Did you know that theft and pilfering is four times more likely to be committed by your own employees? It only takes one individual to cause significant damage to your bottom line. Employee theft is estimated to be in the billions of dollars each year!
Theft by employees includes merchandise, cash, materials, computer equipment, tools, information and industrial espionage, administrative fraud and embezzlement.
The threat of exposure to potential employee theft will increase proportionately with the size of your company. If your company has negligible safeguards in place, it is crucial to consider implementing sound internal security procedures to protect your company’s assets.
Areas Most Vulnerable to Internal Employee Theft
Administration – What about the books? Whether you process information on a hard drive or manually, figures can be manipulated. Does your company have controls in place for the signing of checks, payroll, or inventory? If the answer is no, you can be exposed to the possibility of padded payrolls, kickback schemes with suppliers, forged or check duplication, or falsified inventories — just a few of the scams administrative personnel can perpetuate.
Merchandise and Equipment – Assets such as office furnishings, supplies, tools, assembly parts, or equipment, can be pilfered by staff, delivery drivers, or even the night time cleaning crew. If you lack the facility to monitor office supply rooms, neglect the effective supervision of staff and cleaning personnel, or have loose control over your inventory, your risk is greatly enhanced.
Shipping and Receiving – These are the most vulnerable and popular target areas where employee theft is committed. If either area has high traffic volume, infrequent or limited supervision, or minimum safeguards for the two way flow of parts and goods into and from your company, store, or warehouse, then at the very least, you are a company that is just waiting for thefts to occur.
Information – Industrial espionage is increasingly popular these days, especially in the uses and application of new product development technologies and manufacturing processes. Employers must be on guard to prevent internal procurement of sensitive or unsecured data. Password security is simply not enough. Anyone can use available hacker programs to access customer lists or new product information, all of which can be sold by one of your employees to a competitor. Theft of internal company information for resale can be very lucrative.
Monetary – The person operating your cash drawer can siphon off money and merchandise in numerous ways. Theft is as simple as voiding a sale and pocketing the cash, or working in collusion with an outside party. If you are uncertain that your till receipts reflect your actual cash sales, you better address the situation before it becomes a major problem.
Safeguards to Protect your Business Assets
All these areas can be protected and secured. Reduce the risk of employee theft by establishing strict procedures and controls over your vulnerable assets. Protective counter measures can be as simple as implementing specific policies regarding your cash register.
Other simple safeguards might include the securing of peripheral areas like windows and doors; convex mirrors to eliminate blind spots; unscheduled walk through of unsupervised areas; regularly checking outside locations such as trash bins, and employing logs to monitor the movement of goods, tools, and materials. Basic preventative measures can be administered at nominal cost. Solutions don’t have to be expensive to be effective.
Stronger security needs might require the installation of video surveillance, or securing sensitive data through software encryption or firewalls. You might consider hiring security personnel or a private investigator to act as an undercover operative. Consider constructing protective storage areas to safeguard expensive items such as parts or inventory. Keep these storage areas locked and restrict access.
A qualified security consultant can point out your company’s flaws and offer a variety of solutions. With a little imagination and research, you can implement many safeguards yourself.
Security systems might appear expensive, and a pain to implement, but they are worth your time and money in the long haul. Good security can save your company a lot of money and grief.