Many businesses who have the means are now moving to a remote work setup for their employees as a precaution for today’s climate. For businesses deemed “essential” like grocery stores and other retailers, employees are working with elevated risks and stress throughout the day. The increased pressure on employees both working both in-person and remotely opens up an additional security risk for companies: employee theft.
Employee theft can range from workers physically taking products from the shelves to remote employees falsely logging work time. In this trying time, it’s important to approach issues regarding employee theft with both compassion and fairness. However, employee theft should not be ignored or allowed to continue once discovered.
This type of dishonesty can cost your business precious time and money needed for your business to stay afloat. In fact, employee theft costs businesses $50 billion annually. The financial impact of employee theft can vary depending on the size of your company, the frequency of theft, the amount stolen and number of employees participating.
Employee theft can also occur with anyone and are sometimes the people you’d least expect. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, only four percent of perpetrators had a prior fraud conviction. They also found that employees who had been at their company for more than five years stole twice as much (a $200,000 median loss) compared to employees who were only at their company for five years.
This is why it’s crucial to have a plan in place before this occurs and protocols enacted to minimize the risk of employee theft. Departing employees are another demographic to keep your eye on. If an employee is let go on unfavorable terms, they may have motives to steal data, products and more.
JW Surety Bonds compiled a list of employee theft statistics to educate business owners on the possibility and impact of this crime. Their list includes stats relating to cost, industries, demographics and the overall impact of employee theft. They also include a list of tips on preventing employee theft.
Here are just a few of their tips for preventing employee theft:
- Communicate direct regulations upfront: Informing employees of what is defined as employee theft and the accompanying consequences is an important step to take. If the policies are clear and relayed to every employee, then it’s easier to hold them accountable.
- Get a fidelity bond: When an employee steals from you or commits other acts of dishonesty like forgery or embezzlement, a fidelity bond can protect both you and your customers.
- Implement a system of checks and balances: This is crucial for industries that handle financial accounts and other sensitive information. Ensure that more than one person is handling sensitive accounts or information.
- Do impromptu audits: In addition to regular checks, you should also do additional audits at random for things like bank statements and ledgers. It’s a good idea to consider using an outside company to carry out these audits so they can report back suspicious activity without bias.