A reader writes…
Employee theft has become a topic of discussion lately at my company, as we are evaluating how to reduce costs and increase profitability. What tips do you have to help prevent and stop theft in the workplace?
Theft in the workplace costs businesses massive amounts of money every year. A package of pens here or there could seem pretty harmless, right? Wrong. If you start to think that your employees wouldn’t possibly steal from you, well think again.
American Databank estimates that:
- Employee theft costs U.S. companies over $120 billion a year.
- 95% of all companies are victims of theft.
- Only 10% of employee theft is actually discovered.
- Over 2 million crimes occur in the workplace annually.
These statistics are hard to swallow but are important to keep in mind when deciding to develop a stringent anti-theft policy. Here are my tips to help prevent these problems from even making their way into your workforce.
- Conduct pre-employment screenings. This includes verifying experience, contacting references, conducting criminal background checks, and administering drug tests. As hard as it is to believe, up to 40% of information on applications and résumés is falsified or misrepresented. Companies like Select Staffing conduct extensive screenings before placing seekers on assignment with a client.
- Develop and clearly post your zero-tolerance theft policy. Ensure that all employees are informed of your expectations and the consequences of stealing or ignoring theft by other co-workers.
- Install surveillance cameras in areas that are prone to theft. These areas could include your supply/stock room, employee break room, parking lots, sales floor, or back office. These alone are a huge deterrent to thievery.
- Implement several steps of controls and auditing into your standard routine. Have reports created and pulled that evaluate inventory levels and cash inflows/outflows.
- Have auditors from an independent agency audit and evaluate your financial records.
- Only hire bonded employees for positions where they will manage company finances and inventories. This will protect your company in the event of loss through the employee’s actions.
Employers and managers, what do you do to prevent theft in your place of business? Have you had to terminate an employee for stealing?