Employee Theft —Three Things to Consider

A while back, a manager wrote and asked me to name three things that I consider the most important steps that any company could take to minimize employee theft. Below is my response:

1) New-Hire Process: The most important step in controlling employee theft begins at the point of hire. When it comes to curtailing employee theft, a thoroughly completed application, detailed interview, and a comprehensive background check are the three most effective first-step components to preventing employee theft.

2) Climate of Honesty: Without question, the most important variable in creating a climate of honesty starts at the top. Show by your leadership that you are highly ethical and will not condone dishonesty, lying, or employee theft on any level. Our studies show that employees’ perceptions of their work environment tend to be highly similar and those perceptions can have a major influence on whether or not a coworker will commit an act of employee theft.

3) Multiple Tasking: It absolutely amazes me at the number of easily preventable employee theft acts that take place in all sorts of businesses as result of an employee having the ability to affect every stage of a critical work process. While the type of business may differ, the method of these employee theft acts are generally the same—a trusted employee is allowed to perform a series of critical tasks without adequate internal controls and oversight, and that individual, if dishonest, can easily manipulate procedures and conceal acts of employee theft.

Well, those are my “three things” that will go a long way in deterring employee theft. If you are looking to increase your knowledge in ways to prevent employee theft—this eye-opening book, Business Fraud: From Trust to Betrayal is loaded with actual employee theft case histories combined with the extensive experiences learned first-hand by the author.