Flush Out Workplace Theft With A Corporate Culture Audit

Flush Out Workplace Theft With A Corporate Culture Audit

employee theft

95% of all businesses have experienced employee theft at some point or another, so when the odd thing goes missing, that’s just a normal day at the office, right? It might not seem like a big deal when a pile of Post-Its or some break room supplies drift away, but small-scale theft can be a canary-esque warning that something far worse is brewing. If workplace culture turns sour and a breeding ground for theft emerges, your losses might remain petty—but they might extend into embezzlement or corporate data theft, so consider those small losses a cue to sit up and get your eye on the ball.

Corporate theft is a spectrum that spans everything between pocketing a pen from the supply closet, through to some of the most nefarious forms of white collar crime. Leadership uncovering a misdeed at any point on this sliding scale can easily dismiss it as an isolated incident, but will theft truly be nipped in the bud through a single disciplinary action or termination? More importantly, what else could these incidences be warning of?

When disappearances or losses are repeating like an unwelcome re-run that should have long been off the air, there’s a good chance that the problem has entered into pervasive territory and is already denting your bottom line. In these moment, turning to a trusted corporate investigations bureau skilled in addressing these kinds of issues is likely going to be your best defense against accelerating future losses.

What Makes Employees Decide to Steal in the First Place?

An employee on the take may simply be a lone bad apple, but it’s worth stepping back and looking at the larger picture after concluding your corporate internal investigations. Perhaps surprisingly, the most common motivations driving corporate theft don’t include the desire to be a criminal mastermind!

Instead, employees might feel as if their employer has wronged them, or that they are not adequately appreciated or compensated for their efforts. They might imagine that their crime is victimless either because it is small, or because the business is insured against theft. Finally, they might have found themselves within an environment where nobody is held accountable for their actions—letting them know not only that they wont be either, but that taking a moral stance within a toxic workplace might just be a waste of their time.

Each and every one of these drivers for employee theft can be traced back to an erosion of corporate culture. When corporate culture is strong, employees feel valued and find satisfaction in succeeding. This forges positive feedback that propels the whole team forwards. So, how can you tell if your corporate culture is in trouble?

What Does Healthy Corporate Culture Look Like?

A good place to start is in understanding what prospering corporate culture is supposed to look like. Healthy workplace culture can be thought of as a cycle—a beloved and welcome rerun in this case—that begins with happy employees. When your team at large are thriving, they will be more engaged, creative, and productive in their daily working lives. Of course, this bountiful reality is the perfect incentive for leadership to continue to invest in their team, delivering rewards such as pay-raises, opportunities, benefits, and praise.

These indicators tell employees that their work is being valued, which boosts their happiness further—and so the cycle continues. Not only can this positive feedback loop allow a business to storm through successive growth, but it can also create a culture of resilience and trust that allows riding out the storm whenever an economic downturn or industry challenge creates bumps in the road. If your efforts to kick-start this kind of triumphant working environment have fallen flat to date, then a corporate culture audit is going to bring whatever is letting you down into focus.

The Risk of Letting Employee Theft and Poor Corporate Culture Slide

If corporate theft is the canary warning of a corporate culture crisis in the coal mine, then what can go wrong if you don’t take action? Sadly, the manifestation of these kinds of pervasive problems can extend far beyond having to buy your stationary twice over. Undervalued employees will not only underperform themselves, but they will inevitably contribute negatively to the engagement of others.

Time theft might be the next impact, as breaks become extended or multiplied, followed potentially by FMLA or compensation fraud. Fundamentally, reoccurring instances of employee theft aren’t something you can afford to ignore. When we consider that 33% of corporate bankruptcies in the US are linked to employee theft, it becomes clear that proactivity is the best approach to keeping corporate theft down, and corporate culture riding high.

How a Corporate Culture Audit Can Help

Trying to assess corporate culture problems from within can be a little bit like trying to see the wood for the trees. Those who are engaging in employee theft will likely be protecting their actions from your eyes, and other employees may feel conflicted by a sense of loyalty to their co-workers, or a shared sense of frustration with their employer. Rather than spiraling through increasingly heavy-handed corporate internal investigations, bringing in expert private investigators to conduct a corporate culture audit can be the most effective way to break a bad pattern of employee theft, misconduct, and underperformance.  

A corporate culture audit can be seen as the equivalent to going to the doctors for a thorough checkup. All areas are evaluated for signs of illness, so that causes can be addressed—and not just symptoms. When corporate investigators carry out an objective and independent audit on your behalf, their comprehensive approach will take in everything from internal operations to your hiring processes, and from spanner-in-the-works employees through to leadership unknowingly taking a damaging approach. Not only will they provide an in-depth report on the current corporate culture landscape of your business, but also a clear road map for resolution and ultimately prosperity.
If you think your business or organization would benefit from a corporate culture audit, get in touch with Lauth Investigations International today. Going far beyond assisting in corporate theft cases, for over 30 years Lauth has been providing corporations with proactive solutions to stimulate real success. We are always here to answer your questions and provide a free no-obligation quote.

Launching Powerful Undercover Theft Operations In The Workplace

Launching Powerful Undercover Theft Operations In The Workplace

corporate theft

When times get tough, corporate investigations become indispensable. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses large and small have had to keep their wits about them in order to survive. Sailing close to the wind, cutting costs, and stretching resources have become the hallmarks of true-grit leadership—something worthy of celebration, no doubt, but also a reality that comes with a price tag of increased vulnerability to the perils of corporate theft.

Unfortunately for all, the present financial landscape means that theft is a temptation to which more people than usual will inevitably succumb. While it might be easy to imagine why people could feel motivated to take without entitlement under such circumstances, it is more vital than ever that corporations can act quickly to tackle all forms of theft—so that they can keep their businesses afloat, and their dedicated employees safe and secure.

Why It’s So Important to Turn the Lens Inwards

Whether you’re missing inventory, the numbers won’t crunch, or you’ve discovered that sensitive company data has fallen into the wrong hands, there’s a good chance that you’re bearing the brunt of corporate theft. How so? Because research indicates that as much as 90% of all significant theft-related corporate losses come at the hands of employees. Staggeringly, the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that American businesses lose roughly $50 billion as a result of employee theft each year.

Whatever their motives and whatever their target, a thief in your midst will likely cover their tracks the moment they think their crimes have been detected. This can make undercover theft operations the most powerful type of corporate investigation at your disposal. When you’ve got no idea who’s to blame—or perhaps. more frustratingly, you’ve got a strong hunch but lack the evidence to prove it—a skilled undercover investigator is ideally equipped to efficiently and discreetly gather and document the information required to act.

What Types of Corporate Investigations Can Be Conducted Undercover?

Not all corporate assets are something that a person can physically lay their hands on. So, while some undercover investigations may aim to root out those responsible for stock disappearances, others may target time theft, corporate data theft, intellectual property theft, and corporate fraud. Adding yet more traction, an undercover investigation within the workplace can be combined with surveillance operations, the gathering of corporate competitive intelligence, data breach investigations, and many more forms of scrutiny, until a complete and clear picture comes to light.

When equipped with all the facts, your organization will be able to act quickly with the peace of mind that the chosen path of resolution is air-tight against legal scrutiny. An external corporate investigations collaborator will add an iron-clad layer of impartiality to the conclusions that lead what happens next. Any business operating with integrity should be able to boldly ride the wave of an economically challenging period without the need to look over their shoulders—it’s the job of a gold-standard corporate investigator to facilitate this.

Corporate Investigations Offer So Much More Than a Single Solution

When your gut is telling you that your organization is a victim of theft, it’s a tough truth that the scale of the problem may be worse than you imagine. Losses appearing on the radar can be a sign that the social dynamics within a workplace have soured, and corporate culture is reaching boiling point. While some corporate thieves operate alone, it’s important to be wary that entire theft rings can develop when toxicity is allowed to fester unchecked.

Trust is a vital ingredient for any thriving workplace, which makes removing those with bad intentions and re-building corporate culture the only route to prosperity when such situations arise. Whether your organization is experiencing the first signs of trouble, or is already in deep, expert corporate investigators can help you course-correct by conducting a corporate culture audit, delivering corporate security and investigations support, and providing in-depth corporate background checks as a protective stage of recruitment.
If you would like to talk through your suspicions with a specialist corporate investigator, the dedicated corporate team at Lauth Investigations is ready to assist. Learn more about the various ways in which we can support you, or contact us today for expert guidance and tailored solutions.

What to Look For When Hiring an Heir Search and Genealogy Firm

What to Look For When Hiring an Heir Search and Genealogy Firm

Whether you are an attorney or administrator seeking assistance in tracking down an heir, or you are simply someone who has recently been notified that you may be entitled to unclaimed assets, how can you be certain that the firm before you possesses the skill and integrity to warrant your trust? An heir search investigator can be a huge investment for your business, but do you know what to look for in a potential firm?

In recent years, an increasing number of heir search companies have popped up advertising their services. However, the fully-rounded toolkit required to complete comprehensive heir searches and genealogy investigations is not something that can be built overnight. Here, we will delve into the indicators that set a reputable firm apart from the rest. With these points in mind, you will be able to choose a collaborator that will provide heir search assistance upon which you can rely.

A Proven and Public Track-Record

If the task of identifying and locating heirs was always a simple one, then the world would not see the scale of unclaimed assets that it does today. Staggeringly, tens of billions of unclaimed assets sit in limbo because those initially assigned to identifying their rightful owners were unable to see their role through to completion.

This may indicate that a lack of initial resources drew the search to a premature close, or it may simply indicate that those responsible for completing the task have come up against substantial hurdles! These are the moments within which an heir search investigator might step in—but, as you can no doubt imagine, that means that an extensive level of experience and understanding will be required in order to achieve success where others have not.

Pursuing a successful claim against assets that are currently adrift means building a clear and unquestionable picture through information gathering and documentation. An heir search investigator will work alongside a genealogy specialist who can research and form a full family tree, so that no heir is left unaccounted for—or they may possess the skills to perform both tasks, depending on the magnitude of the investigation.

The firm you choose should hold state licensure that will enable them to dive into the verified databases used by law enforcement and government agencies to uncover the information that will aid in the completion of that picture. Your partnership with a heir search investigator should also serve as a direct connection to any third-party specialists that your unique case may require. Finally, the credentials of the firm of your choosing should extend far beyond their own website. Look for reviews and testimonials, a wider online presence and, crucially, an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

The Capacity to Scale Investigations as Necessary

An heir search can, at times, become more complex that it at first appeared. Beyond identifying those to whom assets may be due, an heir search investigator’s role may extend to carrying out field work on a national or even international scale. It may also require liaising with a broad range of legal entities and authorities.

Of course, heir search assistance should always be enacted with efficiency in mind, but there is value in knowing that your firm of choice is not only ready and able to scale if you require it, but also highly experienced in doing so. Consider factors such as the scale of resources at your chosen firm’s fingertips, their capacity to dispatch investigators, and to provide multilingual support staff where necessary.

A Complete Understanding of Legal Aspects

The act of making a successful claim upon any asset is fundamentally a legal one. Knowing that you or your client are a rightful heir is not enough—proof is required. As such, a key aspect of any heir search and genealogy firm’s spectrum of talents must be carrying out due-diligence when it comes to providing every necessary piece of documentation.

Going further, not only should your chosen collaborator be ready to collate and present all information in a format that suits court proceedings or the filing of a claim with an asset holding entity, but they should also be adept at providing witness testimony in court, should the need arise. The better your heir search investigator understands the specific requirements that the presented case must meet, they better able they will be to ensure a just reward for you or your client.

A Transparent and Integral Approach to Communication

From the moment your relationship begins with any heir search investigator, you as their client should perfectly know the lay of the land. This begins with transparency in regard to the costs associated with proving heirship, and no upfront fees for core services rendered.

Reputable firms will work on a contingency basis, absorbing costs as the case progresses, and only receiving the pre-agreed fee upon successful recovery of the asset or successful identification of all heirs sought. Depending on the nature of the investigation, costs may be charged at a flat rate, an hourly rate, or on a percentage basis—whichever may be the case, you should be able to enjoy the confidence of knowing where you stand from day one.

The heir search assistance you require may simply come in the form of geneology research and records searches, or it may span into the realms of expert witness testimony or far-flung field investigations. Whether a single investigator or an entire team are working busily on your behalf, updates should be forthcoming at every step of the journey.

Heir Search and Genealogy Investigations from Lauth’s Return Assets Division

Drawing upon decades of investigative experience, the skilled operatives here within the Return Assets Division of Lauth Investigations place due-diligence and integrity and the forefront of everything we do. We work tirelessly to restore assets to their rightful owners, providing peace of mind for heirs, attorneys, and administrators alike as they navigate the successful dissemination of estates, trust and guardianships. Learn more about our Heir Search Services, or contact our team today.

Experiencing Constant Turnover? Here’s Why

Experiencing Constant Turnover? Here’s Why

Every organization inevitably aims to attract the best possible talent, and invests heavily in training new hires. In making these efforts, hopes lie in building a cohesive and dynamic team ready to take on the world. To some extent, a degree of employee turnover is to be expected—a frustrating but realistic aspect of running a business. However, when that turnover begins to escalate, costs mount quickly and progress becomes dogged by a sense of “one step forwards, two steps back”.

So, what drives a ramped up rate of employee turnover? More often than not, the core issue is the health-status of existing corporate culture. Here, we’ll dig into exactly what that means and the warning signs that you can watch for, before examining the value of a corporate investigation for illuminating an effective turnover and retention recovery strategy.

Counting the Cost of Employee Turnover

You might be wondering, why does employee retention matter so much for your business? If you’ve never tallied the costs of recruiting and training replacement employees before, you may be in for a shock. Research from Gallup indicates that the true cost of filling the hole left by a departing employee usually ranges between one-half and two times that employee’s annual salary. What’s more, Gallup warned that these estimates can be considered conservative, while highlighting that they don’t take into account unquantifiable impacts such as damage done to team morale, customer relationships, and brand reputation.

The Importance of Recruitment and Onboarding Strategies

One of the simplest stumbling blocks to excise—particularly when employee turnover is running rampant in the early stages—is a flawed approach to recruitment and onboarding. This critical factor for employee retention begins at the first stage of the hiring process, with the clarity of job descriptions. Research from Allegis Group revealed a dramatic disconnect in this area, with 72% of hiring managers believing that they were providing clear job descriptions, while only 36% of candidates felt that this was the case.

Once a hire is made, the onboarding process is just as key to minimizing employee turnover. While a negative onboarding experience—or no onboarding experience at all—doubles the chances of an employee seeking work elsewhere, an excellent onboarding process can provide a 52% increase to retention rates. Nurturing new hires as they hit the ground running is a solid investment indeed.

The Corporate Culture Connection

It is well documented that corporate culture drives engagement, employee satisfaction, and productivity. When we consider the potential consequences of failing corporate culture—disengagement, poor team dynamics, and even workplace bullying, to name but a few—it is no surprise that a culture crash and soaring employee turnover are bound to go hand in hand.

According to research from Career Builder, a staggering 46% of workers who realized their new job was a bad fit cited toxic work culture as their primary cause for concern. Beyond escalating turnover, other indications that corporate culture may have taken a nose-dive include gossip and negativity in the workplace, unexplained falling profits, low employee attendance, clique-like behavior, and unhealthy competition between employees.

Getting a Handle on the Situation

When the root cause of ramped up employee turnover is elusive, the launch of a corporate investigation becomes the best possible course of action. When working between the complex and layered factors that can cumulatively trigger increased turnover, HR personnel and management can find themselves unable to see the wood for the trees. In contrast, an external investigator is optimally equipped to assess current corporate culture, management practices, and other elements at work in order to lay a path to resolution and rewards. If you would like to learn more about how Corporate Culture Audits from Lauth Investigations can help you increase employee retention rates, contact our team today.

Climate Change Compliance Investigations for Vendors and Contractors

Climate Change Compliance Investigations for Vendors and Contractors

Does your company need a climate change compliance investigation? The answer is most undoubtedly yes.

In the continuous uphill battle of combating climate change across the globe, the evidence that corporations bear the bulk of responsibility has become more undeniable than ever. Just over four years ago, the Guardian reported that just 100 companies were responsible for 71% of global emissions, but little has been done since then to hold corporations in general responsible for how their carbon footprint dwarfs that of any individual citizen of the world. Now, only two days ago, the  U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their anticipated report on the impact of human behavior on climate change stating that the evidence is undeniable—we are causing the land and oceans to warm up faster than they have in 2,000 years in what is being characterized as a “code red for humanity.”  

As corporations seek to mitigate their impact on the alarming rate of global warming, the first step is to clean your own house. Leadership must consult experts in mitigating climate change to learn how their own internal processes may contribute to their carbon footprint, and subsequently comply with those recommendations. However, when it comes to independent contractors and vendors your corporation does business with, leadership must be vigilant about ensuring that those associates are also complying with climate change mitigation. To ensure that their corporation is not supporting noncompliant contractors and vendors, leadership can hire a private corporate investigator to verify their level of compliance.

In a climate change compliance investigation, private investigators have the foremost advantage of subterfuge and anonymity when conducting field investigations. In compliance investigations, its always best if the corporation being evaluated does not know they are being evaluated. A private investigator who conducts a climate change compliance investigation can enter the company’s infrastructure undercover, perhaps disguised as a vendor or a client. Armed with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, private investigators can document the unseen factors within. All evidence is compiled in a comprehensive report and turned over to the client to be used at their discretion.

If your corporation needs the peace of mind that your vendors and contractors are being compliant with your mission towards mitigating your carbon footprint, call Lauth Investigations International today at 317-951-1100 or visit us online at our website to learn more about our corporate investigation services.

Due Diligence in Corporate Mergers

Due Diligence in Corporate Mergers

Fraud | Fraudulent Finance CASE STUDY with Lauth Investigations

Corporate mergers are inherently a tricky business. Not unlike a marriage, it’s the assimilation of two different corporate bodies to form a stronger entity. However, with that marriage comes the tricky business of evaluating the assets, how well two business models will mesh with one another, and how the workforce will be impacted by the merger itself. In the months preceding the merger, however, there is a long fact-finding process in which one or both companies will have a reasonable interest in finding corporate intelligence on the new arm of their structure. That’s where a corporate investigator comes in.

Finding corporate intelligence can be an opaque business in the sense that discretion is highly valued in the hopes of getting the clearest, most comprehensive picture of the corporate entity in question. Parent companies, or companies with the most to lose in a merger, will typically be the type of client a corporate intelligence investigator will see weekly in their careers. The need for this type of information is why corporate intelligence firms exist, so clients can get the clarification they need on the people with whom they are going into business. However, depending on the needs of an investigation, the involvement of a large corporate intelligence firm could still fly above the radar and compromise the needs of the investigation. In these situations a smaller to medium firm may be more appropriate.

An independent private investigator can answer almost any question that an inquiring client would have about a business—beginning with what is in the record, both publicly and otherwise. Through licensure by the state, private investigators are given access to millions of records available on both corporate entities and private individuals. With only a few pieces of information, a private investigator can get background on a company. No doubt, there will be obvious areas of interest, particularly what—if any—forms of litigation the company has been involved in. In reality, the best information comes from the background checks on individuals who drive the company’s mission and operations. After all, a business is only as good as its workforce, and leadership is one of the most important components. Private investigators can get comprehensive background checks on any and all subjects involved in daily operations and big-picture conception. Certain items in an employee’s background, like criminal history or personal litigation history can bring important albeit troubling context to any given concern in a merger situation. Their level of judgement and decision-making will be paramount to ensuring the longevity of the company in the merger.

In addition to verified licensed databases, a corporate intelligence investigator can also provide any online intelligence available from forums, communities, and platforms that allow for feedback and ratings of the business’s products or practices. At the conclusion of the investigation, a corporate intelligence investigator can provide a comprehensive file including all relevant intelligence discovered as the result of an online scrape of the company.

When on-site field investigations are required, the corporate intelligence investigator you need will be adept in hiding in plain sight so as not to pique suspicion of the subjects of the investigation. This sort of corporate intelligence investigator can get the full picture on any internal problems the subject company may be experiencing, such as repeated instances of theft, patterns of internal misconduct, or any number of items of interest during the course of a merger.

When discretion is the highest priority, CEOs and other forms of leadership should consider the expertise of Lauth Investigations International. Lauth Investigations International has over 30 years of experience working with corporations both big and small to make sure they get the answers they need in times of corporate uncertainty. We carry a glowing A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and regularly receive 5-star reviews from grateful clients. Call 317-951-1100 for a free quote or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com