6 Tips to Prevent Employee Theft

October 26th, 2023

Did you know that an Employee is 15 times more likely to steal from you than a non-employee? According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce theft by employees cost American companies $20 billion to $40 billion a year, that's right, in just a single year! Unbelievable isn't it? To think that someone you hire and trust will steal from you.

There are certain steps an employer can take to make it harder for an employee to steal from the company and we'll go over these steps in this article. First and foremost, make it perfectly clear when hiring employees that stealing company property will not be tolerated and that all violators will be reported to the law and shall be fired. Even the small business administration recommends that all violators be disciplined, regardless of how important the person or how small the infraction.

Always do a complete background check before an employee is hired. It's perfectly legal and can save both time and money.  A person may look trustworthy however that doesn't necessarily mean a thing. Thieves come in all shapes and sizes and shouldn't be judged as honest based on their appearances. Even an honest person, that has never stolen will be tempted to do so when given the opportunity. It has been reported that 1 in 3 employees will or have stolen from their company.

The surest way to prevent employee theft is to have surveillance equipment installed in every possible area of the store or restaurant, excluding the restrooms and other areas of personal privacy. Check the surveillance equipment results often to notice any suspicious behavior.  However, if time is of the essence hire a person to observe the surveillance cameras for you, of course, this is only after a complete background check has been done.

Employers can also hire Mystery Shoppers to come and observe the behavior of employees. These shoppers usually charge anywhere from $20 to $40 an hour but that could very well be worth the price if an employee is stealing. Mystery Shoppers will come to a place of business and evaluate an employee's behavior. Wal- Mart, Papa Johns, Outback Steakhouse, and Home Depot are just a few companies that Mystery Shoppers visit.

Hiring security guards is yet another option to help prevent employee theft and fraud. There are many off-duty cops seeking this kind of work. These people have already been trained, and have had their background checked and cleared of any wrongdoings. They can be hired to sit at a single spot and keep an eye on suspected foul play, or to walk around the store and it's surrounding areas.

Keeping the employee's lockers and lounge areas away from your main place of business will help to cut down on the temptations an employee might have in stealing. Inform all employees that purses, duffel bags, etc. must be always kept in the locker room.
Another great method to use in employee theft prevention is to reward employees that observed a fellow co-worker stealing and reported it. They can be rewarded with cash, paid time off, or even an item of their choice from the business.  Many of times employees won't want to get involved in such an incident however if the employer is willing to make it worth an employee's time, then they probably will get involved, if not for the honesty but for the reward.