How to Cut Down on Employee Theft
A lot of our efforts in the security world are focused on preventing outsiders from committing crimes. Unfortunately, some of the costliest crimes a business can face are carried out by those who already have keys to the building.
Examining Employee Theft Numbers
Employee theft is an increasing problem throughout Canada. According to the Retail Council of Canada’s recent study, employees who engage in theft steal an average of $2,500 in cash or goods from their employer before they’re caught. To put this number in context, the average customer engaging in theft will steal approximately $175 worth of goods. Each year, this employee theft costs Canadian businesses approximately $1.4 billion dollars. A final stat worth sharing is the Retail Council of Canada’s estimate there are 566,000 employee thefts that go undetected each year.
With these startling numbers, why aren’t more Canadian businesses taking steps to mitigate the impact? It’s possible to minimize the chances of this happening in a business by taking several pro-active steps. Here are some of the ways a business owner can help minimize the potential for employee theft.
Know Your Employees
Employees are hired because they’re the best fit for a role, both in personality and skillset. Over time, an employee’s personal circumstances can change, leading to a higher risk of potential theft or security issues. Depending on the role it may be appropriate to conduct a background check before proceeding with a hire. Once the person is a member of staff, watch out for any changes in the following behaviors:
- Staying late without any obvious need
- Leading a lifestyle that appears well above their means
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Evidence of compulsive gambling
- Resistance to extra oversight or procedural changes that draw more scrutiny on them
Theft can proliferate in an environment that allows it to. Conducting random audits, even when things are going well within the business, prevents anyone from exploiting gaps in internal security. It raises the potential of being caught and discourages any crimes of opportunity.
Review Security Measures
Guard logins to vulnerable systems by limiting their availability to key staff members who need them. It’s all too easy to lapse into lax behavior within an internal team where trust is high. Unfortunately, this is the precise environment in which crime can take place, often right under people’s noses. Periodically change access codes to help prevent these codes from leaking out to staff who don’t need them.
Provide a Way for Concerns to Be Shared
With how busy most businesses are, it can be tough to remain vigilant at all times. Ensure, in as quiet a manner as possible, staff members know they can report any suspicious behavior in a discreet manner with no repercussions. Empower trusted staff members with extra responsibility in this sphere, knowing they can bring any concerns up the chain to be quietly dealt with.
Hire the Experts
Whether you’re looking to conduct a security audit, or need help with increasing your business security, Blackbird Security are Western Canada’s fastest growing security experts. Contact us and we will be happy to help!
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