Workplace Theft: Dos and Don’ts to Prevent and Deal with It

data theft, workplace theft, sensitive information protection

Believe it or not, even a tiny workplace theft can negatively impact your business. Unfortunately, small companies usually have far fewer anti-theft measurements and are more susceptible to theft than large organizations. Here are three statistics to consider:

  • Shockingly, 75% of employees admit to stealing at least once from their employer.
  • It is estimated that 33 percent of corporate bankruptcies in the US are linked to employee theft.
  • In a survey by the National Retail Federation, internal theft cost retailers an average of $1,551.66 per case in 2020.

As a business owner, it is essential to have specific guidelines when you suspect or have been told an employee is stealing from your organization. This is a severe allegation, and unless you have definitive proof, it requires an extensive process before dismissing or reprimanding an employee.

Below are the dos and don’ts of preventing and dealing with theft at your place of business.

Follow These Dos and Don’ts to Stop Workplace Theft

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 this policy stating they have reviewed and understand it.

DON’T have a lot of petty cash or excessive supplies available to employees. Why tempt them? Keep things under lock and key.

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 breakdown of the charge.

DO investigate ALL allegations.

DON’T discuss this matter with anyone else. It is essential 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. For example, suppose immediate termination is required for any violation. In that case, you must follow through, even if a valued employee took five pencils to give to their grandchild.

DON’T terminate an employee alone. If you are concerned with your safety or the safety of others, 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.

DO install security cameras. You should be the one to set the camera angles so employees aren’t aware of the cameras. However, avoid placing cameras in areas where privacy is expected, such as bathrooms and break rooms.

In conclusion, effective policies, procedures, and follow-through will remind employees that you are serious about dealing with workplace theft. Every dollar you can keep in your pocket allows for a more productive and profitable company!

Need Help Addressing Workplace Theft?

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!

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