3nWays to Prevent Employee Theft

Employee theft can be a difficult situation to navigate. The betrayal of your trust is hurtful, but resulting financial repercussions may sting worse.

Sixty-four percent of small businesses surveyed by the University of Cincinnati have faced employee theft with cash as the most common target. To shield themselves from financial loss, businesses must take loss prevention seriously.

1. Hire Quality Employees

Though there is no surefire screening process to weed out those who may steal, you can develop a more rigorous hiring protocol to ensure top-notch talent is employed.  If your company is not performing these activities already, consider the following:

  • Conduct multiple in-person interviews.
  • Require letters of reference.
  • Follow up on said letters of reference. (Some may forge their references. A quick call to the previous employer will reveal what really happened at the interviewees’ last job.)
  • Conduct background checks.
  • Run a credit check. (Someone with bad credit may be under financial pressure and is more likely to steal.)
  • Ask interviewees to take a drug test.

2. Create Policies That Deter Theft

Businesses can establish policies that deter employees from committing theft. A simple tweak to protocol could close the window of opportunity to steal.

  • Enact rotating jobs. Change employee roles periodically. Especially useful in retail, rotating responsibilities help control and mitigate errors and theft, and reduce the risk of collusion between co-workers.
  • Separate duties. For example, one employee should not be in charge of both writing company checks and keeping the books.
  • Encourage anonymous reporting. Employees should have an outlet to anonymously report violations of company policy, uncomfortable behavior at the workplace and other human resource related issues without the need to go to HR directly.

3. Leverage Security Technology

When implemented correctly, security technology can discourage theft and help prosecute guilty parties. Protect your business with the following:

  • Video Surveillance. Keep an eye on your business and your employees’ behaviors. Psychologically speaking, people change their behavior when they know they are being watched. Employees will be less likely to steal, and, if employees are still tempted to steal, it will all be caught on tape.
  • Remote Monitoring. Gain access to your video surveillance system anywhere, anytime. Whether you’ve stepped out for a meeting or are traveling across the world, you’ll be in the know.
  • Access Control. By assigning employees with unique codes or access keys, you’ll know when employees arrive to work, and what areas of the business they access at what time of day. For example, if something is missing from the stock room, you can look at logs to see which employees were in the stock room that day.

Employee theft can be detrimental to a business’ bottom line. Create good loss prevention techniques to prevent incidences.

Have you experienced employee theft? What were some steps you took to mitigate future occurrences? Share your thoughts in the comments below.