If you are worried about employee theft in your small business, the first thing you should do is protect your business with a crime insurance policy. After that, there are ways to discourage theft by your employees. You’ll likely run a background check to verify applicants do not have a criminal history before hiring them, but that doesn’t mean they won’t commit a theft if they have the chance. Here are five tips for discouraging employee theft in the workplace.
1. Keep an Eye on Your Employees
Not only can supervising and keeping a close eye on employees help you look for signs of potential criminal activity, but when employees know they are being supervised, there is a natural deterrent. Most thefts in the workplace occur because of circumstance and opportunity. If you remove the opportunity of theft, you can considerably decrease the its frequency. Keep a close eye on your employees, not by watching what they do at all times, but checking in on them regularly. Also look for warning signs, such as:
- Signs of drug or alcohol use
- Arriving early or leaving late
- Borrowing money often or writing bad checks
- Lack of focus during work hours
- A high lifestyle above their salary level
2. Track Inventory
If your employees know you don’t keep track of inventory, you are waving a white flag to steal items and not get caught. Keep record of all your inventory, whether popcorn buckets used in your movie theatre, or jewelry and merchandise in your retail store. Regardless of what types of products you sell, you can track your inventory. Count items often, and have a detailed inventory program to notice when anything has gone missing.
3. Protect Your Computer Systems
Another form of theft that might occur is with your company’s computer systems. Have updated computer software installed to avoid losing money from your accounts. Experienced thieves might also figure out your computer inventory software, so protect that software as well. Have different log-ins for every employee for all computers and programs, so that you can track what employee is doing what when using company computers. Practice safe
4. Have an Open Door Policy
In many cases, it is another employee that notices their co-worker stealing or committing fraud against the company. You have a lot to oversee, so you might not notice the theft or the warning signs before it occurs. To prevent more serious loss, have an open door policy, whereby employees can report anything they suspect. Also, make it easy for them to do so anonymously with no repercussions.
5. Introduce Surprise Audits
Instead of having scheduled audits, surprise employees by simply doing a random check every once in a while. During the first one, you might already see some suspicious behavior. After that, employees will know they can occur at any time, and will be deterred from committing theft or fraud against your business.
With these easy tips, you can prevent employee theft from occurring. You should also have business insurance for protection just in case a theft occurs.