6 Tips for Protecting Your Company from Employee Theft
You want to run a legitimate business with smooth operations, but perhaps the information you handle has too much value, or your employees haven't gone through the greatest screening process. Even if you've done a great job with security and hiring, you just can't predict the behavior of every person in a group of employees, especially in a large company. So, what do you do? You have to have some way to protect yourself against employee theft, even if it's never happened to you before. Here area few easy tips to help you keep your company protected from employee theft.
1. Don't Be a Friend
This might prove the hardest step of all, but it's important to avoid getting too friendly with your employees. It's human nature to treat those around you well and to be friendly. You want to feel like acquaintances, but not close enough to call each other friends. It sounds cold, but it's distracting to business and can immediately cloud the judgement of both parties. Stay polite, and have a positive nature about you; it goes a long way without taking anything too far.
2. Get Business Insurance
You'll never regret having business insurance. Yes, it costs extra money, but the amount of things that can go wrong in your business might surprise you. The bigger your building, the more employees and even more customers that you have, the more risks you take. You could have items stolen, a building vandalized, flash floods, other freak nature storms, or an injury to an employee or customer. It's not fun at all, but it's a lot easier if you have insurance. Insurance keeps your company from becoming completely destroyed in such an event.
3. Use Cameras
Cameras have never completely prevented theft from happening, but it certainly helps a lot. People feel themselves constantly under watch, so they have motivation to keep their integrity when it comes to taking what doesn't belong to them.
Camera systems cost money, so some people end up installing fake ones (by using real cameras that don't actually record to any station, or record at all). Although, sometimes it's hard to get away with this because if somebody finds out its fake and they start telling other employees, the system's lost its purpose. You really can't tell anybody at all; secrets like that don't stay secret in the workplace.
If you do install a camera system, you have to provide legal notice to everybody getting filmed. You should probably find a way to include it in legal documentation and have signs up around the building so everybody's aware.
4. Make Your Stance Clear
Tell everybody, preferably in person, how little tolerance you have for any kind of theft. Let them know what you do and don't want to see, whether you're trying to prevent physical theft, prevent time theft by employees or any other unauthorized use of company resources.
It's a great idea to create documents outlining everything you won't tolerate in the workplace. It doesn't matter if the employees read it, though they probably should. As long as you have everything outlined, you've completely covered yourself once you match that with business insurance. Let them know what you will do or have done in the past when somebody steals at work.
5. Surprise Employees
Don't tell everybody your schedule all the time. Show up when you feel like it just to make sure everything's running well. If you're leaving for a couple of days, only tell the people who absolutely need to know. You need to keep an eye on your business more than your business needs to keep an eye on you. You're the only liable if anything goes wrong, and the one whose time, energy and money is invested in the business.
6. Remain Hands-On
Run your business hands on. This doesn't mean you should micromanage; that just wastes time and makes employees uncomfortable while making you look like you care more about petty behaviors than important things. Just make sure the company feels your presence, and you have a good eye on what's going on. It also helps to lead by example. If you show up to work every day, on time working your butt off, employees notice and feel encouraged to act like good workers. On the other hand, if you slack off, it makes employees feel like they don't have to worry as much about their behavior.
Follow these tips and you've put yourself in a great situation in case any kind of theft occurs.