If you work in the HR Department, you know how tough it could be to catch a suspected thieve at the workplace. Since this is a matter of employee relations, it can be extremely difficult to confront the employee. Theft at the workplace can run from stealing office supplies, pocketing money, stealing from co-workers, falsely clock in their time, customer identity theft and theft of company’s intellectual property.
Since workplace theft can consist of many facets, it’s hard to come up with one-stop solution for all workplace theft related issues. However, the following set of principles can help companies prevent or dramatically reduce workplace theft.
Gather all evidences:
When the time comes to fire the offending employee, you’ll need to make sure you have all the evidence to prove your case. This includes physical proof, witness testimonies, CCTV footage, digital traces of the fraud such as wire transfers etc and the time and date of the crime committed.
Asses the crime carefully:
Evaluate the crime, is it considered an international crime? Does the company have outlined policy on such offenses? Does the perpetrator have a history of similar offenses? Will the employee steal again if simply let off with a warning? Once you have critically evaluated these questions, it will become easier for you as a manager to take appropriate action.
Should the police be informed?
Is the crime committed by the employee serious enough to warrant an arrest? Nonetheless, it always a good idea to file a police report as it can come in handy, if things become further complicated later on. However, if you put the police in charge of the case, it can put-off some employees, as this is a matter of internal company policies.
Monitor the suspect employee:
Before an employee can steal company property, the best plan of action is prevention. Single out employees who have a history of workplace theft. Keep a close eye on them, If the employee is caught multiple times stealing, its best to discharge the employee and terminate its employment. However, before terminating employment, the employee’s keys to the office, company ID and other company benefits should be taken back. If you company uses a key pad to access to doors, disable the codes immediately or have them changed.
Prevent theft of company’s intellectual property:
All companies have data which is considered sensitive. Information such as customer credit card numbers, data on company employees such as social security numbers, health related information, company’s marketing secrets, product pricing strategies etc. Therefore, organizations cannot risk losing such information under any circumstances; they simply have to become proactive in terms of keeping their company data secure. Likewise, many companies have spent thousands of dollars in developing data leak prevention software, only to realize that their custom made software can’t perform against sophisticated hacking techniques. According to information technology specialists, the solution is far cheaper and much more reliable. Companies can simply purchase folder encryption software and prevent data leaks.
Preventing employee workplace theft is a matter of being proactive. In addition, employees should clearly understand the consequences of being caught. A clear set of company policy and set examples of its implementation acts as a great deterrent.