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Protecting your office against employee theft

5 February 2020

Whilst it is something that you may not want to think about, it is always important to be prepared to stop members of your team from stealing from others. There could be many reasons that members of your team may feel the need to steal from others, so take a look at these tips on how you can help prevent thefts in your office.

Theft can come in many forms. As well as the theft of personal belongings it could involve embezzlement of company funds or accessing sensitive customer data. A lesser-known form of theft is time theft, where an employee might be using work time to complete personal tasks.

Positive work environment

Many businesses can go through a range of difficulties, which often leads to employees feeling the need to resort to stealing.

Try to maintain a positive work environment through good and bad times and encourage your team to be open and honest and recognise your team's achievements.


Not something that has to be drilled in all the time, but educate your team about what constitutes fraud. You could even make office theft or employee theft awareness part of your annual test.

Internal audits

By conducting regular internal audits, you will be able to pick up on any internal thefts sooner, especially embezzlement. This can also highlight any areas for improvement in your office to deter any further thefts.

Install CCTV

If possible, install surveillance equipment so that you can deter any thefts, but you can also use your new CCTV to catch any thieves in the act.

It could be argued that your employees may feel disgruntled about the prescence of CCTV and feel you don't trust them, so it's important that you emphasise that it is there to protect them and their belongings.

Delegate tasks

Financial tasks should be shared amongst as many employees as possible so that no one person has too much control.

Jobs that can be allocated to staff include handling transaction authorisations, collecting or paying cash and maintaining records. If one person has all of the control over these tasks, it could be easy for them to embezzle money.

Encourage the use of holidays

If you have started to notice that there has been a sharp increase in office thefts, you could identify a culprit by monitoring your team's holiday habits.

Encourage your team to take all of their holiday days and see if you notice if the thefts stop.

Anonymous reporting

Establish a contact at your business for theft reporting and allow your team to report anything that they have noticed anonymously.

Make sure your recruitment screening is thorough

You may have candidates who apply for a role at your business who may have a prior history of theft.

If a candidate has committed a crime, they will usually have to disclose this at application, unless their conviction has been spent.

Management training

Train managers and supervisors on how to recognise suspicious behaviour, and how to report it.

Source: Zywave Inc. - Risk Insights - Office: Prevent Employee Theft in Your Office

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