Workplace theft is on the rise and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. It’s quite unfortunate that we live in a world where we tell people not to steal from another, let alone their own employer. In many ways, we have all participated in workplace theft without even realizing it. Taking any sort of office supply is considered workplace theft. That is not something to take with us to expand our collection at home. We are not entitled to remove anything from the office and migrate it to our personal space. But for many, that is how it begins. First, it starts with something as small as a pen and, before you know it, can progress all the way to stealing money from the company.
There are many “reasons” or “excuses” as to how an individual justifies this act of fraud. Among those are “it’s only an office supply”, “no one will get hurt”, “they owe me”. Any individual who maintains this mindset is dangerous to their employer. Other contributing factors include a demotion, receiving a poor evaluation, and fear of job loss.
What can be done to help prevent this?
- Well for starters, it’s important to know your employees. Pay attention to possible changes in lifestyles. Are they living above their means? Drugs or alcohol abuse? Evidence of constant borrowing?
- While you don’t want to babysit your employees, it would be helpful to supervise them closely and check what they are doing.
- Utilizing security cameras to monitor any merchandise being removed.
- Inform your employees to report theft or fraud by co-workers. Provide them a way to feel comfortable to come forward with their suspicions.
We understand how uncomfortable it is to accuse another of workplace theft. It’s imperative to verify any suspicions by investigation to determine what and who the culprit is. No one wants to falsely accuse someone and that possibly resulting in a lawsuit. In order to protect yourself and your business, certain steps need to be taken into consideration to help prevent or at least reduce workplace theft. Be
conscious and aware of your employees and their changes in behavior. In doing so, you are helping yourself and the company long term.