-at-home order. An internal investigation can often be the sharpest of double-edged swords in the business world. From employee theft to executive misconduct, internal investigations can often be the most attractive option for management and C-level executives. Internal investigations provide the investigating company with enough control over the situations to make crucial in-house decisions, overhaul faulty processes, and improve the quality of life of their organization, all while flying under the radar of public scrutiny. However, the obvious inherent issue with an internal investigation is an implicit level of bias that can have devastating consequences.

The idea of implicit bias within a corporation is usually brought up with regards to their diversity and how the lack of it creates blind spots within leadership. However, implicit bias can be the poison that rots an investigation from the inside out. There are innumerable factors that can influence a person’s inherent bias, like interactions with others, personal experiences, or exposure to external stimuli that can change a person’s beliefs. These factors are exacerbated when the investigator in question is part of the corporation or organization being investigation.

When an investigation is handled internally, leadership can obviously trust the investigator to conduct their fact-finding missions swiftly and discreetly with the best interests of the company in mind, but this comes at a cost, and that cost is internal bias.Internal investigators already have the bias of experience and personal belief as human beings. On top of that, you can add the inherent bias of being a part of the organization they are investigating. Internal investigations can have a myriad of consequences, the most extreme of which would be the dissolution of the corporation. That factor alone—the preservation of one’s job—is one of the strongest motivations for skewing results of an internal investigation in the corporation’s favor. When the investigator has a direct or indirect stake in the preservation of the corporation, the investigation can never be objective—leads will go unpursued, testimony uncorroborated, and important facts might be excluded from the findings of the investigation. This level of bias is something that many companies simply cannot afford.

Appointing an internal investigator to handle pervasive issues may sound like good money sense that also provides a layer of protection for the corporation, but the consequential costs of such an investigation can be astronomical. Internal bias can set an investigation back for weeks, leading to more lost productivity and profits. First and foremost, a faulty internal investigation can have litigious consequences that leadership might not foresee. For example, an internal investigation that results in the termination of an employee can result in a wrongful termination lawsuit on behalf of the former employee. If the investigation is subsequently found to be biased, the court could award the former employee with damages as part of a settlement, which can have devastating financial repercussions for the corporation or organization.

One of the worst parts of internal investigations is that the repercussions can end in the investigation being a huge waste of time and money for a corporation—like in the wrongful termination suit against IBM in 2013. An internal investigation into the employee’s misconduct resulted in that employee being terminated, and when the suit was brought to court, IBM wanted to show the court that they had conducted a fair investigation. The findings of IBM’s internal investigation were precluded from trial because it was determined by the court that the investigation was in fact biased. The court found that the internal investigator did not interview witnesses who might have supported the employee’s version of events. This resulted in countless of useless hours processed through payroll, not to mention the waste of resources and loss of productivity that consequently occurred. This is why if your corporation is considering conducting an internal investigation, it is a solid investment to hire an independent investigator before initiating an investigation.

Hiring a private investigator may seem like an unconventional way to approach an internal investigation. After all, how are you supposed to willingly invite an investigator who is a stranger to your organization and trust them to give you the best recommendations to improve it from within? Regardless of which private or independent investigator you hire, there is always one thing your money guarantees, and that’s objectivity. Unlike the aforementioned IBM case in which the internal investigation was precluded from trial due to bias, independent investigators are exactly that—independent, and their objectivity comes with a much higher threshold of bias and scrutiny. This means money spent on an investigation now won’t be for nothing when consequential litigation comes up on the docket.

Because private investigators are independent from the organization, their findings and testimony come with a higher degree of integrity. Private investigators have no direct or indirect stake in the outcome of an independent investigation, so their factual findings are not clouded by office politics or industry bias. They only have their verified resources and a toolbox of experience that allows them to gather evidence and follow leads internal investigators might not have considered or ignored. Internal bias can derail an investigation from the beginning, and it’s important to have an independent set of eyes in order to prevent lost productivity and manhours.

Furthermore, having an independent investigator like one of the quality private investigators with Lauth Investigations International, you know that you can trust the results of any investigation are free of internal bias. It is the source of intelligence that has the power to improve any corporation or organization from within—resolving pervasive issues within the workplace that contribute to drop in employee morale & engagement, productivity, and profits. Call Lauth Investigations International today to get a free consultation on our corporate culture audit and corporate intelligence services.

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