Internal investigations are a tricky and turbulent tide that intimidates many corporations and organizations into staying out of the water all together. Internal investigations can be costly and draw on precious time and resources that are needed elsewhere within the organization. Employees within the corporation or organization might not have the necessary training to conduct a comprehensive, unbiased investigation. However, leadership across the board is beginning to realize that the status quo is no longer acceptable, and must clarify their definition of due-diligence and compliance.
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.
Internal investigations are the first step in solving a pervasive workplace issue. One of the recent viral news stories regarding internal investigations are the stories surrounding The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in which multiple current and former employees have come forward to share their stories of a ‘toxic workplace’ culture that included multiple claims of sexual harassment. Following an internal investigation implemented by DeGeneres, three producers left the show. The Warner Brothers spokesperson who commented was not specific about whether the producers had quit or been fired, but what remains clear is that all men were accused of misconduct. Several former employees have accused producer Ed Glavin of “inappropriate touching, and leading with intimidation and fear.” Former employees have also accused producers Kevin Leman and Johnathan Norman of sexual harassment. Norman and Leman have vehemently denied the allegations made against them, while Glavin has remained silent on the allegations against him.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show faced public backlash and uncertainty in the weeks following the initial allegations, but their commitment to solving these problems kept the court of public opinion at bay through their internal investigation. Corporations would do themselves a service by conducting internal investigations into repeated patterns of misconduct, but not every company has the personnel to do this. Human resource employees are incredible individuals who help keep a corporation or organization running like a well-oiled machine. They are the gatekeepers who bring a new employee into the workforce, and they are the first line of defense when an employee has a problem in the workplace. While a human resources employee might have a sophisticated degree, unless they have diverse experience in conducting corporate investigations, they may not be equipped to handle an internal investigation. Important facts could slip through the cracks, leads could go unexplored, leading to disastrous consequences for the corporation down the line.
Internal investigations are attractive for a number of reasons. Internal investigators work directly for the corporation or organization in question, and know the ins and outs of the business and can conduct the investigation in the best interest of the corporation. Internal investigations are handled by agents of the corporation and do not have to be mitigated in any way. Most importantly, internal investigations are just that—internal—and therefore away from the prying eyes of public opinion. Despite all of the attractive reasons to have an internal investigation, they do not guarantee a protective veneer of integrity that fortifies the end result.
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 your corporation or organization is experiencing repeated instances of internal difficulty, it might be time for a corporate culture audit. A corporate culture audit is a program that examines the internal policies of a corporation or organization, how those policies are enforced, how they effect the employees, and how those employees relate to each other as a result. If the corporate culture in a company is good, that positivity is baked into the internal operations, employees feel valued by their organization, and therefore will remain engaged and invested in maintaining productivity. Pervasive, repeated internal problems may not stem from a single factor, but the entire corporate culture of the workplace. Think of a corporate culture audit like a medical check-up for a business or organization. Lauth’s investigators evaluate the culture from leadership down, identifying the major factors in disruption, and advise leadership on how to improve their business from within. For more information on our corporate culture audit program, click here.