What is the greatest source of financial loss for your business? Although many managers are tempted to zero in on things like shrink and returned products, employee theft costs US businesses about $50 billion dollars every year. Fortunately, you might be able to ward off problems by making a few changes now. Here are three easy ways to reduce employee theft.
Keep Great Records
From cashiers who decide to steal from the till to employees who are casual about time theft, great records can help to squash any thoughts of criminal activity. If you want to get serious about mitigating employee theft in the workplace, carefully evaluate your record keeping and make changes to improve your procedures.
For instance, cash drawers should always be counted in and out at the end of shifts to spot shortages, and inventory should be carefully tallied and audited at the end of every quarter to look for missing merchandise and inflated numbers. Managers should also compare time sheets to actual shifts worked and job tasks to assigned activities.
Although it might seem hard to keep track of all of these different aspects of business record keeping, many modern technologies have made things a lot easier for workplace managers. Inventory systems can tally sold items compared to ordered quantities, and time clocks make screening for time theft a breeze.
Some systems can even be programmed to safeguard against losses. For example, some time clocks are designed to only let people check in and out during their assigned shifts, and some time clocks send automated messages to managers when employees are late or breaks run long. Furthermore, some systems have built-in reporting tools, making it easy to track your employees’ progress.
When employees have free reign of your building and all of its assets, you never know who will decide to get creative with their own pay. Sometimes, employees with access to things like petty cash drawers or business credit cards decide to treat themselves, completely ignoring the restraints of the company bottom line.
This problem also extends to online merchant accounts, such as ordering platforms and discounted rates with vendors. If workers are allowed to order things at a discount and pocket them for a better price, you never know when they will also tack on that coupon or consider a gift to themselves as a deserved bonus.
To prevent this kind of employee theft, always limit access to buildings, petty cash, company credit cards, online accounts, and the use of equipment like workplace vehicles.
Before you grant a person permission to use a certain asset of the business, think carefully about whether or not they have a track record of being trusted and if they have the skills necessary to operate safely and effectively. For example, while giving your purchasing clerk access to vendor ordering platforms might make sense, letting a new clerk handle the job is a recipe for theft.
No matter how polished your workflow is and how many safeguards you put in place, any business owner will tell you some employees are dedicated to breaking the rules and finding loopholes. Fortunately, professional security firms can help by staffing your company with teams trained to manage threats and prevent losses.