When you own a company, you have probably invested a great deal in the products or services that you offer. Similarly, hiring, training, and professionally developing a team of employees requires significant investment as well. Across the country and around the world, however, employee theft and fraud present serious problems for small business owners, collectively costing companies billions of dollars. As a business law attorney, I understand the impact the actions of your staff can have on your business and my team can help you develop a strategy for deterring employee theft before it becomes a major issue for you.
A Unique Approach to Employee Theft
According to several sources, the online retail giant Amazon has developed a rather intimidating method to make its warehouse employees think twice about stealing on the job. In company warehouses, employees waiting to punch in are subjected to images on digital bulletin boards regarding previously uncovered cases of theft. The screens show a blank silhouette and contain no names, but includes details about what was stolen and the value of the loss. Finally, the silhouette is marked “terminated,” and, in some cases, “arrested.”
More Conservative Ideas
Understandably, you may be hesitant about shaming your employees into honesty. There are, however, other things you can do to help protect yourself and your business:
- Screen applicants carefully – As a small business, you have only a limited number of positions to fill and it is important to implement an interview and screening process to identify the best possible candidates;
- Maintain a positive environment – Try to keep employee morale high through fair practices, clear expectations, good communication, and employee recognition. Employees are less likely to steal if they feel they are already being treated well;
- Develop security protocols – These may include reasonable electronic surveillance, accountability procedures, and staffing decisions that do not create additional opportunities for employees to steal or defraud the company; and
- Know your team – While becoming close friends with your employees may not be the best idea, getting to know them on a personal level can help create a level of trust that few workers will want to breach. In doing so, you can also identify those who you believe are more likely to steal, allowing you to focus prevention efforts more precisely.
Finally, experts recommend creating an employee reporting system that allows workers to report suspected theft or fraud, anonymously if they wish. You may consider offering some type of reward or incentive to staff members whose actions allow you to prevent losses to your company.
A Hoffman Estates Business Lawyer Can Help
For assistance with developing a plan for preventing, deterring, and dealing with employee theft, contact one ouf our experienced Naperville business attorneys. Our knowledgeable team will work with you to identify potential areas of concern and then help you create policies and procedures that protect both your investments and your employees’ rights. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule your introductory consultation today at The Gierach Law Firm.