Corporate Culture Audits: Why Hire a Private Investigator?

Corporate Culture Audits: Why Hire a Private Investigator?

Private investigators can be the best candidates to perform corporate culture audits

When corporations make the investment to evaluate their corporate culture, it’s important that they choose a vendor who offers a comprehensive audit program. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) saw an overall increase of 13.6% of sexual harassment filings in 2018. That’s not counting other filings for discrimination based on age, race, and sexual orientation. This has placed corporations on high alert as the nation’s capitalist climate gears up for change in their workplaces. This means that when leadership opts for a corporate culture audit, it’s important that their money is well-spent, and one of the best moves to make is hiring private investigators to handle the audit.

Many corporate culture audits are performed by independent risk assessment firms, which is to be expected. Risk assessment firms specialize in identifying the weak points in a business from their workforce background to their brick and mortar security. However, if leadership is going to invest in improving their corporate culture, it’s important that they pick a program that offers comprehensive services. While risk assessment firms might employ highly capable auditors capable of identifying security oversight or performing background checks, every business is different, and it’s important that the program selected fit every business true-to-form. That’s where a private investigator can be an invaluable asset.

Private investigators as a profession have a lurid reputation for following philandering spouses and people suspected of worker’s compensation fraud. The same tool chest that allows them to perform those services is the same one that makes them ideal candidates to perform corporate culture audits. Private investigators have an eye for detail, diligent drive, and a meticulous ability to evaluate and make recommendations based on what they’ve observed. These are the types of professionals you want when it comes to assessing the culture of your business or organization.

Independent risk assessment firms are just as excellent in identifying the risk factors that put a business or organization at risk, such as vulnerabilities in their securities, faulty hiring processes, and at-risk employees based on their history—but what about the human element within a corporate culture audit? Corporate culture audits are so much more than comparing documents and surveying brick-and-mortar locations. It’s also about understanding how current employees function in a workplace ecosystem. Private investigators, with a wealth of experience in evaluating human behavior and emotions, can be the boots-on-the-ground investigators who can speak with current employees and collect data on their impressions of the current work environment and how the culture can be improved. Some of the questions private investigators may address include, but are not limited to:

  • Is everyone in the company invested in the same things?
  • What are the valued differences between your corporation and the competition?
  • What are the key measures of success within your company?
  • 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?

By answering these questions and calculating the human responses, private investigators can provide executive leadership with recommendations based on more than what exists on paper; for example, the last item on that list regarding the identification of subcultures. Private investigators do not only look at the behavior of individual employees, but also how those employees relate to each other. In workspaces where there are employees of 10 or more, it is hyper-common for subcultures (or groups) to form. This happens when individual employees gravitate towards one another as a result of their shared interests, goals, or gripes. Their comradery can either contribute to the cycle of corporate culture, or undermine it. When a subculture forms because the employees all have similar degrees of dissatisfaction with their job (regardless of the reason), their validation of one another in solidarity can be a cancer within the organization. This is why it’s imperative to hire corporate culture auditors who have a high level of understanding of human behavior—they can provide a comprehensive picture of how their current employees are contributing to the cycle of corporate culture.

While private investigators may not be able to dismantle subcultures, they can change the conversation within those subcultures. Groups of employees who bond over poor treatment from a supervisor or frustration with current internal processes will have to find other things to talk about once these issues are addressed and remedied appropriately. This is one of the ways that we improve the cycle of corporate culture. When employees see pervasive issues being addressed by leadership, they are inherently more engaged in the process, which can increase the quality of communication, the level of productivity, and the overall health of the workplace. Private investigators are some of the best professionals to perform these audits ultimately because they have a grasp of human behavior that allows them to accurately pinpoint the issues and make recommendations to leadership.

Corporate Culture Audit: What to Expect During an Audit

Corporate Culture Audit: What to Expect During an Audit

corporate culture audits

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 leadership.

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 things?
  • What are the valued differences between your corporation and the competition?
  • What are the key measures of success within your company?
  • 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 success.

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.

Healthy Corporate Culture vs. High Compensation

Healthy Corporate Culture vs. High Compensation

Every CEO wants to believe their employees are clocking in for more than a paycheck every day. They believe in their corporation’s mission and perceive their employees to be just as enthusiastic and engaged as they are. They believe their employees’ compensation is more than enough motivation to fully dedicate themselves to the company’s mission in their day-to-day operations. However, a recent study conducted by Glassdoor has shed a very different light on employee engagement with regards to corporate culture. 

Glassdoor surveyed 5,000 adults across 4 different countries, including the United States, and found that salary is not the only factor in an employee’s satisfaction with their job. Job seekers are upping their standards when applying for jobs. The study concluded that 70% of applicants would not apply to a company unless its values align with their own. This will only become more prevalent as time marches on, with data points on age producing some unexpected results. The study defined the demographic of millennials as individuals aged 18-34. Those individuals indicated they valued a company’s culture more than the level of compensation. This is significant, because millennials are currently the largest employed generation in the workforce. 

As they age, corporations will feel the pressure to change their corporate culture so they can retain existing employees and create a healthy corporate environment for future employees. Social media and smart technology are largely responsible for this shift in the attitude of job seekers. Not only is news and information about corporations ubiquitous and accessible, but current and former employees also have platforms like Indeed and Glassdoor to share their employment experience with the world. With a constant communication line to the rest of the world, the line between one’s work life and personal life will only continue to become more blurred. As such, daily happiness and satisfaction within one’s job is more important than ever. 

The study went on to state that 74% of employees who participated in the survey said they would leave a position if the company’s culture has declined. Amanda Stansell, the senior economic research analyst for Glassdoor, points to all of these as reasons why corporations must take their current culture into account, “Even if the company culture is good, it can change, especially if they aren’t reactive and constantly measuring employee satisfaction and actively working to improve it.”

Forbes also noted in recent months that many corporations are expanding internal investigation teams in order to address pervasive internal issues more efficiently. The more we know about the cycle of corporate culture tells us when leadership is engaged. CEOs and management must engage with their employees beyond their quotas and productivity level. Some leadership may believe things like a pitch-in or birthday parties for employees are enough to keep employees happy, but the problem runs much deeper. Employees want to see leadership actively improving daily operations by listening to employee feedback and instituting new strategies that contribute to the health of the workplace. This means supervising communication lines and holding apathetic employees accountable when they contribute to stalls in operations. It is an opportunity to lead by example for the entire workforce. When employees see engaged leadership, they feel validated in their part of driving success within the corporation. This leads to increased engagement within the workforce, which leads to increased productivity. Increased productivity means happy leadership, which starts the cycle anew with happy employees. 

When a corporation is functioning as a well-oiled machine, it can be easy to neglect the corporate culture in day-to-day operations. If productivity is up, leadership remains happy—but executives and management must make a focused effort to take an interest in their employees’ happiness in the workplace. This prevents employee apathy, improves daily operations, and overall, contributes to the long-term health of the company. The company retains employees at a higher rate, which decreases turnover expenses, and creates a fortified workforce essential to promoting success.

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.

Corporate Structure is Not Corporate Culture

Corporate Structure is Not Corporate Culture

The biggest mistake executives make when trying to improve their corporate culture…

The corporate culture within any company, without question, effects their bottom-line day to day. Just to name a few avenues, this occurs through operations, interpersonal relationships between employees, and a level of engagement from leadership that requires consistent enforcement of their established mission and values. Because a corporation’s internal culture often remains hidden from consumer view, it’s not uncommon for leadership to simply restructure operations. Unfortunately, if every aspect of a company’s culture is not examined, this solution is just a band aid.  

The Ice Berg Metaphor 

When concerning a corporation’s culture, we often use the iceberg metaphor as a means of defining it. Ten percent of a corporation’s values and culture are above the water where the public and consumers can see it, and the other 90% lies below the surface. It’s that 90% that directly affects a company’s employee morale, productivity, and bottom line. A corporation often places its highest priority on how they are perceived by their consumer base, and therefore that 90% of company culture and values are either placed on the back burner, or corporations find themselves at a complete loss of how to get in front of the issues. 

The reason restructuring internally does not improve a company’s culture in the long-term is because the effects of a company’s culture are cyclical, and have nothing to do with the chain of command or employee hierarchy. The graphic above illustrates how a healthy company culture affects a company’s day-to-day operations

Happy Employees 

Some other band aid fixes for happy employees include things like discounted vending machines in the breakrooms, or regular celebrations of major holidays and birthdays. These lovely notions might improve culture for a day or even a week, but the pervasive internal problems will remain. 

Engagement 

Happy employees are engaged employees. When a corporation’s culture is healthy, employees feel invested in the success of their companies. The company’s success becomes internalized as their own success, and they are more likely to be plugged in, to take initiative, and to think outside of the box when it comes to problem-solving. 

Improved Operations 

When employees are leaning into their positions and actively working towards a company’s goals, that leads to smoother daily operations. Engaged employees are constantly finding ways to improve their processes so they can generate higher rates of productivity within their positions 

Productivity 

When daily operations are streamlined, this yields higher levels of productivity within the company. An employee’s daily duties are no longer a monotonous checklist, but a recipe for success for their company. An engaged employee’s success is the success of everyone in the corporation, and the same is true of productivity. A single employee’s increased productivity is the entire company’s success. Not only does this set an example for all employees, but increased productivity is what helps a company grow, mature, and prosper. 

Happy Leadership 

This one is a no-brainer. Anyone who has ever been employed knows that a happy boss makes a happy employee. Leadership sees the increase in engagement and productivity and lean into that success. Good leadership will reward that success in tangible ways that will have long-term effects on the company’s culture. They promote or give raises to those employees who are giving 100%, empower those employees through collaboration and development, and are more open to the thoughts and ideas of employees who are contributing to their success. 

Morale 

When leadership is actively encouraging employees through a pure manifestation of the company’s mission and values, employees feel as if they are making a difference within their organization. This increases the feeling of purpose and desire for cooperative teamwork. These feelings inspire employees to continue their pattern of success through the diligent, genuine practice of a company’s established mission and values. Increased morale means happy employees, and that’s where the cycle begins anew, exponentially influencing a company’s success with each cycle. 

Structure is Not Culture 

The network of operations within a company will never have a direct effect on company morale. Poor daily operations due to structure are really just a symptom of unhealthy corporate culture—a manifestation of poor culture at work. To diagnose the problem, many corporations turn to independent firms to conduct corporate culture audits in order to identify the problems within a company or organization. These firms measure a company’s daily operations, their quality of communication, and interpersonal relations among employees—just to name a few factors. When a corporate culture audit is comprehensive and curtailed to the organization, the findings can be invaluable to leadership that seeks to grow and mature in tandem with their values. 

To Review…

 As mentioned above, employees who see a consistent display of established values from leadership, they’re more engaged and productive. It’s one thing to have the company’s mission statement and list of values posted online or on the wall within a workplace. It’s a completely different ballgame when leadership puts their money where their mouth is, and serves as an example for the entire workforce. That example can have a ripple effect creating an interpersonal trust between employees, in which they all feel like they’re on a team, working towards the same goal. It is in the nucleus of that atmosphere where real change and growth begin.