According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 75% of employees steal from their employers, with the majority of those doing so repeatedly A typical business loses as much as 5% of revenues due to employee fraud. This margin could be the difference in keeping your doors open or shutting them!
Employees are 15 times more likely to steal than a non-employee (according to the National Federation of Independent Business).
Staggering figures like these may be hard to accept, but unless set policies to minimize theft are in place in advance,your business could be very negatively effected by employees with sticky fingers.
Why Employee Theft Happens
There are 2 obvious reasons why employee theft is such a prevalent problem.
Opportunity - most businesses are vulnerable to employee theft. Many business owners delegate day to day bookkeeping, banking, and accounts receivable responsibilities to one or more employees, usually those who are most trusted.
As an owner, you may have a ballpark sense of your banking and accounts receivable information, but for the most part, you concentrate on your work and leave the "number-crunching" to others.
Motive - Once an employee is caught stealing, the motive usually becomes clear. The employee may have an unknown addiction - to gambling, drugs or something else. The employee may simply be living beyond his or her means. Some employees justify stealing by feeling the company owes them something 'more'.
Often, an employee rationalizes the theft while continuing to steal larger and larger amounts. The employee may have more sinister and specific motives, such as harboring bitterness at being passed over for promotion or being demoted and intent on proving that he or she is too smart to get caught stealing.
Measures should be put into place to protect your company from employee theft. Here are five tips for preventing or stopping employee theft: