When you run a business, you have a responsibility to both care for your employees and to manage the business to the best of your ability. That can be difficult when you are worried about employee theft; you have to balance trusting your employees enough to do their jobs and taking precautions to protect your business.
Here are five things you can do to prevent theft in the workplace.
1. Start With Hiring Honest Employees
While you can’t tell just by looking at someone if they have good character, meeting them face-to-face and checking their references could help you weed out any potential employees who seem off or have a concerning history.
2. Create Strong Employee Theft Prevention Policies
Don’t overlook the value of using internal controls to prevent employee theft. Here’s where to start when building theft prevention policies:
- Require multiple signatures for large disbursement checks
- Restrict access to sensitive information to only those employees who need it to perform their jobs
- Rotate tasks when you can so one person isn’t the sole owner of anything
- Institute informal reviews and an annual audit done by an outside party
- Keep duplicate records so you can compare books if needed
- Communicate clear and strict rules and consequences of theft, as well as a reporting system for employees to alert you to thefts they have witnessed
3. Ensure You Have Up-to-Date Equipment
Your equipment systems are an important resource in protecting your business:
- Point-of-sale systems that track each transaction
- Monitoring and surveillance equipment that can deter employee theft and also serve as evidence if the need arises
- Inventory tracking systems to prevent theft of merchandise
- Protection of data stored on devices, such as passwords and restricted areas of the server
4. Secure Your Property
Theft doesn’t always happen during work hours; restricting employee access to the property when they shouldn’t be there can help protect your business. Consider pin or keycard entry systems rather than traditional locks, as these options give you more flexibility and allows you to gather data about who is entering and existing the building at what hours.
If you do have physical keys, limit the number of people who have copies and keep records of who those keys belong to. You should also ensure that all keys are the type that cannot be duplicated with a master key.
5. Connect With Your Employees
Do everything you can to build loyalty and trust amongst your employees. If they feel they are being treated well and compensated fairly, they will be less likely to steal. If you have a relationship with your employees, you can also watch for warning signs that someone may be stealing, such as anger at a work event or emotional reactions caused by issues in their personal life.
Unfortunately, theft is always a concern for business owners. You face risk every day, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you have questions about other ways to protect your business — such as liability insurance or succession planning — contact a Farm Bureau agent or financial advisor.