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2 Ways To Ward Off Employee Theft

How well do you know your employees? Although it might seem like you have a trustworthy, reliable staff, the statistics show otherwise. The United States chamber of commerce estimates that 75% of employees steal from their employers every year, and that most of those people do it repeatedly. Experts estimate that US businesses lose between $20 billion and $50 billion dollars annually to employee theft, but you might be able to avoid problems by making a few changes. Here are two ways to ward off employee theft so that you can hang onto your company profits:

1: Audit Your Quarterly Inventories

At the end of every quarter, most retail businesses are charged with the task of manually counting their entire on-shelf inventory. Unfortunately, if you have department heads or employees that have been pilfering merchandise, they might be tempted to lie about their invoices or product counts. Also, since inventory is easier to count when there aren’t customers in the store, it might be easier for employees to walk away with valuable merchandise without getting caught. Here are a few security measures you should take during inventory:

  • Double Check Product Counts: After your employees have finished counting, take the time to audit random departments to double check their numbers. If you find discrepancies between the written total and the number of products on the shelves, it might mean that the employee in charge of the count walked away with merchandise.
  • Analyze Invoices: On the other hand, if employees are stealing money, their counts might be on, but the invoices might be incorrect. For example, if an employee accepted a cash payment from a vendor but pocketed the money instead of applying it to the account, the balance sheet might be wrong. Double check all invoices and account balances to make sure that everything lines up.
  • Hire A Security Team: To keep workers from taking merchandise home, hire a security team during inventory. Ask them to question workers leaving with large bags or puffy coats, which might conceal merchandise. It might seem like overkill, but when employees know that they are being watched, they might be less likely to steal. Search sites like for more information about hiring security personnel.

After you are finished with inventory, hold a meeting with your security team. Talk with them about product audits, invoice problems, and strange employee behavior. If you notice multiple issues with the same employee, you might know who to talk to.

2: Be Careful With Cross Training

Sometimes business owners make the mistake of over training their employees by certifying them in multiple departments. For example, you might train your cashiers to balance the safe at the end of the day so that you only have to have one employee on hand instead of two. Unfortunately, if you aren’t careful, cross training can pave the way for employee theft.

When employees gain an inside knowledge of how a system works, they might learn ways to get around security protocols. For example, if your cashiers know that you don’t always double check the balances at the end of the night, they might be more tempted to take cash from their register.

To avoid problems, be careful with cross training. Think about how different jobs at your organization affect each other and how they could affect store security. Keep a completely separate accounting department, so that you always have an objective eye keeping track of your cash. If you allow an employee to transfer from one department to another, ask your security team to watch that person for a while. Also, ask employees to keep inside information about a department private, and discipline that worker if they talk about secret protocol.

By improving your store’s security, you might be able to ward off bad behavior and protect your company.