The ubiquity of smart technology and information technology has made work-life balance more attainable than ever in the United States workforce. Telecommuting has made it possible for single parents to work while also caring for their children, and for single individuals to pursue personal passions while maintaining a sustainable living. However, this blurring of the lines between work and life have also brought work stress closer to home for millions of Americans, severely impacting their mental health.
The conversation surrounding work-life balance and its
effects on mental health has developed significantly over the last ten years.
Leadership in major corporations have become more aware of how their corporate
culture not only effects their workforce, but also their brand, productivity,
and their stock holders. The Health and Safety Executive published national
statistics declaring that 28.8 million work days were lost in 2018 due to both
physical and mental health reasons. While physical helath of employees has
always been one of the priorities for major corporations, mental health has
only recently come to the forefront of corporate priorities. In an article by
Sarah Chilton published by Forbes at the beginning of January, Chilton said, “In
some sectors there are cultural issues which are likely to exacerbate the
problems, or make it harder to openly discuss mental well-being. In particular,
high pressure environments, or night shift work for example, can contribute to
mental health issues. My own sector, the legal sector, with its highly
pressurized and competitive environment where there is a long hours and heavy
workload culture, can significantly affect mental wellbeing, but also the willingness
of employees and business owners to discuss it openly.”
This connectivity that Chilton mentions comes in the form of platforms like Slack, Monday.com, and other telecommuting tools that can be huge assets to corporate communication and productivity. These platforms can connect employees located around the countries, for a seemingly more holistic approach to corporate success. When your work is well-connected to the devices we use in our personal lives, such as our phones, our laptop computers, and home-based artificial intelligence like Alexa and Google Home devices, a bleeding source of stress is introduced that can further disrupt our desire for a work-life balance.
Regardless of an employee’s physical location within the
organization, many corporations are beginning to adopt work ratios that have
been proven to reduce this bleed, such as the 25:5 rule. That means a 5 minute
break for every 25 minutes of work completed. This can come in many forms, such
as walking meetings, meal breaks—anything that would stimulate an employee
physically in order to refocus their minds on their work once they return from
that break. This also reduces the physical impact of jobs that force employees
to sit for long periods of time, which has devastating effects on posture,
eye-strain, and lack of circulation in lower extremities that contribute to
health problems such as blood clots and diabetes.
When corporations invest in the mental health of their employees, the positive ripple effects may surprise even the most seasoned executive. Corporate culture moves in a cycle. When employees feel that their mental health is valued at their place of work, their level of engagement is higher in their capacity. This leads to a better quality of communication between employees and stronger engagement on behalf of individuals, which promotes productivity. This increased productivity not only pleases leadership, but also improves the quality of customer service within the organization, which also has the potential to impress and reassure shareholders.
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.
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.