Does it always feel like something’s missing at your business? It could be because your employees are stealing from you.

From small office supplies to financial fraud, it’s hard to trust your employees sometimes. The truth is, you might actually be making it easy for them.

While it’s nice to want to trust them, facilitating employee theft won’t keep your business in the black. Instead, you have to take precautions to prevent your employees from shutting you down.

Shocking Employee Theft Statistics

Don’t think it could happen to your business? Think again. In fact, 75% of employees have admitted to stealing at least something from their employer. When it comes to shrink, 42.7% comes from employees, not shoplifters.

Employee theft costs businesses $50 billion annually and that includes both large and small businesses. Even if employees only steal a few dollars worth each week, that adds up quickly.

Sadly, most employees who steal once will do it again. These thefts contribute to as much as 7% of annual business profits.

In our home area of Atlanta, GA, employee theft is all too common. In 2015, two employees of the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management were caught selling stolen equipment totaling over $60,000. In 2018, a MARTA official committed fraud and stole almost $100,000 by billing for employee training that never happened.

It can happen to any business. However, you can reduce the risk.

Why Employees Steal

First, understand why employees steal. When it comes to office supplies, it’s usually not because they actually need them. It’s more a symptom of them not being happy with their job and wanting to move on. To them, they’re just getting a little something extra, which they feel they deserve.

Other common reasons employees steal include:

  • They’ve seen others do it
  • They don’t feel they’re paid enough
  • They’re angry at their boss or co-workers
  • They have problems at home and need extra money
  • They love the thrill of it

Security Presence Reduces Theft

Employees steal because it’s easy to get away with it. However, when you introduce a noticeable security presence, it’s not so easy anymore. Security cameras and security guards help deter the urge to steal. After all, employees don’t actually want to get caught.

Believe it or not, security guards can even help reduce fraud. They might notice an employee not acting right or suddenly staying late. They might see an employee accessing a restricted area or trying to hide paperwork. All of these are red flags that something might be going on.

Open Access Increases Theft

Another way you might be making it easy for employees to commit theft is by allowing open access. Every employee doesn’t need access to every room in your business. For instance, employees shouldn’t have access to the HR office unless the HR manager is in there.

If you have areas with highly sensitive data, only certain employees should have access. It’s also okay to restrict what employees are allowed to bring into those areas, such as flash drives or bags where they might hide the things they steal.

Keep Employees Happier

A common reason employees steal is because they’re dissatisfied with how they’re treated at work. For instance, maybe someone else always gets the credit when they do all the work. Or, they’ve consistently requested better lighting in the parking area so they feel safer.

While you can’t please everyone, take notice when employees seem unhappy with not just their job, but their work environment. Ask for anonymous feedback on how your business can improve and pay close attention when employees bring you complaints. Keeping them happier could easily reduce employee thefts.

Encourage Reporting

While security guards are an important step in reducing employee theft, you also need the help of your employees. Some of your employees might be dishonest, but others aren’t. They love their jobs and want to keep them. They know if others are stealing, it could shut down the business.

Set up an anonymous way for employees to report potential thefts. This makes them feel safer making the report. The reports should go to more than one person, just in case the accused is the one in charge of the reports. Share these with your security team to catch the accused in the act. Catching someone shows there are consequences, which further reduces the chance of future thefts.

Contact BOS Security

If you need extra security to help reduce employee theft in your business, contact our team today at 404-793-6965 to find out more about how our employees are trained to spot potential thefts.

You can also check for potential security vulnerabilities and discover ways to better secure your business with our free Security Needs Assessment.

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