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Many business owners worry about staff stealing from them, especially those with smaller businesses which can't afford to absorb the losses that are dealt by such actions. This presents a real problem; you don't want to be overly-accusatory or conduct constant spot-checks since this will alienate your team, but you still deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your assets are safe, whether it be cash or items from the stock-room.
Here are four great ways to stop employee theft in its tracks.
1. Be Friendly with Your Staff Members
Most thieves won't be deterred from stealing just because you greet them with a smile on your face, but it's entirely possible for someone who has never stolen anything to do so because you don't treat them well. Most importantly, it's much harder to steal from someone you know than from someone who is merely a distant authority figure. Additionally, being open and friendly with staff makes it more likely that someone who is aware that thieving is taking place will let you know about it.
2. Get a Security System
A security system really should be seen as an investment, so you should definitely consider having one installed. You don't need coverage of every nook and cranny, but one or two cameras covering sensitive areas – such as the cash desk or entrance to the stock room – will be enough to deter most thieves. The amount gained, or, for you, lost, through stealing isn't normally enough to risk being caught, so just one camera can make a real difference.
3. Buddy Up Your Team – But Do it Right
Sometimes theft is premeditated; sometimes it simply occurs when the temptation arises and nobody is around to stop it. In either case, a thief is much less likely to act if there is someone else around. A security guard is obviously ideal, but a low-cost alternative is to make sure two or more staff members work together when in sensitive areas, or when responsible for a large amount of cash. One caveat: make sure you change those pairings up to prevent close friends from covering for each other.
4. Regularly Check Your Inventory
There are a whole host of reason to keep your inventory records well up to date, including the ability to detect any stealing as early as possible. Detecting theft isn't always as easy as opening up the cash register to find everything missing; thieves will usually be crafty, stealing in the hope that their action may go unnoticed for some time. Make sure that you check through your inventory regularly, choosing different times to avoid becoming too predictable.
Workplace theft will damage your business and create a negative environment for the rest of your team, so it's well worth taking the tips above into account to ensure that you run a tight ship.