Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Although shoplifting costs retailers billions of dollars a year, it isn’t just the person on the street that steals from retailers. Employees make up a big portion of “retail shrinkage.” The average employee can steal much more than a shoplifter and it is not just walking out of the store with something on their lunch break or when their shift is done.
Employees know the inner workings of a company or a store or restaurant and they are the ones who know where the cameras are, what they can get away with and what they can’t get away with. Employee theft is six times more costly than shoplifting to retailers. Recent national surveys show that approximately 75% of all employees steal from their employer at least once and about half of that steal more than once.
It isn’t just money or goods that are being stolen by employees either. Employees can steal from their employer in several different ways. Employees can stealtime, information, defraud customers and steal supplies. Employees steal time by coming in late or leaving early but get paid for the full shift by lying about their time. Designs or plans of products or trade secrets stolen by an employee are considered information theft and this is probably the worst kind of employee theft because theft of ideas and secrets can absolutely ruin a company. Pens, pencils, paper, etc… from an office or a company or condiments, food from a restaurant is a theft of supplies and another way that employees steal is by fraud. This is done simply by overcharging a customer for something and the employee pocketing the difference.
There are different reasons that drive an employee to steal as well. If an employee feels he has been wronged in any way by a business, an employee will steal to “get even” with the business, low company morale will cause an employee to steal and is also a reason why productivity suffers within a business. However, probably the biggest reason employees steal is because “they can.” This is when a business has no measures or very weak measures to prevent this type of crime.
Employee theft costs over fifty billion dollar a year for businesses and now have more measures in place such as cameras, rfid booths and now they are even running credit checks on prospective employees and some even have security checkpoints where personal bags are either left or checked. Like shoplifting, employee theft will never be completely stopped but it can be slowed down with a little more vigilance and precautions.