Workplace theft! Those two words surely leave a foul taste in your mouth. You know what seven words leave an ever fouler taste in the mouth? Workplace theft committed by your own employees!
If you’re a business owner this thought may have crossed your mind at one point or another whether or not that you can actually trust your own employees.
I’ve dealt with this over the years and having employees take advantage of you is not something you should deal with lightly. In some cases it’s lead to firing employees even though I’m not a big fan of doing that.
In this article I’m going to share three things you can do to deal with this issue when it happens.
Think About Why You’re Concerned
You may have simply stumbled upon this article by chance, coming with no prior fear about workplace theft. But if you actively sort out this kind of information, then you’re already worried about the threat of theft in your office.
In that case, you need to figure out why it is you’re so worried!
Are you worried only because of the effects?
Then you should probably start looking insurance of some kind. But if you have specific suspicions, then that’s another story. You need to start taking preventative measures.
For me the best way to avoid this concern is to get as much information about the person before I hire them. To this I require every person that applies for a job to fill out an employment application. Then based on that information and two to three rounds of interviews I can make a more informed decision.
Dealing with Specific Employees
Why do employees steal from the company they work for?
There are two leading reasons for it, and usually they occur in combination. If they dislike their job, or who they work for, they may feel inclined to do it. Often, though, it will largely be driven by financial difficulties.
One of the best ways to foster trust between you and your employees is to build strong relationships with them. An employee who likes and respects their boss is going to have a harder time stealing from them!
I know this to be true for myself because any employee I’ve had that I had a great relationship with always seem to repay me back with the same respect.
However if you’re dealing someone you haven’t built that relationship with yet I like to look for the things they do that prove they are a trustworthy person. To do this I like to use the mom test. This a basic test I use to see how much I can trust someone.
Basically if I can’t trust this person to be around my own mother then they probably wouldn’t be a good fit for my company.
Security Measures You Can Take
The ways in which you can physically secure your office are numerous. One of the most obvious ways is to have a CCTV system. This is often seen as a given in many offices.
I don’t know about you, but the last three offices I worked at didn’t have a CCTV system set up. (All three were also burgled during my time there. Coincidence? Hmmm.)
If you want to look into that option, make sure you’re clued in on the best security camera placement for your office. You should also be looking into other measures.
For example, if you’re worried about the theft of specific devices, you can get locking systems for them. Laptop locks are popular choices in many offices. Whatever you do, please make sure you have a working security alarm system!
Can There Be Too Much Security?
Here’s where many business owners run into a little trouble. When you install a lot of security measures, employees may think they’ve been transported into a George Orwell novel.
If you’ve got cameras pointed at them, ID checks, browser monitoring, etc., they feel that you don’t trust them. It’s a highly unpleasant feeling for an employee!
That’s why it’s best to have strong security measures from the beginning, as opposed to bringing them into a thriving office. That, of course, can change if some kind of catalyzing event occurs – a burglary, for example.
Workers will be pretty understanding then! If you want to beef up security like this, do talk to your employees and let them know you don’t suspect them of being future criminals.
They’ll understand your desire to protect property, as long as it doesn’t interfere too much with what they do!
So what are you doing to curb workplace theft? In the end I feel the best place to start is to review new potential employees closely and get as much information before you hire them. I’ve found this to be the easiest way to avoid this issue.
So what are your thoughts? Leave your comment below.