Bad habits sometimes follow a troubled economy. According to The Marquet Report, rates of employee theft have been trending upwards for years now. Pinkerton, the storied detective agency that once chased bandits and bank robbers, has identified several elements that are important to understand when planning how to engage potential thieves within your organization. As well as exploring why employees steal, the agency also delves into the size of the problem, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation calls the “fastest growing crime in America.”
Pinker also recommends using physical space to contain risk. But how do you keep an eye on it all? Finding a way to capture data that shows employee theft or fraud is happening can largely be solved by implementing an advanced video capture system that not only allows you to monitor your operations in real time from any location but also provides the tools to recognize strange behaviors or unusual transactions.
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers its constituency several tips for preventing employee theft and fraudulent behavior in the first place. Their advice is to invest some time and effort on the front end of hiring to prevent getting one of those bad apples at all. The SBA recommends using pre-employment background checks wisely, checking candidate references, and firmly communicating guidelines for ethical behavior in the workplace. Most importantly, they recommend running an ethical but supportive management style that communicates what’s right and wrong which sets an example for doing the right thing.
Keep an Eye on the Store
Just like cheating in Las Vegas, people are far less likely to steal if they know they are being watched. An advanced video monitoring system combined with tools to analyze patterns, outliers, purposeful errors and repeat offenders can go a long way towards maintaining security at your points-of-sale as well as ensuring the safety of your merchandise protocols. Access to the security system should also be limited to as few people as possible to avoid tampering or revealing blind spots in the surveillance grid.
Consistent Investigation of All Tips, Suspicious Patterns and Outliers
Building a case against an employee for theft or fraud is an extremely complex process that can be time-consuming and emotionally difficult, but is necessary. It’s best practice to look into every incident reported regarding theft or fraud. This includes monitoring your video feeds on a live basis as well as looking for patterns in recorded video, and keeping any high-definition video evidence that could potentially prove that an employee took something that wasn’t their's. If the evidence is there, action should be taken immediately. The faster you resolve the incident, the greater the umbrella of protection you are providing for your company’s reputation for ethical behavior.
Make it Hard to Steal
Employee theft prevention should be part of a comprehensive loss prevention strategy. Putting into place simple protocols can effectively mitigate the potentially harmful effects of employee theft. In addition to effective monitoring tools, use company procedures to make it difficult for a single employee to be alone for a significant amount of time. Pair employees who aren’t personally close to ensure that no schemes are hatched by a pair of disgruntled employees.