Employee theft costs U.S. businesses $50 billion annually, which begs the question: What’s the reasoning behind employee theft? The study by business insurance company Hiscox, which uncovered the staggering figure above, also found that small and midsize businesses accounted for 68 percent of all U.S. employee theft cases, and the median loss for these companies in 2016 was $289,864. Across the board, the average U.S. business lost more than $1 million in 2016 due to employee theft. Hiscox studied data available from almost 400 U.S. federal court cases in 2016 involving alleged employee theft.
By “theft,” we’re referring to everything from slipping a few office supplies into a briefcase to all-out funds theft and check fraud. Those cases are often several years in the making, as an employee diverts small amounts of money over time. The reasoning behind employee theft varies and includes such motives as revenge against one’s employer; low morale; personal financial mismanagement and perceived (or actual) need; two very basic (yet no less compelling) reasons: because everyone else is doing it and because the opportunity is there; and perhaps most significant, lack of preventive measures to control theft. Many organizations have never done the math to determine just how much they’re losing each year to employee theft, and often, that’s because they think their employees couldn’t possibly steal from them. Unfortunately, no organization is exempt from the risk of theft. And once company leaders view the sobering reality of losses to their bottom line, they’re likely to be inspired to take corrective action.
The International Foundation for Protection Officers recommends that organizations take the following measures to curb employee theft:
- Select employees carefully. This may seem obvious, but background checks are essential.
- Supervise employees on a regular basis.
- Improve your accounting system. Separate accounting tasks so that the same employee doesn’t have the keys to the entire kingdom, so to speak.
- Establish specific guidelines for dealing with employee theft.
- Ensure that employees understand your policies and the consequences for theft.
- Conduct surprise audits.
Two additional suggestions: Create a culture of transparency, which can help breed trust; and find yourself a powerful and reliable asset tracking system.
Try as you might to understand it, the reasoning behind employee theft is complex. An employee who looks picture-perfect on paper could steal from your organization if the opportunity presents itself. You don’t want to create an environment in which employees feel they’re being watched at every moment, but you need to protect your best interests, as well. It’s a balance. Asset tracking software can help you better manage your investment and protect your bottom line. The great news is that it’s never been easier to track and manage your assets thanks to advancements in mobile and cloud technology. All you need to monitor the exact location and condition of your vital assets is your mobile phone or tablet. It’s that simple.
Asset Panda’s powerful mobile platform delivers the best of all worlds: complete customization, an intuitive interface, the ability to add unlimited users, and access to 24/7 real-time data, thanks to cloud synchronization. You won’t need additional hardware to use Asset Panda’s free app; it includes a mobile barcode scanner, giving you the ability to track and manage the complete lifecycle of your vital assets from the palm of your hand, curb theft and increase accountability throughout your organization.
To learn more about Asset Panda, or to begin your free 14-day trial, visit assetpanda.com
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