Employee theft & Employee Dishonesty is something that every small business should be aware of. Things that your employees do may negatively affect your revenue, or cause losses due to theft of money, securities, or property. This workplace crime also includes burglary and destruction. To summarize how you can protect your business against these risks, we've compiled this list:
1) Surveillance Systems - A surveillance systems offers security for your business & security for your employees. Keep backup copies of your surveillance video footage to ensure that you are covered in case of a theft, whether that is due to an employee or not - Another good idea is to store the footage offsite in case of a fire, flood, theft, or other disaster - How many people have the keys to your office space?
2) Get Employee Dishonesty Insurance - (Also known as a Fidelity Bond) Protect your business from financial loss due to fraud committed by an employee or even group of employees. People often ask what is covered by employee dishonesty insurance, and here are the basics:
- Alteration or Forgery
- Transfer Fraud
- Computer Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- Money Order or Counterfeit Fraud
- Stolen Goods/Property
- Remote Access Fraud
3) Maintain/Increase employee morale - This one is pretty simple: Keep your employees happy. It could be as easy as making them feel more appreciated & encouraging them or praising the good work they are performing. Alternatively, changing the aesthetics of the work space can significantly increase morale. A happy employee is a productive employee.
4) Offer non-cash benefits - Sometimes, a raise isn't an option due to budget constraints. Not a problem, there are many other ways to increase employee productivity, morale, and finally: Protecting your business from employee theft and dishonesty. A few benefits that can be offered without sacrificing productivity:
- Flexible hours
- Working remotely / Working from home
- More vacation options
- Office amenities (water, coffee, juice, soda, snacks, games, etc...)
- Office furniture upgrades
5) Track petty cash & items that are commonly stolen - Keeping track of your assets (big or small) is important, as is knowing where/how your petty cash is being spent. Let's take a look at the top 8 most commonly stolen office items:
- Pens, pencils, and highlighters
According to Boston.com, 82% of employees have admitted to stealing these items
- Paper products
Think of notebooks, sticky-notes, and printing paper. 35% of employees admit these items randomly disappear from the office
- Paper or Binder Clips
Surprising to me, but the survey shows 28% of workers noticed these items getting pinched
Keep and eye on your Swingline. 22% say they couldn't get their hands on their red stapler
At my house, the scissors always go missing. 20% of office workers say they can't find theirs as well
- Tape Dispensers
We all need tape, especially around the holiday season. 14% say they've seen one of these go MIA
- Printer Ink
You think $4-5/gasoline prices are high? Black Printer Ink costs an average of $2,701.52 per gallon. It's only cheaper than Mercury, Insulin, Chanel No.5, Cobra Venom, and Scorpion Venom. No wonder these things seem to walk away
According to the survey, 8% of workers say these items disappear from the office
6) Check The References - This is an easy and obvious solution to understanding your potential employees history & character. Ask specific questions, such as the persons tardiness, social skills, or if there were any issues with the employee. Other questions include: How did the employee handle conflict/stress? Would you rehire the employee? and Were they promoted during his employment?
7) Reward System - Offer rewards for employee's that turn-in other employee's that have stolen goods, cash, or other items. One thing to convey to employees is that stealing a pen, stamp, or a few paperclips shouldn't be an issue (unless done on a large-scale). Things such as giving items/food away for free (such as a family member or friend), stealing key products, or even using company items specifically for personal use fall under this reward system.