Employee theft costs U.S. businesses $40 billion every year, according to estimates by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A Small Business Administration report says 30% of employees admit to stealing from their employers.
Employee theft varies in magnitude, ranging from the relatively minor act of taking pens and legal pads from the supply closet to insider trading or embezzlement.
Employers must have clearly defined anti-theft policies to combat the problem. The following guidelines can help you implement an anti-theft policy at your organization:
- Make a list of all items with a potential risk of being stolen or manipulated, including accounts payable and receivable, inventory, confidential information, intellectual property, cash, tools, office equipment and supplies.
- Keep a list of individuals with access to any items likely to be taken, such as office supplies and computers.
- Identify the process by which the “items at-risk” are controlled. If you do not have a set procedure for tasks such as ordering and receiving office supplies, it will be difficult to determine whether missing supplies were stolen or if they were simply never shipped.
- Establish a security system (including guards, cameras, remote-control surveillance and magnetic entrance cards) in proportion to the value of the items being protected.