How to discourage employee theft

How to discourage employee theft

Employee fraud can be undertaken in many ways. Whether it is large-scale embezzlement, theft of a few items or even inaccurately completing time sheets, all can have an adverse effect on your business.

Managers cannot be around at all times. Nevertheless, there are ways in which petty theft can be discouraged. Alarm systems send a clear message to employees regarding the consequences of theft. With the ability to monitor your office off-site via video security, protecting your business against theft can be easily facilitated. 

The impact of petty theft

Warfield & Associates researched the impact of employee crime on Australian businesses in 2012. The 89 cases included in the study amounted to a total $1 million stolen over the research period (January 1 2001 to July 31 2012). The report concluded that the theft contributed to some of the organisations forcing to close, and had detrimental effects on the company as a whole.

For SMEs, the impact can be even greater and any theft by workers, large or small, can affect your company's ability for growth. 

A University of South Australia study on petty theft within organisations indicated that small burglaries have the potential to culminate into a serious issue. This could be due to the result of several small thefts by the same employee or several minor incidents by various workers. 

The study, Employee petty theft: not so petty for managers and organisations, describes the issue as one of the most expensive employee-caused problems that management has to deal with.

Although the value of items stolen may be minimal, petty theft has the potential to compound into a much more significant issue, either as a result of several thefts from the same person, or many 'once-off' thefts by several individuals.

With the increase of smartphones and other digital devices in the workplace, theft can be a costly issue for employers.

What can be done to prevent employee dishonesty?

Investing in sophisticated security systems can help reduce the occurrence of petty theft. Implementing video alarm systems increase the likelihood that the action will be spotted and appropriately disciplined.

It also sends a clear message of what will and will not be tolerated in the workplace. Employees are less likely to be tempted to steal if they are aware they will probably be caught and potentially lose their job. 

Preventive measures, such as improved video security, allow you to monitor the office without having to physically be present. Careful and regular inventory  management can also contribute to you being more likely to notice any discrepancies. 

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