Businesses can lose money in many ways. One of the causes can be the employees themselves. Employee theft can cost Australian companies as much as $1.5 billion each year. Both present and former employees can defraud the business, according to the Australian Federal Police. They can also do it in various scenarios:
- They can issue refunds on their behalf and then transfer the money to their accounts.
- These employees can access the safe, which can contain valuables such as money.
- They can steal clients and start their own business.
- These workers can cooperate with the other employees or even with the vendors or suppliers.
- Some disgruntled employees can access the database or online information before officially leaving the company and then sell it in the black market. They can also hold the data for ransom.
- The employees can bring home supplies, tools, and equipment that belong to the business. The intention might be less harmless or more deliberate. For example, they can steal parts or tools and sell them in the market.
The Problems with Employee Theft and Fraud
Fraud and theft are serious offenses for any business, but they’re not the only problem. In a lot of cases, they don’t always result in termination or dismissal. This is because it depends on the degree or severity of the offense.
Bringing supplies from the office to the house might only require a verbal warning as compared to siphoning profits to personal accounts, which can result in termination and a lawsuit.
Many businesses these days are using or considering setting up CCTV or surveillance cameras in the warehouse or stores. The Australian laws, however, can defeat their purpose.
According to them, your employees should not only know about these cameras but also they must consent to be recorded by these devices. There are also certain areas where you cannot surveil them. Employee theft and fraud can be significantly damaging to small businesses, especially startups. They are the ones that are bound to lose more.
Practical Solutions to Employee Theft
Some people will steal—there’s no other way around it. What you can do is to minimize the loss and the effect of the crime in your business. Warehouses, for example, can use high-density tool storage cabinets that can streamline the operations. They can free workbenches and the aisles and, most of all, they can have security measures to keep relevant and expensive tools away from the employees.
Create policies that make detection of fraud or theft easier and faster. They can also work as a deterrent. Bartier Perry Lawyers recommend the following:
- A policy that allows tracking and access to company data such as e-mail, internet use, and workstations
- Extension of leaves for employees. They may receive two weeks of leave to allow other workers to do the job. Fresh eyes and those who have no participation or knowledge of the theft are more likely to detect suspicious activities
- Multiple sign-offs for anything that relates to money, including fund transfers and reporting
- Internal and external auditing
Companies should also consider having business insurance, which can provide coverage concerning employee theft or fraud. In reality, you cannot micromanage your employees simply because you fear of these crimes. Instead, let your management policies and efficiency do the job, including reducing the threats.