7 Ways to Handle Employee Theft
Most companies will perform a full background check on their employees before they hire them. Especially if they will be handling sensitive assets such as money or gold/silver. However, sometimes, bad apples slip through the cracks and you could find yourself suspecting one of your best workers of the worst betrayal of them all- employee theft.
Examples include cashiers stealing money from the registers after closing time, or office workers casually taking office supplies from the storage room. As these crimes vary in where they happen and who is involved, there is never a universal way of handling the situation. Therefore, you’ll want to take a look at the following suggestions if you suspect someone of employee theft.
Here’s what you can do:
Evaluate the situation
- You will want to ask yourself questions as to why the employee is doing this. Was the theft intentional? Does the person have a background of engaging in this kind of behavior? Is the employee likely to do this again? It is questions like these that will help you decide whether the employee deserves a stern warning or immediate termination.
- Keep a clear head and don’t jump to conclusions right away. Wait a while and look for evidence that the employee is indeed stealing from the company. You could ask a bookkeeper to log the incident for you or even run an audit to check inventory records.
Don’t discuss the situation with other employees
- Talking about the situation with fellow employees could reveal confidential information and ruin the authenticity of the investigation.
Supervise the employee closely
- It is common for employees who regularly steal from the office to stop their activities for several weeks or months while their employer is watching them closely. Therefore, be vigilant because it might happen again if you’ve decided to terminate the employee.
Fire the employee
- If you find out that the employee has actually been stealing from the company, the time has come to fire this individual. Make sure to watch the employee as he or she is leaving as employees have been known to take important documents with them upon exiting the premises.
Notify the police
- You will usually need a police report for insurance purposes if your insurance covers employee theft for example. However, we advise this option lightly as it may make you lose trust with your employees and sabotage the investigation.
Prevent another occurrence
- Employee theft is a big deal for any business, big or small. In order to prevent it from happening again, you will most likely want to establish some ground rules. If theft is common at your business, consider establishing a zero-tolerance policy that addresses employee theft in detail. Make it clear what you consider to be theft, and restrict areas that should be off limits for employees. Installing storage lockers for employees could also reduce employee theft.
Employee theft is a problem almost every way you look at it. If you suspect it is happening, it will only get worse if you try to sweep it under the rug. Remember to stick to the evidence and follow company policy in the event of a real employee theft.
And if you’re not entirely sure how secure your establishment is, you may want to consider hiring a commercial locksmith to inspect the locks you have on your filing cabinets, lockers and storage rooms. Or your safes if you are a bank or a business that uses a safe.