The holidays are upon us, and it’s the busiest time of year for loss prevention. It’s that time of year when some employees get that stealing feeling. It is inevitable that your losses due to employee theft are going to increase, but you don’t have to sit back and let it happen. If you take steps to conduct proactive investigations, you may be able to limit the amount of loss you will suffer.
In my experience, most internal theft and dishonesty cases happen in the last few months of the year. There are several reasons for employee theft activity to increase during this time. Some of the reasons for this are: increased employee financial burden, new seasonal employees and reduced overall supervision.
One cause of an increase in employee theft is the simple fact that, it’s the holidays. Everyone has more stress and financial burden during the holidays. For example, if you have an employee that has to somehow come up with extra money to buy gifts for their family and they are short on cash, they may find themselves tempted by the register full of cash or merchandise on your shelves. When people hit hard times, they do things that they would not normally do. It could be someone you think that would never steal from the company.
Another reason is that many businesses hire seasonal employees to help out with the added workload during the holidays. Hiring seasonal workers is good for having the extra help around when you need it most, and sometimes you might find people that you may want to keep on the payroll after the holidays. The downside is that they are not the normal trusted workers that you are used to dealing with on a regular basis. Unfortunately, a large portion internal theft and workplace accidents that occur during the holidays are caused by seasonal workers.
Finally, less supervision and more confusion creates greater opportunity for theft. With the increase in customer traffic and sales, comes the increase in employee theft. Sometimes managers don’t have as much time as they would normally have to supervise their employees. This creates the opportunity for employees to cause a loss without their boss looking over their shoulder every few minutes. The confusion causes some workers to bend the rules as well, and not follow procedures that are in place to protect the company’s assets.
For instance, if a cashier is normally required to have someone accompany them when they turn in the cash from their register, the increased store traffic may create a need for the extra person to help out elsewhere. Although this should never happen, it is common for workers to feel overwhelmed and unsure what to do in high pressure situations, therefore making bad decisions in the process.
The best way to combat this is to keep everyone on your team on task, and establish guidelines as to what they should be completing. Also, all employees should know that the company policies are in place for a reason, and no deviations will be tolerated due to the store being busier than normal. This will keep your team active, thus reducing confusion and decreasing the chance of internal theft opportunities.
For more information contact us: Employee Theft or call 1.770.426.0547