Believe it or not, even small thefts at your workplace can have a large negative impact on your business. In fact, according to ARS, the median loss for companies with 500 or less employees is $280,000 per year! To add insult to injury, small companies usually have far less anti-theft measurements in place and are even more susceptible to theft than large organizations, according to Tim Dimoff.
As a business owner, it is important to have specific guidelines in place when you suspect or have been told an employee is stealing from your organization. This is a very serious allegation and, unless you have definitive proof, it requires a very thorough process before dismissing or reprimanding said employee.
For example, earlier this year, an ambulance company employee was charged with taking three water bottles and a container of germicidal wipes out of the ambulance and placing them into his personal vehicle. The value of the items was under $50, yet this is still considered workplace theft.
Below are the dos and don’ts of preventing and/or dealing with theft at your place of business.
Follow These Dos and Don’ts
DO establish workplace theft policies and procedures. Make sure you review them when your employees are hired and at least once a year with every employee. Have each employee sign a document stating they have reviewed and understand the document.
DON’T have a lot of petty cash, excessive office or kitchen supplies available to employees. Having this out in the open is a temptation for theft.
DO decide ahead of time whether your organization is equipped to handle the investigation internally or needs to hire an outside firm. Whether you handle it internally or with an investigative services organization, you need a thorough and complete investigation of the charge.
DO investigate ALL allegations.
DON’T discuss this matter with anyone else. It is important to keep this confidential – don’t discuss it with other employees, family members or friends.
DO follow through with the discipline outline in the policy. If immediate termination is required for any violation, including even a pen or pencil, you must follow through, even if a valued employee took 5 pencils to give to their grandchild.
DON’T terminate an employee alone. If you are concerned with your own safety, or the safety of others in the company, hire an outside firm to escort the person off the premises.
DO notify the police. This will do three things: 1) It will let all employees know you take theft seriously 2) You will have a record on file and 3) Allow you to file an insurance claim as police reports are required.
DON’T deduct anything from the employee’s final paycheck. Many state regulations will restrict you from doing this, so as tempting as it is, give the employee the salary they are due.
In conclusion, effective policies, procedures and follow-through will remind employees that you are serious about dealing with workplace theft and we all know every dollar you can keep in your pocket, allows for a more productive and profitable company!
Need Help Addressing Workplace Theft?
The Tim’s Talk What you Can do to Stop Workplace Theft can help your organization be prepared to handle workplace theft and avoid profit loss. Feel free to Contact Tim at 330-730-3524 to schedule this talk about workplace theft today!