In some industries, business success is driven by courting client relationships over a drink. Whilst often harmless, this way of working is particularly susceptible to the development of a ‘micro-culture’ where inappropriate behaviours become normalised. Such a culture had grown in the leadership team of a professional services firm and culminated in sexual harassment allegations. We worked with the firm to investigate and help find a way forward.
We swiftly conducted a thorough investigation into the harassment allegations and presented the team with a clear, consolidated report of the facts around the incident. We showed them the next steps surrounding both the episode at hand, as well as the longer-term cultural rebuilding work they needed. We also partnered with their leadership team to help the individuals understand their roles in the culture that had existed, and the new one that would now be built. Together, we set new boundaries and accountability commitments for the future.
The leaders in question showed humility and growth, and gained a reframed perspective on their role in creating reputational and people risk for the Firm. Successful meetings were held across the company where responsibility was taken and it was made clear how they would improve and ensure that this did not happen again. This allowed them to draw a line under the incident and begin rebuilding trust with all employees. Since these sessions, the firm has requested proactive leadership conduct sessions for all of their partners, so they can spot the signs of a negative culture brewing and take immediate action before concerns snowball.