You folks running or managing a business know that there aren’t guarantees in life. As with any best practices, our guidelines are designed to provide solutions to mitigate problems, not prevent them altogether (as much as we’d like to). The goal of this article is to provide simple steps that may help to prevent major theft or loss. Keep in mind, simple does not mean easy. It is simple to move 500 cinder blocks from one end of the yard to another, it isn’t easy!
- Enforce Existing Rules
- Create a System for Accountability
- Create and Enforce Job Functions
- Set Rotating Schedules and Mandatory Vacations
- Treat Your Employees Fairly
Enforce Existing Rules in the Business
Before doing anything else, enforce your existing rules. In order to be authoritative and taken seriously, you can’t place rules into effect and then not enforce them. You will risk wasting your time implementing new policies. Do not over complicate policies. A company is much more likely to succeed if they provide specific and conclusive rules. If you have a handbook with 150 rules, the employees are much more likely to accidentally or negligently violate them versus if the company had 14. Rules are not just for legal liability, they are to protect your company so be reasonable but enforce them.
Create a System for Accountability for the Business
A system of accountability can be extremely broad and applicable to all industries. Simple systems may be a time card, digital or otherwise. You want to know that your employees are on time. When it comes to theft and loss, however, you will want to implement auditing protocols. As an example, if there is one individual in accounting, it may be worth the extra capital to retain a third-party accounting firm for occasional auditing. Paying $10,000 a year in auditing fees may mitigate $1m in theft/loss. Being cheap will generally cost you in the end. Management must assess the risk on a situational basis and discover a plan that fits their company.
Create and Enforce Job Functions
Does that one individual in HR perform about 8 other unrelated job tasks daily? Well, put an end to it. Inefficiencies arise when professionals are performing work that they are not a professional in. There’s a reason that ancient nomads began specializing in skills instead of being a jack of all trades. How’s that saying go again? A jack of all trades and a master of none! Lastly, job functions will assist the accountability system that your company puts in place. If one individual has access to information well outside their job title, you may be asking for a problem. Keep people to their original job function and title, or change it officially. Always have a paper trail and keep records on changes.
Set Rotating Schedules and Mandatory Vacations
This is a fairly common one. Many people do not feel like taking vacations. Good on them, right? NO! This can leave a business severely vulnerable. It is important that employees are required to take mandatory vacations. A few things happen when an employee takes a vacation; not only does the employee have a chance to wind down and recover but it provides time for the company to audit their work. If theft and loss are discovered when that employee was away, you may be doing the employee a favor by exonerating them. After all, in most cases, they can’t steal if they were not even there. This changes the dynamics of the theft even when the theft is digital.
Treat Your Employees Fairly
You can’t pick your battles if you are fighting everyone. The best thing a business can do is to be fair and just to your employees. Do not create enemies where there are friends. As a business, your mindset should be that most people are good and responsible people. Others may border on the good and not so good spectrum. Those are the people that may be pushed over the line if you treat them poorly. Sure, the law is the law and people should not steal regardless. However, we both know that if you want to mitigate the problem, you must do something on your part to help prevent it. Be kind to your employees, do not overwork them or make unreasonable demands. You need them as much as they need you. And if an employee is found to be stealing, prosecute them. It is important to hold people accountable and preserve the integrity of all employees and the company as a whole.
If you’d like to read more tips, Deputy.com has several tips that will help mitigate loss:
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Spectre Intelligence is a private investigation and intelligence firm located in sunny Round Rock, TX (Austin area). If you need investigation or cybersecurity services, visit us at www.spectreintel.com and www.spectretechnology.com