SMB Profit Watch: Why do Employees Steal?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Posted by Brawlin Melgar

Employees steal because the opportunity to steal presented itself through poor communication with employees, lacking policies, little or no inventory controls and poor employee supervision.

Employees see opportunities to steal from employers because it's easy to steal. If you leave inventory by the back door, and have little or no video security, then you are tempting the employees to steal. In effect, you may be responsible by providing temptation for theft. 

Here are the top reasons for stealing given by employees:

1. I am way underpaid.  I'm taking what I deserve.
2. Everybody does it, even my supervisor.
3. The company makes a large profit and I deserve more of it.
4. My boss made me angry and I this is how I get revenge.

Protect you Company after a Theft too
There are serious legal and employee relation problems that can arise from not handling a theft in an appropriate manner. Here are some tips to evaluate employee theft, after the fact.

1. Evaluate the source and validity of any information that alerts management to a potential theft problem.
2. Collect information or evidence regarding the alleged theft as possible prior to taking any action.
3. Review the facts and findings with an management team, attorney, and or auditor in areas of legal and accounting concerns.
4. Deal with employees suspected of theft carefully. Employee interviews about a theft tests the emotions, restraint, legal knowledge and objectivity of every manger and supervisor.

Since the consequences of mishandling the investigation of employee theft is so great, top management should be involved with every 'inside job' theft issue.