How to Catch Employees Stealing
Simply put, preventing and learning how to catch employees stealing requires a three-part plan:
- identify how your business is vulnerable to employee theft
- develop clear policies, and
- use resources to help implement and enforce those policies
Identifying Vulnerabilities: How to catch employees stealing
If you think of employee theft only in terms of taking cash or products, you may be missing out on other costly losses, including:
- Giving items away to friends
- Offering discounts that haven’t been earned
- Consuming or using products from inventory
- Stealing office supplies or tools for home use
Those examples may not seem significant, but they can add up to surprisingly large amounts.
The surprising reason employees steal
Some employees are prone to dishonesty, while others may be in difficult financial straits.
A business report about employee theft claimed as many as two-thirds of employees will steal from their employers if they see other employees stealing and getting away with it.
Create clear policies
It’s important for employers to establish clear policies on employee theft including:
- An unequivocal statement reminding employees all types of theft will not be tolerated
- Examples of the types of theft common in your industry so there’s no doubt
- Description of what you’ll do when you catch employees stealing in any way, including termination, retribution, and prosecution
- Instructions for how employees can safely report theft to management
If you fail to live up to any of those clear policies — particularly enforcement — employees may be more likely to steal from you. Each enforcement action makes it obvious your business takes employee theft seriously.
Paying attention to theft
Once you identify the ways employees steal, you need to pay attention to suspicious activities. Make sure supervisors are familiar with typical types of theft so they can help you monitor employee behavior.
You can provide a system where employees can report on dishonest behavior by others without fear of retribution.
By keeping an ear to the ground and listening to what goes on around you, you may be able to spot suspicious activity and take steps to verify what’s happening.
Regularly analyzing point-of-sale (POS) data can call attention to questionable exceptions or patterns, as can using security cameras.
When you catch employees stealing, you need to gather evidence and document the theft before confronting the employee.
Instead of directly and publicly accusing an employee of theft, ask them to review the evidence with you so they can explain their behavior. Don’t terminate the employee immediately. Ask them to leave so you can investigate the possible violation. Then follow the policy you’ve developed, including filing a police report if necessary.
POS technology provides insight into how to catch employees stealing
If you’re using a POS system, you’re collecting data which can help you catch employees stealing. For example, DIGIOP CARBON pairs associated video to POS data on a single screen.
By reviewing crucial exceptions, such as returns, voided sales, and discounts, you can identify theft at and around the register with increased confidence. DIGIOP CARBON even has a case management system which allows your loss prevention team to gather evidence, save video clips, and assemble a full case for law enforcement.