Three out of four of your employees will steal from you this year, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. One of those people will steal repeatedly or has already done so. Let this situation continue and your business has a one in three chance of declaring bankruptcy and going under.
Employee theft statistics for 2012 show that companies in the United States will lose between $20 and $40 billion to small-scale pilfering and large-scale embezzlement. If you already have effective controls in place, you may notice the cash, office supplies or inventory items that go missing. If you are like most small business managers, however, you have too many duties on your plate to notice the other thefts happening behind your back. Trade secrets, internal documents and proprietary technology can all slip out of your organization for years without anyone noticing. In fact, 75 percent of employee crimes are never caught.
Employees steal for any number of reasons. The Federal Bureau of Investigation presents a few of the most popular: financial need, revenge, dissatisfaction with a job or coworkers, allegiance to another company, thrill of potentially being caught, ego, desire to win approval, peer pressure, addictions and family problems. Don’t assume that your senior workers present less of a risk than new-hires; employees steal at all levels and in all industries. Research done by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reveals that workers on the payroll are 15 times more likely to engage in theft than contractors and other non-employees.
Employee theft is so prevalent that each American worker ends up paying $400 annually to offset the business losses. A few rogue workers are responsible for most of the damage. Instead of taking money out of the wrong employees’ hands or cutting into your quarterly profits, a few changes can make a substantial difference. Try implementing at least one of the following measures and see how your bottom line improves. By using background checks, security protocols, operations manuals, continual training and confidential offense reporting, you can prevent your company from becoming part of next year’s employee theft statistics.
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