8 preventative measures to combat employee theft.
April 20, 2017
Whether your business is retail or real estate, no organization is immune to employee theft. Many managers think it’s enough to install security cameras and tough firewalls, but there are some cultural ways you can address the issue, too. And with thousands of dollars or troves of sensitive data on the line, a multi-faceted approach is worth it. Fortunately, there are a few easy and highly cost-effective ways you can drastically reduce the likelihood of your employees stealing.
- Give them a sense of purpose. They say idle hands are the devil’s playthings, which helps explain why delinquent behavior often stems from boredom or disillusionment. Explain to your employees why their work matters. Ask them about their goals, then provide them with the tools they need to succeed. If an employee seems to be struggling or disengaged, help them get back on their feet. This accountability to the organization and to fellow colleagues can cultivate pride and goodwill, which in turn can make your staff less likely to steal.
- Demonstrate your appreciation. Your employees may grow disenchanted, frustrated, or even angry if they feel they’re being taken for granted. Don’t miss an opportunity to acknowledge their worth. A sincere thank you, acknowledging them as people and not just employees , or surprising them with donuts are all simple gestures that will go a long way towards building trust and positivity among your staff.
- Provide fair and adequate compensation. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Paying your staff low wages or skimping on benefits is a quick way to fuel apathy. Just think of salaries and benefits as another form of thanking them for their hard work. Not only will it further demonstrate your appreciation, but they’ll be less prone to stealing if they know you’ve gone out of your way to pay them well.
- Be an example of integrity. This is one of the tenets of leadership. Regardless of age or background, your employees look to you as an example of how they should behave while on the job. They’re watching your every move, taking cues on how to talk, dress, and treat each other. If you display virtues like kindness, honesty, and empathy, they’ll be inclined to do the same.
- Encourage them to develop strong values. It’s not enough to be a pillar of goodness in your organization; you should actively encourage others to do the same. For example, you can give your employees opportunities to help each other out and speak on the importance of cooperation. You don’t have to do anything too formal, but these small lessons will improve how your employees feel about each other and the organization.
- Prove that you trust them. If you watch your staff like a hawk or intensely monitor their hours and communications, they might start to feel belittled or resentful. Back off. Your employees will be far more productive and focused if they feel free to make certain decisions on their own because they understand you believe in them. And again, this will contribute to a sense of accountability for their actions and for the organization’s well-being.
- Show them how to earn promotions. Nobody likes to feel stuck, especially employees in entry- or mid-level positions. Right from the start, you should explain to all your staff how and when they can expect to be promoted. Working with them to achieve their desired career growth is an awesome way of building a strong team while preventing employees from slipping through the cracks.
- Invite them to speak up if something’s wrong. Despite your best efforts, there may still come a time when an employee feels compelled to be destructive. That’s why it’s crucial you let your staff know it’s safe for them to come to you or speak to HR if anything is troubling them, or if they notice anything amiss. Keep an open-door policy and be ready to refer employees to the resources they need.
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