In Dealing With Employee Theft, Part 1, we talked about how to tell if your employees are stealing from you and how to prevent it. In Part 2, we’re going to talk about how to deal with employee theft after they are caught. So how do you deal with employee theft when it’s your own salespeople or employees stealing from you? It’s difficult to think that someone that you’ve treated like family could actually steal from you but it happens more often than you would think. The first thing to do is take a good look at your company processes because theft usually occurs because of a breakdown in procedure. Do you have a good check and balance system? Are employees not following the procedures? Are you paying enough attention to what’s going on in your business?
When you do suspect employee theft, first of all make sure you have definite proof. You need to investigate thoroughly and make sure you have all of the facts. You need proof beyond a reasonable doubt before confronting the suspected employee. If you’re wrong and accuse the employee falsely, you damage not only your own creditability with that employee but the others as well. You may have to bide your time and wait until the evidence you have is strong against the person whom you suspect. Make sure you have good information. Is the source of the information a trusted source? Is the information reliable? Whether it’s account sheets, video surveillance or actual eyewitnesses, you need to have iron clad proof. If necessary, go over the information with your attorney, an auditor or other professional. Make sure you are current on the legal considerations when interviewing a suspect about a possible theft. Make sure you stick to the issue at hand. Don’t discuss other employee issues or bring other's opinion into the discussions. This is about what this employee has done.
Whatever action you take, it’s best done discreetly. Take the employee behind closed doors. Show them the evidence that you’ve collected and tell them the consequences. If you decided to terminate the employee right then and there, let them gather their belongings and leave quietly. This way there isn’t a big scene and the other employee won’t be sympatric towards the employee being terminated. After you have taken care of the problem, have a staff meeting immediately. Explain what happened, show the evidence you have gathered and then explain what action you have taken and why. There are several reasons to do this. One is keep the rumor mill shut down. There can’t be rumors when the facts are presented so openly. It will also show the rest of the staff how employee theft is dealt with.
Employee theft is something everyone has to deal with one time or another. Hopefully with these tips, it will be something you have to deal with less of.
By Linda Lee Ruzicka
Linda Lee Ruzicka lives in the mountains of Western PA , happily married and with her 8 cats and three dogs. She has been published in Twilight Times, Dark Krypt, Fables, Writing Village, June Cotner anthology, The Grit, Reminisce , the book, Haunted Encounters: Friends and Family. She also does freelances work for Beyond and for Salesheads. More of her blogs can be found at Salesheads blog