In some companies employee theft has been occurring for so long that it has festered into a serious dilemma that is not only right under managements nose but also actually condoned. Let’s use a retail store as an example. Management overlooks employees who take small items such as candy, sodas… It goes on long enough that it not only becomes the norm but also happens right in front of management. Managers do nothing about it. So the employees learn that this is acceptable. Even worse, in some cases the same managers do it to!

The candy bar that sells for $1.25 (remember when they were $0.50?) stolen by an employee does not just cost your business a $1.50. If your stores profit margin is 2% that employee just ate $62.59 (1.25 / .02). You will have to sell $62.50 to just BREAK EVEN. Let’s say that same employee does that four times a week for a year. That’s $13,000.00 that you will have to sell to break even on a thief with a sweet tooth.

If management condones it then others will see and in many cases do the same thing. “It’s alright” becomes the culture. Which means employee theft is the norm. I can tell you for a fact that it will not stop there.

Look at the issue in another way. Some companies have a policy that if a cashier is only short $5.00 (or whatever) at the end of the day that they do not look into it because it take to much time. That tells cashiers that it is OK to steal $4.99 and or less. That’s lunch money, gasoline…(OK not very much gasoline, but still!).

This problem is one that can simply sneak up on a business. It starts out small and gets much bigger. That’s the culture that has been established. Most employee theft gets its start this way. After that the thief gets more confident because “it’s alright”. We then wonder why it has happened.

You must establish a zero theft tolerance policy. A line must be drawn in the sand. You must not just look the other way at this and hope. Employee theft cannot and will not go away on its own.

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