Employee theft is a very real concern for every business, whether you’re in retail or the food service industry. Each year, employee theft costs businesses $50 billion, with the average company losing $1.13 million per year.
Theft, if charged as a felony, can have employees facing fines of $20,000-$100,000 and prison time of 10-20 years.
While there’s no surefire way to eliminate employee theft, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. Technology can help. Here are four technologies that can help reduce employee theft.
The simplest solution is still one of the most effective: surveillance. Thanks to advancements in technology, business owners have more options when monitoring employees.
With remote monitoring, cameras can be placed throughout the work environment for surveillance. Letting employees know that they’re being monitored can prevent “privacy violation” claims in case of theft. Hidden cameras can also be placed strategically on the premises, but do be aware of privacy concerns.
For businesses on tighter budgets, a DropCam (created by Nest) can be paired with an iPad for DIY monitoring.
Traditional video surveillance is also an option. Outsourcing to a professional company will cost more, but will ultimately save you time and effort.
2. Internet Monitoring
When most people think of employee theft, they envision employees walking off with physical merchandise or cash. But employees can also steal your time – another valuable resource.
Monitoring employee Internet use can help prevent wasted time during the work day. Wasted time is one of the biggest challenges that companies face today. According to a survey from Salary.com, 64% of respondents said they wasted about an hour each day. About 14% of respondents admitted to wasting three hours or more each day.
Monitoring internet usage can help prevent employee theft of time, but there are legal issues that need to be considered. If you’re going to go this route, consult with a lawyer first.
3. Video Analytics
Video analytics software can be paired with security cameras to analyze surveillance in real-time. The software identifies and detects suspicious activity, and it allows users to go directly to the incident on the video footage. This feature saves businesses hours of monitoring and reviewing.
This same technology can also be incorporated into a point of sale system to catch employees who may be working with thieves or making bad choices.
4. Digital Security Procedures
Implementing a digital policy and internal security procedures can further help prevent employee theft. These procedures may include:
- Updating login credentials and passwords regularly.
- Closely monitoring activity on expense accounts and credit cards.
- Restricting access to sensitive documents and areas.
- Recording access to these sensitive areas and documents.
- Installing employee-facing cameras.
- Locking up expensive items.
While technology can certainly help prevent employee theft, it’s also important to always be on the lookout for warnings signs of theft. Maybe an employee is having money trouble, or is disgruntled because of a recent work event. Encouraging open communication among co-workers and managers can help prevent a situation from escalating to theft.