It has been reported that nearly 95% of workers steal from employers. Do you count yourself in that number? Is it possible that we are a nation of thieves? Of course, we are not talking about great big embezzlements running into tens of thousands of dollars. However, when we consider the various types of thefts that occur, you may find that you have to count yourself among the guilty.
Pilfering of office supplies and improper use of office equipment for personal purposes cost companies money, and are a form of theft. The cost of lost office supplies like pens, erasers, paper or staples aggregates to a few billions of dollars when totted up across the economy.
According to statistics:
While it may be safe to assume that the retail industry is most severely affected by theft, you may be surprised at the source. Employee theft far exceeds shoplifting. The National Retail Federation’s survey in 2011 found that 43.6% of losses in the retail sector, amounting to $34.5 billion, were on account of employee theft. In 2012, another research group found that one in 40 workers at the 23 major retailers surveyed was apprehended for theft.
Not all businesses may offer as much opportunity for employee theft as the retail industry but all businesses big and small face this scourge. How does an employer or manager accuse a worker or colleague of theft? It is a problem of mammoth proportions, and can take so many forms that it becomes very difficult to even determine its existence.
Companies who wish to avoid employee theft usually believe that their hiring parameters are sufficient to help them choose the most suitable candidates for a job while weeding out workers with questionable and unwanted characteristics which could spell trouble later on. While hiring carefully is important to achieve this goal, employers may also consider adopting other measures to safeguard themselves.
In addition to the “hard costs” associated with worker theft, companies also suffer from the impact on worker morale. Conscientious workers often complain about supervisors who routinely ignore worker violations. They feel ill-treated when others are allowed to come late or leave early. They notice when co-workers inappropriately use corporate equipment. The messages being sent to the workforce is that the company’s policies are merely guidelines that can be ignored when convenient, and that double-standards are tolerated. Consistency is key!
So, are you counted among the 95%? If you are in a supervisory position and fail to act when you suspect that your workers are violating company policy by helping themselves to company resources, then you definitely are part of the problem!
Tell us what steps your company has taken to reduce employee theft. Share your thoughts on what can be done. We’d like to hear from you.
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