When your business reaches a certain size, your employees become one of the key cornerstones. You rely on them to keep your business afloat, to assist and help with the everyday running and the long-term planning. If you’re particularly hands-on, they may even become friends or more like members of the family.
Unfortunately, this relationship can be abused – by both parties. If you hold up your end with good benefits and a functional relationship, you’re not wrong to expect loyalty in return. It’s not a happy fact, but sometimes, this just isn’t the case.
The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75% employees will, at some point, steal from their employer. Of course, you’re not completely helpless in the face of it. Security and inventory tracking software can help you keep track of things, but inevitably some things are going to fall through the net. There are many different schemes and tactics; here are a few, so you can be more prepared.
Businesses Vulnerable To It: Retail
A “customer” comes to the register with a cart full of goods. They are then scanned through the till, the customer pays the assistant, and goes on their way. It seems innocent, which is why this is one of the most difficult to catch.
Sweethearting requires the employee to have an assistant, whom they then serve. They will only scan around 20% of the items, covering the barcode and only pretending to scan the rest.
What To Do About It: A store policy of not being able to serve friends and family is a start, but it’s not foolproof. The only real trick is to have someone – yourself or a supervisor – monitor transactions for each employee every so often. If you think the goods are not adding up to the right total, it may be time for a more detailed inspection.
Theft: Buddy Punching
Businesses Vulnerable To It: All with punch-in systems.
Employees being friendly is good, but if they’re too close, buddy punching becomes a risk. It’s pretty simple: an employee starts a shift, and punches the time card for their friend at the same time – but their friend isn’t working. You can be sure the favour will be returned.
What To Do About It: Install a system where people only have access to their time card. Use a security camera to film people punching in, so if anyone tries to do more than one, it becomes obvious.
Theft: Just Stealing
Businesses Vulnerable To It: Retail primarily, but others can be too.
There’s no trick or knack here, it’s a simple case of an employee taking something off the shelves and not paying for it. Items can be stashed away in the store to be collected at a later date, or squirreled into their lockers.
What To Do About It: Emphasize how great the security system you have is during training. Put up fake stats about the amount of people caught. You can’t track everyone all the time, so try and get the deterrent of great security in their minds. Only you have to know if your high-tech and expensive system actually exists!