Know the Signs of Small Business Employee Theft

Employee theft is an unfortunate problem that many companies have to face. If you suspect that there is dishonesty among your employees, there are signs that may point to the culprit. Even if you don’t suspect theft at your business, it’s important to keep these signs in mind in case in case small business employee theft is part of your future.

Signs of Employee Theft

While you may notice other signs that you’re employees are stealing from you. The following 10 signs are the most common and easy to spot.

1)  Desire to work independently – Do you have employees that seem to always want to work independently without much reason to do so? This could be a cause for concern. Watch out for workers who try to take more job responsibilities in the storage room, back room, or warehouse where there aren’t other employees.

2)  Making big-ticket purchases – Making big ticket purchases on its own isn’t a big deal. For instance, if you know an employee has been saving for that big-screen television for two years. However in some cases, making multiple large purchases in a short period of time, when this spending habit was atypical for the employee, could be a cause for alarm. This is especially true when previously the employee seemed to be short on money a lot of the time.

3) An influx in personal guests – Having a sudden increase in personal guests at your business is another red flag. You should take close notice of a sudden change in the people that your employees are having coming in the store.

4) Payroll and expense issues – Does one of your employees always seem to be having payroll or expense problems? This is another huge red flag for possible dishonest practices. Employees who have a track record of reporting more hours than scheduled, not reconciling petty cash, or failing to itemize expenses, may be a warning sign of theft.

5) Change in work habits – Any sudden change in work habits can be a signal that an employee is doing something against your company’s policies, including theft. For example, an employee who previously showed up right on time, but now is making it a habit of arriving early before anyone else and staying well past most employees leave, may point to something else going on.

6) Customers reporting theft or inconsistent pricing – If you have customers complaining that they noticed prices are inconsistent, or the change they received from a clerk didn’t match what was owed to them, you should keep an eye on that employee. Customers may be noticing something dishonest going on in your store.

7) Change in employee behavior – Like a change in work habits, employees who have sudden changes in behavior may be doing something dishonest at work. This includes having out-of-the-blue issues with their superiors, getting into verbal disagreements with colleagues or customers, and showing attitude problems regarding work.

8)  Suspicious vehicles – Keep an eye out on your company parking lot and pay attention to any vehicles that may seem suspicious. Especially in the case of mysterious vehicles parked near loading areas, you should find out who owns the vehicle and why they are suddenly parked in these areas.

9)  Excessive absences and tardiness – There are many reasons why an employee who was previously on time is suddenly developing a habit for calling in sick and being late to work. Unfortunately, one of the reasons may be that the employee is doing something dishonest under your nose, like stealing. Employees who have others steal from their company for them, tend to not be around when it is occurring and begin missing work on a regular basis.

10) Cash drawer discrepancies – A discrepancy with employee’s cash drawers every once in a while is probably nothing to be concerned about. But you should pay attention to certain patterns in these discrepancies. For example, if you notice one employee has a continued problem with discrepancies following voided sales or a pattern of cash missing from the cash drawer, it could point to a stealing problem.

No employer wants to find out that they have employees stealing from their company, but it is a reality. If you pay close attention to the signs of small business employee theft, you can stop it before it gets out of hand and really makes a negative impact on your business.