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Tips for Avoiding Employee Theft

It can be hard to accept that your trusted team members might actually steal from your company, but many reports suggest that this is the case. A recent Chamber of Commerce survey projected that approximately 75% of all employees commit company theft at least one time in their careers. Nearly half of these employees commit theft on multiple occasions.

In a slow economy, no business can afford to lose any amount of profits or intellectual property, and no business owner wants dishonest or malicious employees. The problem is, how do you detect and prevent employee theft from happening within your company?  Here are a few tips:

Watching for Signs of Employee Theft

As much as you do not want to suspect your employees of committing fraudulent activity, it is essential to recognize potential signs of theft before the problems begin to escalate. There are many different warning signs to keep an eye out for. For example, if you know that your employee is going through major lifestyle changes, such as a divorce, there is a higher chance that they may resort to theft. The employee may also begin to make other mistakes that he or she did not make before, such as small accounting errors or misreporting information.

Another way to detect theft is to carefully monitor your bottom line. By consistently monitoring the company’s profit margins, you will begin to know what to expect and how to identify unusual trends. If the profit margins begin to shrink unexpectedly, it may be time to consider employee theft as a possible cause.

Conduct Regular Employee Assessments and Background Checks

Background checks are a very cost effective way to protect your business from fraud and theft before these actions occur. During the background check process, you can eliminate new hires that have a history of charges that might lead to company theft. Routine employee assessments after the employees have begun work can also remind your team that their performance is being monitored and that the company takes a hard line stance when it comes to accountability.

Hire an Independent Private Investigation Team

There are many advantages to hiring professional third-party help for help with reducing company theft, including:

  • Consultation – The security professionals can examine and assess the current systems that are in place for dealing with employee theft. Any weak areas can be identified and recommendations for improvements can be made. The goal of the recommendations will be to implement strategies that will make it harder to commit theft, and easier for employees to report possible problems.
  • Objectiveness – Investigating company theft is a very sensitive issue because the suspicion and punishment processes can cause a rift between employees and management. Company morale will often be much higher if the investigations are being conducted by an independent third-party organization that is clearly not working to exclusively protect either the company or the employees.
  • Long-term Solutions – While a company may be able to identify and terminate a specific employee that is guilty of theft, this will not necessarily reduce the risk that future employees will not commit the same offenses. An investigation firm can help the company create and implement solutions that will result in a long-term decrease in theft.

If you are a business manager concerned about the potential of employee theft in the Maryland, Virginia or Washington DC area, contact Prudential Associates today for a consultation to discuss your situation and how we might help you get a handle on the issue before it is too late.