An employee is known as the backbone of any organization. And how it looks when one of those employees is involved in any kind of theft. And, an amusing fact is that every employee admits to stealing from the workplace at least once in a lifetime. But such theft can be damaging, both for the company and to the person responsible for it.
Such thefts are more damaging to small businesses than those at a larger scale. The damage is not just limited to any object, checklists, or anything for that matter. But, more than that it is the reputation of any legal procedures that might take place and the emotional strain too.
Employee Theft is unavoidable. Proper steps and educating employees can reduce the frequency and even if there is any circumstance, there can be proper management to prevent future thefts. These thefts normally occur due to some kind of professional or personal pressure and are not related anyway to job satisfaction. The best way to prevent thefts is by duly understanding their occurrence.
Why Do Employees Steal?
There are many reasons for employee stealing and this can be evident in various forms. Being careful and taking preventive steps and addressing every case can help enforce strict vigilance and avoid any hoaxes. Positive conversation and understanding employee’s temperament is also important as it may prevent any kind of theft.
Some steal just because they find some opportunity while some do it in retaliation of some kind of grudge with the employer. Another reason is that an employee feels that the employer is insured against theft and so can easily deal with it. The next key factor is the punishments and the security measures appointed. If one does not enforce strict vigilance and punishments then there are more chances of theft occurrence.
Let us understand the six common types of employee thefts and how they can be avoided happening in your workplace.
This kind of theft happens in a cash-related business where there is easy access to money. This may be a retail business, small-scale financial firms, etc. It can be done by,
- Skimming, not documenting the sale at all
- Overcharging a customer for a product and retaining the difference
- Stealing cash from lockers, drawers, and other places of cash reach
Drafting clear theft policies and educating the workforce about the serious consequences of such acts can prevent cash theft. The company’s rules and regulations should call out for such an unacceptable code of conduct and clear the strict outcomes. These codes will protect your company from any type of wrongful or defamation suit against the company.
In this type, theft occurs when an employee steals products from the company for his personal use or intending to make some money reselling them. Preventive measures like locking the expensive items, installing cameras, limited access, etc help discourage impending thieves and make it easy to catch who steals.
The most feasible way to avoid such thefts is to create an environment where employees do not feel the need to steal. Paying suitable wages, valuing employees, managers setting examples are some of the ways to keep employees motivated.
This is one of the most sensitive and vulnerable types of employee theft. This does not cost just the company but also access to important company and client information. This includes,
- Stealing company employees’ contact information
- Stealing coworkers’ details like credit card information, addresses, etc.
- Robbing companies’ trade secrets, financial data, sales information, etc.
Such data thefts should be surrounded by strict policies to keep sensitive information safe. Building robust data security for everyday processes can restrict access to sensitive information. Protect files and devices by using passwords and deleting data from devices and disposing of unwanted paperwork.
This theft happens majorly in a service-oriented business. There are often some discounts and offers that are let out for some services ranging from eatery to salon. In such situations, employees may try to avail those services for free. This can be avoided by encouraging employees to report dishonesty of their co-workers and failure to do so shall subject them to trials as well.
This takes place where an employee works in finance-related tasks, issues checks, or en-cashes money. Employees with a mutual understanding might issue fictitious checks or issue extra cash. Such acts can be avoided by segregating responsibilities and appointing more than one employee for such a job.
This kind of theft happens when an employee works in an administration department. An employee can steal time firstly by faking their work records to make it show working long hours than actual time spent on work. Secondly, they can falsify the non-working hours so that it won’t be accounted for an employee’s idle time. Employees need to understand that it’s OK to take breaks and get refreshed but not at the cost of the company.
How to Spot Employee Theft?
With time, theft becomes obvious. Missing office supplies, inventory, and other things are major signs of theft. The gradual drop in profits and losses becoming visible show theft signs and require immediate investigations. Time theft can be measured by poor labor ratios.
Employee strange behavior also indicates stealing. Employees tend to find a chance when no one is around and this can be identified when they tend to either come early to the office or leave the premises very late. There is also another reason why they get into the theft is because of their unnecessary addictions or maybe adoption of lifestyles and luxuries that don’t fit their wages.
How to Prevent Employee Theft?
Luckily, there are few methods through which employee theft can be avoided. While some may be by discouraging employees to take an extreme step, others may be by tightening security measures.
Some common steps that can be adopted can be described as,
Being Vigilant while Hiring
A tough hiring process may prevent defaulters from infecting your workforce. Strict background checks and cross-checking with previous employers for any criminal background may too help.
Make Theft Detrimental
Employee theft happens when employee expectations are not met or when an employee expects too much from the employer. Theft can be made detrimental by offering attractive wages or meeting employee’s needs. A happy workforce is less likely to be involved in unnecessary robbery cases.
Deploy Security Measures
Practicing efficient tracking methods can help in detecting thefts quickly. Computer monitoring systems and the installation of cameras can capture employee unusual behavior and doubtful activities. Cash controlling and financial audits at regular intervals can help in identifying and preventing major problems related to theft.
Being Reliable with Consequences
Drafting relevant security policies and adhering to them irrespective of any cadre or grade is another way of curbing theft. Educating the same to the employees from the very beginning is essential. If at all any theft has occurred, being consistent with the consequences respects the rules and policies else there will be a sense of worth taking a risk.
How to Handle Employee Theft?
Even after exercising numerous measures to prevent employee theft, there is yet any case of thievery, then it becomes important to handle those cases for a corrective outcome. Efficient handling of theft cases may ensure such incidents do not repeat by the same employee or any other. Theft punishments should be equal as they should be still treated as a crime though not a fire-able offense.
Before accusing any employee of robbery, it should be the employers’ duty to collect solid evidence to prove guilty. This is very important as it decides the scale of punishment to the accused. And, before confronting any employee of theft, the employer should be sure that he has pointed to the correct person.
Few cases of theft can be let out with warnings seeing the degree of theft. Termination is somewhat the last option. But, such warning may be taken lightly and the case may recur by the same or another employee. Showing leniency may encourage others to get into the same action as punishment won’t hold any strong consequence to the wrongdoings. No employer would wish to keep defaulters on his payrolls.
Theft at the workplace is also a type of crime. Seeking law enforcement can be required if the internal thefts are covered by insurance. The Police may act as a medium of proof to the insurance company to claim your cover.
In no way you can ever miss a detail and keep track of all activities of your employees using Empmonitor. Business loopholes are much understood using the realistic data-driven employee monitoring system. No theft can go unnoticed with its incredible features, therefore, allowing you to correct and optimize your team.
Empmonitor dashboard gives you the complete details and the very first view is very simple and easy to understand. It provides details on the Assigned Employees, Currently Active, Currently Idle and Absentees. It also gives a chart representation of the days activities and the total activity breakdown.
The software majorly emphasis on the tracking of employee activities and so for the every single activity of an employee can be detected. You can access the number of users who are active at particular moment.
Let us see some additional features that elaborates Empmonitor,
⇒Remote Access Management
⇒Screen Activity Recording
There are employee monitoring software available in the market. With the help of such tools, we can easily track employee behavior and suspicious activities. You can never miss a detail in analyzing employee activities and help improve their productivity.
The key to successful employee theft prevention is by utilizing the monitoring systems that can report and prevent the recurrence of unwanted circumstances. Stealing of any type is a crime, though not fireable.