Is Employee Theft Impacting Your Business?
As a business owner, you may think you can trust your employees, even your top-level employees. However, studies have shown that employee theft in the workplace is a growing problem for businesses of all sizes.
Research suggests that 75% of employees have admitted to stealing in some form from an employer. Other statistics indicate that employee theft is costing businesses in the United States over $50 billion a year.
If you are an employer, it is critical that you have processes in place to combat this growing trend. The impact it can have on your business is great. Prevention and early detection of potential theft is key to protecting your bottom line.
Why Employees Steal
One of the key ways to help prevent employee theft is to identify some of the most common factors that cause someone to steal from their employer. Some of the most common reasons for employee theft include:
An employee may be experiencing financial difficulties at home from factors such as the loss of a spouse’s job, gambling or other addiction or a medical issue.
An employee may know the weak spots in your business and how to get around your systems. They may also have unsupervised access to cash or merchandise and feel confident that they can get away with the crime.
An employee may feel justified in the theft for reasons including dissatisfaction with their job or supervisor, the desire for a higher salary or their belief that other employees are stealing as well.
An employee may simply like the thrill of stealing and getting away with it.
The Types of Theft That Commonly Occur in the Workplace
Retail establishments and even Fortune 500 companies can become victims of employee theft. Employee theft can come in many different forms. From pocketing a couple of dollars here and there, to stealing office supplies or even large-scale embezzlement, any employee theft should be taken seriously by a business.
In fact, a 2018 study by Hiscox found that 70% of embezzlement crimes took place over the course of more than one year. The average amount stolen was over $357,000. It’s clear that the issue of employee theft cannot be taken lightly.
Most employee theft crimes occur because the employee has unrestricted access to areas, money or merchandise. Some of the common types of employee theft that occur in the workplace include:
- Clocking-in and clocking-out fraudulently
- Doing other work, checking social media or other internet-based distractions on the clock
- Failing to ring-in cash transactions
- Taking merchandise on their person or in a personal bag
- Stealing merchandise to be returned later for cash
- Issuing fake checks
How to Prevent Theft at Your Business
While it may not be possible to have a 100% foolproof way to combat employee theft, there are a number of effective measures you can take to protect your business.
You may be able to increase your chances of hiring a trusted employee by doing some extra work at the front-end. Have comprehensive pre-employment screening processes that include reference checks, background checks and drug screenings.
Make sure that all employees know the consequences of employee theft. Have a clear and confidential procedure in place so employees can report possible cases of theft without the fear of facing any repercussions.
As mentioned earlier, one of the common reasons why employees steal from their employers is because they do not feel valued in their workplaces. As an employer, you can make sure that your employees are paid fairly and offered other benefits such as work-life balance, medical benefits and investing options.
Another way to increase employee satisfaction is to recognize them for their hard work and ensure that they receive adequate direction, feedback and promotion by their supervisors.
Implement Security Measures
When employees know that they are being monitored, they are much less likely to commit a crime at your place of business. You may consider installing video camera surveillance at key locations in the workplace such as behind the cash register, near the entrances and exits or in the back room.
Another effective tactic is to hire on-site security guards to deter theft. Trained security personnel are extra eyes on employees. They have the skills to identify suspicious behavior that might indicate theft. Off Duty Officers has highly-trained security guards that have extensive experience in workplace settings and in preventing employee fraud.
Our guards know the signs of possible employee theft such as an employee: staying late or coming in early without explanation, exhibiting erratic or isolating behavior or flaunting wealth.
No matter your industry or the size of your business, employee theft is an issue for every business owner. Having specific procedures in place can help you combat this alarming trend; however, you may want to consider hiring on-site security guards to help you reduce employee theft at your business.
If you want to explore the option of on-site security personnel at your business, contact Off Duty Officers today to find out more about how our trained professionals can help secure your business.
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