Quid Pro Quo: How It Can Rot Your Corporation from Within

Quid Pro Quo: How It Can Rot Your Corporation from Within

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Job interview or meeting with bank worker in office. Business man considering. Discussion about loan, mortgage or insurance. Human resources conversation. Hiring or getting fired.

When we think of the phrase quid pro quo, “something for something,” we typically think of sexual harassment in the workplace. The presumption is in cases of sexual harassment is that a boss or supervisor will make unwanted advances towards their subordinate employees in exchange for work benefits or under threat of termination. But quid pro quo comes in multiple forms, and corporations should be vigilant of such activity within their organization, or risk a harmful malignancy in their corporate culture that will ultimately have negative consequences.

In the context of sexual harassment, quid pro quo means that an employee has been subjected to unwelcome advances as a term of their employment. This obviously constitutes a hostile work environment, and while it is morally repugnant to ignore such behavior, there are also negative consequences that impact the entire business. A hostile work environment can cause disruptions to daily operations that are costly for the business or organization. A person who is subjected to sexual harassment from a superior or other coworker is typically not as engaged as other employees. They do not dedicate the same level of focus to their work as they would in a non-hostile work environment. They tend to make more mistakes, and be more inclined to malinger in order to avoid their circumstances. This can lead to loss of productivity that may ultimately affect the corporation’s bottom line. It also poisons the cycle of corporate culture. As the affected employee disengages from their position, it can have a ripple effect throughout the workplace that will cause the corporate culture to rot.

Another form of quid pro quo that is less covered by media is bribery. Under the definition of “something for something,” bribery can occur between clients and their contractors, between contractors and businesses, or between businesses. When it occurs between businesses, this is typically the result of a mutually beneficial agreement. In another scenario businesses might also pay government officials for preferential treatment that would effect their bottom line. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Studies show that [corporate bribery] is also counterproductive resulting in lower profit margins, return on equity, and employee morale; costly delays as players haggle over the size of the kickback; and poverty and poor governance in the markets where they’re paid.” It goes on to say that according to the World Bank, “roughly one-third of firms around the world use kickbacks, paying an estimated total of $400 billion a year.”

Quid pro quo situations like sexual harassment and bribery also open the business or organization up to a parade of legal action and bad press that can ultimately devastate a company. Both corporations and nonprofits alike have seen whistle-blowers go to the government or the press if their concerns are not being heard from within the organization. Perhaps there is a sexual predator in the organization who was not terminated following a comprehensive investigation, or the investigation was not comprehensive at all. Many corporations might incorrectly assume that it is easier to push the problem under the rug rather than deal with the costs of turnover—interviewing a replacement, vetting applicants, and then devoting resources to training and onboarding. However, should the circumstances of the quid pro quo every become public, the costs of ignoring the problem will eventually be paid in full in litigation costs, bad press, and loss of business.

If you suspect there is quid pro quo going on in your business or organization, you can find answers with Lauth Investigations International. Lauth’s team of private investigators is comprised of former military and law enforcement personnel who are highly-trained in intelligence operations in corporate settings. We can perform background checks, initiate discrete undercover operations, offer top-notch surveillance, and provide expert recommendations for our clients. We carry a stellar A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and are available 24/7 for our clients.

How Internal Investigations Improve Corporate Culture

How Internal Investigations Improve Corporate Culture

Internal investigations can weed out things like racisim, sexism, and other forms of discrimination.

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.

Corporate Diversity Improves Culture, Increases Profits

Corporate Diversity Improves Culture, Increases Profits

Corporate diversity improves businesses from within
Executives are finding that corporate diversity is not only the right thing to do but the prudent thing to do.

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.

New ideas

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.

Better ideas

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.

Better culture

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.

Corporate Culture & Employee Litigation

Corporate Culture & Employee Litigation

Corporate Culture & Employee Litigation

Every corporation needs an excellent in-house attorney to fight complex legal battles in their stead—someone to act in the best interests of the company and its future. In addition to the everyday intricacies of business litigation, house counsel may also have to field lawsuits from current or former employees who have a legal objection to something that happened during their tenure at the business. When employee lawsuits become a pervasive issue at a business, not only is the cost in billable hours exponential, but the legal judgements that result from these litigations can be devastating for companies. While litigation in general can be characterized as the cost of doing business, companies with healthy corporate culture experience a much lower rate of employee lawsuits. So, how can healthy corporate culture reduce the chance of a lawsuit?

Corporations across the United States are starting to understand the value of healthy corporate culture. Employee lawsuits aside, unhealthy corporate culture can have detrimental, snowballing effects that occur when employees are unhappy in their capacity and unengaged in their work. This is why corporations must improve their culture from within, so that employee retention and productivity remain high. Corporations also have millennials making up the majority of the workforce in the nation, complete with a set of values that propels them to seek a better work-life balance. This means that millennials are less likely to stay in a job where they are unhappy, and will simply seek a more amendable opportunity that allows them to have the work-life balance they desire.

When employees do not feel heard or valued by their employer, they’re far more likely to file a lawsuit related to their grievance. And unfortunately, no company is safe. In 2010, 99,922 EEOC charges were filed in the state of Florida alone, a datapoint that makes leadership wonder not if they’ll be the target of a lawsuit, but when. Employee lawsuits can drag out over months or even years, exponentially getting more expensive. The average settlement in an employee claim or lawsuit is $40,000. That expense alone can be devastating to a company, but that does not account for the disruption to daily operations, and the fact that litigation costs are on a steady rise. In 10% of cases, settlements result in $1 million or greater, a sum that could be the beginning of the end for many medium to small corporations.

The risk of a lawsuit can be even greater depending on the state in which it is filed. According to the Hiscox Group, a majority of states carry around a 10% change of having an employee lawsuit filed against them. However, in Georgia, the probability is 19%. In states like New Mexico, California, and Nevada, the probability can be as high as 55%. The area with the highest probability of litigation is the District of Columbia, with a terrifying 81% chance. The reason for the wide range in probabilities is two-fold: First, the legal standards in each state regarding discrimination and hostile work environments can vary. Secondly, the states with higher risks have more binding laws regarding litigation that can create extra hurdles for companies at the state level. This is why corporations must stay current on employment legislation, especially if they have locations across multiple states/jurisdictions.  

So, how can corporations protect themselves against litigation from current or former employees? In-house counsel fields lawsuits when they are filed, but did you know there was a more proactive method to combatting employee litigation? The answer is simple: healthy corporate culture. When a corporation has a healthy corporate culture, it means that the employees feel valued by their employers in their capacity within the organization. It means that employees who feel valued are engaged, thereby greasing the wheels of internal, daily operations. This increased productivity means progress for the company, and the cycle of healthy corporate culture begins anew with leadership rewarding engaged employees for their hard work.

Research shows that the number one reason behind employee lawsuits is retaliation. In an average scenario, the employee reports an internal issue, usually regarding a form of discrimination. Following the inclusion of the investigation, when the employee cannot track for upward mobility, or a form of unwarranted disciplinary action occurs, they assume the reason is for reporting the previous issue. This can result in that employee filing a lawsuit for receiving unfair treatment on behalf of their employer. When organizations have healthy corporate culture, this is far less likely to occur.

If your company or organization needs a corporate culture overhaul, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our corporate culture audit program. We can help you improve your business from within and decrease the likelihood of employee lawsuits. When it comes to your business, you should expect facts, not fiction.

 

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The Cycle of Corporate Culture

The Cycle of Corporate Culture

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. 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 goals.