Employee theft includes stealing money but also stealing items/goods or misusing an employer’s assets without their permission. Employee theft is a bigger problem than most employers realize. The costs of theft, like shoplifting, are passed along to the customers in the form of higher prices. There are things employers can do to reduce employee theft by increasing supervision and decreasing opportunities for the theft to occur.
- Run background checks and drug screening on all viable applicants before making a hiring decision. Any suspicious financial activity or “breach of trust” items in their background check are red flags.
- Install and regularly monitor a video surveillance system. Make sure to include surveillance of not just registers but also stock rooms and back entrances, where merchandise is most likely to disappear.
- Always have more than one employee working at a time, particularly at point of sale areas. Also, switch up the schedule to rotate which employees are on shift together at a given time to reduce the risk of employees pairing up to commit theft. Employees who work together often or most days will be more comfortable stealing together.
- Always have a manager ring up employee purchases to avoid the cashier allowing unchecked items through or discounting items or amounts incorrectly to benefit their fellow employee.
- If possible, create a confidential employee tip line or web form that allows employees to anonymously report illegal activities and theft by other employees. Most employees who witness theft want to report it but fear repercussions or harassment from co-workers.
- Watch the trash. One of the more common ways for employees to steal is to conceal items in or with the trash to make it easier to sneak stolen goods out without getting caught. Monitoring the trash is one way to prevent valuable merchandise from being smuggled out of your business.