If you run a small business, then chances are you are aware that theft is a real threat to your profit margins. In fact, the vast majority of all shrinkage and product loss in retail businesses is due to employee theft, the rest of which is a result of poorly packaged items and shoplifting. This means that the real problem is already hiding within your midst, which can be a pretty scary thought. However, the upside to this problem is that you have the ability to control what happens inside your business and prevent that theft from ever tasking place. Here are some tips for preventing employee theft that will help you keep your profits healthy and your workforce employed.
The easiest way to cut down on the potential of employee theft is to provide a happy and productive workplace environment. Employees are much less likely to steal if they are paid fairly, treated with respect, and have a somewhat reasonable workload. This doesn’t mean you need to give them a free ride, just make the work conditions right and pay them what they deserve.
If you haven’t already, you need to install controls throughout the business. This means only providing access to money and data to people who need it, as well as installing a camera system throughout your location. This not only prevents employee theft, but also shoplifting and nighttime robberies. You should also have each shift file a sales report so there is accountability for every penny that goes through the business.
Surprise audits on a regular basis keep you employees honest because they’re never sure when you’ll check on their work. In a retail environment, this can mean pulling the cash drawer in the middle of a shift to count the contents. At a bar or restaurant, this can mean counting the inventory of bottle sparklers and liquor bottles at night without the knowledge of the bartender. However you want to do your audits, doing them regularly, without warning, and reviewing the results with your employees is a great theft deterrent.
One of the most effective ways to eliminate employee theft before it starts is to offer profit sharing. This gives the employees and incentive for the business to be profitable, so there is no reason to try to steal. Though this won’t stop everyone from trying to steal from you, it eliminates the vast majority and will drive the sales team to move more products and earn more revenues.
Lastly, many times another employee either sees or suspects an employee of theft but has no way to report it while staying anonymous. Anonymity is important because it makes the reporter feel safer than announcing it to the entire staff. By implementing an anonymous reporting system, you can get the tip-offs you need to thwart employee theft as soon as it starts by having a self-regulating team in place.
Though there’s no way to completely eliminate employee theft, taking the steps noted above will greatly reduce your exposure. The best tool you have is to keep an open channel of communication with your employees and make sure you treat them well so you can create a workplace that is resistance to theft.