Independent business owners are some of the hardest-working folks around. After giving your business all you’ve got, the last thing you want to deal with is employee theft. Here are a few tips to prevent theft from happening, and handling it when it does.
Your risk for employee theft starts with the hiring process. The deeper you dig at the start of the hiring and interviewing process, the better. Do a thorough background check and spend time talking to the potential hire’s references.
Be very observant of employee behavior. Look for any abrupt changes or suspicious behavior. The U.S. Small Business Administration says to keep an eye out for employees who display some of the following behaviors:
- Not taking vacations – many violations are discovered while the perpetrator is on vacation
- Being overly protective or exclusive about their workspace
- Prefers to be unsupervised by working after hours or taking work home
- Disappearing financial records
- Unexplained debt
- Unexpected change in behavior
Be on top of things
Regularly audit your finances and inventory. If you keep a close eye on matters, you have a better chance of catching any thefts or discrepancies before they become a pattern. Employees knowing about your watchful eye could also help deter theft.
Invest in security
Cameras and other programs like fleet trackers help you to keep a close eye on the conduct of employees. It will also help your case when you bring any theft to the attention of the authorities.
According to a survey of small businesses conducted by the University of Cincinnati, small businesses only report employee theft 16% of the time. The main things stopping them are emotional ties and concerns about the criminal justice system. That's startling, considering how 64% of those surveyed had experience employee theft. Reporting employee theft sets the tone for the employees who remain. Protect your assets first and foremost.