Theft is a prominent problem in a majority of businesses. While shopper theft is common in retail businesses, even more common is employee theft. Small businesses deal with the issue of theft more than large businesses, making the “inside” stealing even more detrimental and personal. In the end, the business and/or the customers wind up swallowing the cost. Worse, many businesses don’t even report the theft to authorities. This means that the thief gets away with the crime while everyone else loses. So, is it possible to prevent employee theft within a company? In this article, we’ll discuss the problem of employee theft and how companies can lessen the probability of theft by taking preventative measures during the hiring process and beyond.
Employee theft is a big problem many companies are uncomfortable talking about. Theft by employees costs small businesses more than $75 billion each year. It’s also estimated that almost a third of this country’s employees will steal from their employer at one point or another. Theft can take the form of stealing money and merchandise or helping themselves to office supplies. Almost 75% of employee theft goes unnoticed, eventually leaving the owners of the business wondering how they are losing money. Only 16% of small businesses report employee theft to authorities because of factors that include emotional ties or feeling like they may never fully recoup the stolen money even when payments are made by the prosecuted.
One of the keys to preventing employee theft before it happens is a comprehensive hiring process. While an employer will never get to fully know a potential employee before he or she is hired, measures can still be taken to find with the available tools. An employer can get a background check on a candidate simply by searching online in some cases. Most sites charge a fee, but background information is available. Some states even have a free public database that displays court information including arrests, warrants, and prior convictions.
Another way to possibly prevent employee theft is to provide a plan that discourages stealing within the company. Make sure employees have a safe and confidential outlet to express any suspicions of others stealing. They should feel comfortable knowing that they will not face any form of repercussion for coming forward. This should be the standard for management and owners as well.
No one likes to be watched at work, but one of the most effective ways to prevent employee theft is through the use of cameras. Installing a DVR based security system in areas such as shipping and receiving, as well as near cash registers and safes, is a smart idea for business owners. Cameras not only catch thieves in the act, they can also deter stealing as well.
In some cases, employee theft is inevitable no matter what preventative measures have been taken by the employer. When all else fails and an employee steals, he or she should not get away with it. Prosecution is the only way for employers and business owners to get justice. While it may seem unpleasant, time-consuming, or costly, sometimes the prosecution of thieves is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that they pay for their crimes. Further, it makes clear that, as an organization, you prosecute internal theft as a rule, which can also act as a strong deterrent.
Need some help with stamping out theft and store security? Specialty Store Services can help! Our retail experts can help you choose the right security solution for your store to get you ahead of theft. Call 800.999.0771 or visit our website for more information.