As hard as it may be to believe, employee theft and embezzlement adds up to billions of dollars in loss annually. For any business, particularly a small business, the financial loss can be devastating.
Security experts estimate that as many as 30% of all employees steal, and that another 60% will steal if given sufficient motive and opportunity. Just as hard to comprehend is the idea that honest employees often know theft is happening but fail to inform management of the problem. So what can you do to protect yourself?
Here are a three suggestions:
Pay closer attention. Keep an eye out for the tell-tale signs of internal theft. Has an employee’s standard of living suddenly increased without explanation? Do management or supervisor-level employees insist on handling routine clerical tasks themselves? Are your customers complaining about inflated or hidden charges on a more regular basis?
Make it harder to steal. Ensure that you have oversight and supervision procedures in place and remove the opportunities to steal. Perform regular audits of inventory and bookkeeping, regularly reconcile your invoices and payments, and/or consider installing physical obstacles such as alarm systems.
Work Together. It may sound like a common sense, no-brainer kind of thing, but it bears repeating. Employees are less likely to steal if they know there is a good chance they will be caught. Regular training sessions and “employee awareness” programs can inform employees about stealing problems and keep them on the lookout for theft of any kind.