The media and financial worlds saw the grueling impact of poor workplace culture this week as media giant Fox News has finally agreed to pay $1 million in penalties after a workplace culture investigation concluded following allegations of sexual misconduct within the network. The allegations ended in the departure of Fox’s co-founded Roger Ailes, and anchor, Billy O’Reilly. The chairperson and commission for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis, stated in an interview on Tuesday, “This is the largest civil penalty that has ever been levied by the City Commission on Human Rights. We need to send a message in order to deter future acts of harassment or retaliation.”
Part of the success of the settlement is the clause that prevents Fox News from requiring confidential arbitration in cases where an employee files a complaint under the Human Rights Law. This action prevents Fox News from privately hashing out the legalities of such complaints behind closed doors with little to no public accountability, giving the corporate culture little to no reason for change. Corporations, especially highly visible ones like those resembling Fox News, must have the oversight in place to ensure problems like sexual harassment allegations do not have the consequential chance to gut the company from within. With an appropriate structure in place, a workplace culture investigation can draw problems like employee misconduct out into the open as if drawing poison from a wound.
Stories like the one about Fox and their workplace culture investigation are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, seeking a workplace culture investigation in order to excise malignant sources of disruption from your company’s daily operations is an investment in the longevity of the company. Employers who are vigilant about their workplace culture can expect to see an increase in productivity as employees become more engaged in their jobs as the result of healthy corporate culture. However, it’s headlines like the ones associated with the Fox settlement that also have employers recoiling at the idea of a workplace culture investigation. After all, the investigation could very easily turn up problems that will continue to cost the company time and money in correcting. Employers may be expected to pay out large sums in court as the result of any subsequent legal action, and the bad press associated with workplace culture investigations are undesirable in the corporate world. However, the longer corporations and employers ignore the issues surrounding workplace culture, the more devastating they can expect the impact will be once the problem is forced into the open through circumstances such as whistle-blowing, criminal investigations, or involvement from another state or federal entity. In the case of Fox, the fallout from sexual harassment allegations should have come as no surprise to internal staff who have fielded these allegations over and over again. In any case however, the hope that the publicity of a workplace culture investigation will once and for all force the company to overhaul their culture and improve the lives of their employees and the longevity of their company.
If you have need of a workplace culture investigation, consider Lauth Investigations International for your needs. We are staffed by former military and law enforcement personnel with diverse experience in workplace culture investigations. We carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and regularly receive grateful reviews from out clients. Call 317-951-1100 for a free consultation or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com
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.
Pervasive internal issues are the malignancies that
contribute to the decline of any corporation. While they come in many shapes
and iterations, issues like communication, employee engagement, and employee relations
can quickly derail a corporation’s mission. That’s why corporations across the
country are electing to undergo corporate
culture audits in order to get a full picture of what the internal issues
are so they can make concentrated efforts towards improving their business.
No two culture
audits will ever be the same—which is as it should be. Every company or
organization is fundamentally different from one other, not only due to its structure
and size, but because no workforce should be evaluated with the same measuring
stick as another. It’s imperative that the context of every single corporation
be fully explored. Full context can include, but is never limited to things
like corporate mission, vision, values, internal operations, structure, and
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. Here are some things that a corporate auditor might look at when they evaluate a corporation or organization:
Is everyone in the company invested in the same
What are the valued differences between your
corporation and the competition?
What are the key measures of success within your
What is the functionality of the leadership in
place versus the leadership required for success?
What are the environmental factors that are
contributing to the decline in culture?
What is the history of your company’s culture
from its foundation?
What are the subcultures that have formed in
your organization and what is their role within the company?
Corporate culture audits usually begin by speaking to
leadership. As the old adage goes, “The fish stinks from the head.” Many
problems within an organization can be traced back to problems with leadership,
and corporate culture auditors evaluate from the top down. Even if a CEO or
manager is engaged in supervision of daily operations, they may still be making
daily mistakes that contribute to stalls in the process.
Once leadership has been evaluated, auditors turn their
attention to internal operations. This involves looking at the chain of
command, the productivity flow (how the integral processes move from employee
to employee), and the quality of communication throughout the company. This
might involve interviewing department heads, reviewing meeting minutes, and
evaluating the environment of the workplace. This step is crucial, because regardless
of the leadership or employees in place, if the ecosystem of the workplace is
flawed, it can be difficult for even the most efficient, engaged employee to achieve
Evaluating the environment and internal operations is
tantamount to establishing a bulletproof process for success—leaving the
workforce as one of the final pillars to be examined by the auditor. When you
seek a comprehensive picture of your employees’ level of engagement, it’s
important for auditors to identify the subcultures that are either contributing
or derailing your company’s mission and values. For example—there might be a
cluster of apathetic employees, who are not only disengaging together, but their
behavior actively encourages other employees to exhibit the same habits. This kind
of apathy can be a cancer in your corporation and may spread to other parts of
your workforce, further contributing to the decline of business.
Most importantly, at the conclusion of the audit, an
investigator will prepare a detailed report with very explicit recommendations
for how to fix the problems within the corporation or organization. This could
include items such as the termination of toxic employees, the revitalization of
internal operations, and necessary changes to a brick and mortar locations for
increased security or higher accountability. Once the audit is complete, the
burden of change lies with leadership to become beacons of change within the
internal structure. Corporate culture begins to improve when leadership
enforces changes from the top, allowing their example to trickle down through
the organization in the form of higher accountability and increased engagement.
If your corporation is suffering from a corporate crisis, don’t hesitate. Corporate culture audits are pulling more and more companies back into the black every day. Even if the crisis seems relatively minor, it could be symptomatic of a larger problem within your organization. Call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our brand-new Corporate Culture Audit (CCA) program. Our dedicated and qualified staff composed of former military and law enforcement officers will get to the bottom of your internal problems. With Lauth Investigations International, you can expect hands-on, comprehensive services, detailed reports, and expert recommendations. When it comes to your business or organization, you should only expect facts, not fiction.
Culture can be the beginning and end of your company. Many executives and other members of leadership simply think of corporate culture as what the company stands for. This can be expressed through a corporation’s mission statement, their reported “vision,” or their promise to deliver their customers with the best products and services available. Corporate culture actually goes much deeper, beneath the surface to which the consumer public is privy. The MISTI Training Institute actually defines corporate culture as “the set of enduring and underlying assumptions and norms that determine how things are actually done in the organization.” It is not enough for leadership to state that they have inspiring beliefs and mission statements, if they do not run corporations to reflect those beliefs.
Even after hearing a more definitive explanation of
corporate culture, many executives may still shrug their shoulders and insist
that they have a great corporate culture. They think operations are
streamlined, employees are engaged, and there are no weak links in the chain.
They take solace in the fact that they have things like Taco Tuesdays, or
Casual Fridays that improve the work environment and keep employees happy.
While these are great ways to foster comradery within the workforce, they are
band aid solutions to happy employees. The bottom line is: Healthy corporate
culture begins with happy employees.
A recent study conducted by Glassdoor indicates that a majority of working individuals in the United States would prefer a healthy corporate culture to a higher salary or rate of pay. Their day-to-day becomes manageable when they feel as if they are part of a larger team with a greater purpose. This graphic displays the cyclical nature of healthy corporate culture in motion. The cycle begins with happy employees. When trying to improve employee morale, leadership should strongly consider an internal audit of their company’s culture to identify pervasive issues within their corporation’s operating structure. Events like birthday parties for employees, or buying lunch for the office every few weeks are nice gestures by leadership, but they cannot act as solutions to repetitive issues. When these issues are not addressed within the corporation, employees often feel as if their value begins and ends with their productivity, as if they are cogs in a larger machine they cannot control. When leadership actively engages with employee concern on operation issues and makes dedicated and focused attempts to fix them, employees feel as if their voices are heard and their input is valued within the organization.
This leads to improved engagement on behalf of those valued
employees. They are prompt to work, freshly-groomed and instilled with a sense
of purpose as their co-workers progress with them towards the organization’s
goal. The level of communication between employees will not only improve in
quality, but the rate of response to correspondence also has the potential to
increase dramatically, because the employees are engaged in the process and are
eager to complete tasks on time—possibly even early.
Once employee engagement is up, leadership can expect to see
an increase in the productivity of the workforce as a whole. Engaged employees
approach their task with the confidence of a professional, and the confidence
that comes from the feeling of support within the organization. Studies have
shown that productivity can increase by as much as 28% when a corporation’s
culture is given a major overhaul.
When productivity increases, everybody in the company
benefits. Having their requisites satisfied, leadership can let their focus
extend beyond daily operations. This expanded scope of supervision leads to
higher engagement on behalf of leadership, which feeds back into a healthy work
environment in which they are happy to reward the stellar performance of their
employees. When employees feel their work is valued, the cycle begins anew.
This shared body of beliefs that the company claims to have
in the public eye should go all the way to the CEO and be directly reflected in
the day to day operations of the company. When leadership remains plugged in
and continues to expand the scope of their supervision, internal issues cannot
pervade within the workplace. In healthy work environments, the level of
improvement that can occur week to week will only serve the company’s larger