When you own a business, you might be so busy with managing client relationships and securing inventory that you overlook problems like employee theft. Unfortunately, dishonest individuals cost U.S. businesses a staggering $42 billion dollars a year, with employee theft making up as much as 28 percent of the loss.
Fortunately, you can ward off problems by being on the lookout for strange behavior. Here are three signs your employees might be stealing from you.
1. Enthusiasm About Solitary or Night Shifts
While everyone is different, most employees don't like working alone or picking up those boring graveyard shifts, especially if financial incentives aren’t tied to doing so. However, because the solitude of working alone in the middle of the night paves the way for misdeeds, employees who are up to no good might be more than willing to pick up these kinds of shifts.
Pay attention to how your employees react to requests to work alone or in the middle of the night, and notice who volunteers for these kinds of hours. Also, pay attention to whether their attitude about these shifts corresponds with their daily countenance.
While it might make sense for an overly-productive and enthusiastic employee to volunteer to pick up an extra shift, you should worry if a worker who usually has a bad attitude is unnaturally calm and happy about the idea of an unexpected shift in the middle of the night.
If you suspect problems with employee theft, try mixing things up to see if you experience the same kinds of losses when other workers are in your store. Also, observe how the suspected workers act if you give their favorite shifts to someone else. If you notice losses repeatedly during the same employees' shifts or workers seem angry for no reason, consider following their actions more closely.
2. Common Problems With the Till
Even the best cashier can make mistakes once in a while, but sometimes frequent problems can be a sign that someone is stealing out of the till. In addition to pilfering cash and loose change, your employees might also be tempted to fudge the numbers by taking additional manufacturer coupons and offsetting the balance by removing cash.
When you handle your daily bookkeeping, check every aspect of till counting seriously, including tallying up manufacturer coupons, gift cards, and change. Consider having every employee be responsible for a separate till, which will make it easier to narrow down problem employees. Also, keep track of till balances, and consider rewarding employees who don't have problems.
If you notice a worker who has repeated problems with a till that is off, write them up and talk with them about correcting their behavior. While many problems with till counting can come down to not being careful enough during daily transactions, your actions might be enough to dissuade an employee from making a bad choice.
3. Frequent Absences and Large Purchases
Sometimes, dishonest employees are smart enough to cover their tracks during their shifts but make mistakes when they are off the clock. For instance, if workers are making a little extra cash from your business by stealing inventory or cash, they might be more tempted to make large purchases or take a few days off.
Since you know how much your employees make, pay attention to purchases that seem out of their price range. For instance, if you have a worker who makes minimum wage and they are constantly buying fancy electronics or new cars, they could be getting some extra money from another source.
Also, keep in mind that employees are more likely to take time off from work if they suspect they will be fired anyway. Track when your employees take sick time and vacation days, and think about whether their other behavior seems problematic.
If you suspect problems with your employees, let our trained security team help. Here at Security Services, Northwest, Inc., we can help with everything from cameras and alarm systems to private security teams, making it possible for business owners to protect their valuable assets. Give our office a call today to make your business a lot safer.