If you have a suspicion that your coworker or employee is stealing from the business, it is not only a financial and legal concern it is one of morale. It can be a little devastating to think that someone you have known for some time and trust with your business can steal from you. One of the most important things to do is to document everything.
Here are 8 tips on how to catch a coworker stealing:
1. Document everything
Once you start to suspect something is amiss, you need to be 110% sure before you act. Sometimes it can be an honest misunderstanding that will make you into the bad guy in this situation. Getting all of the facts with corporate investigation services is the first step.
Some of the data you should be looking to gather is the date and time that you suspect money was stolen and who was working at the time. If this has happened more than once, you can start to build up a pattern of behaviour that will help you identify which employee is to blame.
2. Look at inconsistencies
When the numbers don’t add up, you might find yourself in a bit of a predicament. If you have kept immaculate records on inventory and cost then you should be able to identify when the money went missing and who is the culprit.
However, if your bookkeeping has a few gaps and isn’t completely accurate you might find that your evidence isn’t as rock solid as you need it to be. It is exactly these gaps in accounting that employees identify and exploit.
3. Understand your register or software
Registers often have functions that allow a prospective thief to access the cash drawer without inputting a sale. For example an employee that is stealing from you may repeatedly use the “no sale” function to open the register. There are honest reasons why someone would be doing this but it should be fairly easy to spot any spikes in the use of these functions.
Having a solid understanding of the software that you use to track register functions and inventory will provide you with some valuable insight into any weaknesses that a dishonest employee may want to exploit. The last thing that you want is your employees having a much greater understanding of your systems than you.
4. Ensure you have the right processes in place
If you think that cash is being stolen think about when you are able to identify something is missing. A register counting system is a common way to add up the totals from the end of each day or shift and ensure that any discrepancy can be identified as soon as possible.
This will give you insight into exactly which shifts, and ultimately which employees are working the register when the count is light.
5. Consult security camera footage
If you don’t have security cameras, then you need to get them installed as soon as possible. Nothing is a better deterrent than the thought that someone is watching. This can be a valuable piece of evidence to back up any discrepancies in the cash count at the end of a day.
You can review the footage and catch the employee lifting money from the register. There will be no stronger evidence than video footage of someone taking money from the register and placing it in their pocket.
6. Strange behaviours
There are some innovative methods that thieves will use when they steal. Security cameras and inventory records are an essential way to keep track and identify them. A great example of this if your business has a policy of damaged items being thrown away.
Sometimes, a perfectly good product will be deemed damaged by a dishonest employee and then they will report that it was destroyed or thrown in the garbage. When in reality they have simply taken it themselves.
7. You would be surprised who knows what is going on
Honest employees may know what is going on but are too intimidated or shy to come forward. To help encourage your honest employees to speak up you should make sure that you have regular check ins and speak to them often so that they find you approachable.
If an employee does alert you to theft you should thank them, and tread carefully. You still need evidence before you accuse an employee.
8. Provide incentives for accurate accounting
This will help your business in multiple ways. If all of your employees are rewarded when the accounting lines up perfectly at the end of the week you will find that they police themselves effectively.
This can lead to honest employees going the extra mile to make sure they have not missed anything. You will also encourage innovation amongst your staff that will help to reduce honest mistakes in accounting and use of the register.