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Six methods to prevent theft in the workplace by your employees

by , 24 April 2013
Theft is one of the most serious forms of dishonesty. It's not only costly towards your business, but if you can't trust your own employees not to steal, the trust relationship between you will be breached. But there's a cheaper way to prevent theft from occurring in the first place. Read on to find out the six tips you can use to combat theft.

Theft in the workplace is when an employee takes company goods which he has no lawful right to with the intention of keeping the goods to use or sell or for any other purpose,' says The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

This can have serious financial implications for your company when you have to constantly replace stolen goods.

Prevent theft by incorporating it into your company disciplinary code. You can also add it in your disciplinary code as part of a group of offences that fall under 'dishonesty'.

Use these six tips to combat theft in your company

  1. Ensure that your company disciplinary code contains the alternative offence of being in unlawful possession of company goods, which will carry the same sanction as theft. Remember that finding an employee in possession of company goods doesn't prove he intended to steal the goods. But if unlawful possession of company goods is your disciplinary code, you'll be able to prove it's an offence.
  2. Outsource security and frequently change shifts or work stations for security guards. This will ensure there's 'less chance of collusion between security personnel and company employees to remove goods from the premises if the guards have no advance knowledge of the change,' saysThe Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.
  3. Prevent access to certain parts of your company premises, like the processing plant of a gold mine. If you find an employee in the area without authorisation, it may warrant dismissal.
  4. Control access and exit points to your company. This'll help reduce theft.
  5. Improve your recruitment process to prevent theft. Ensure you do proper reference checks and criminal record checks before you hire employees in your company.
  6. Encourage employees to report dishonest conduct of co-workers. Employees who act as whistleblowers by reporting dishonesty, 'especially if they see their superiors stealing or otherwise being dishonest are protected from retaliation or unfair dismissal by the Labour Relations Act,' says The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

And remember, you still first have to prove an employee stole from you and hold a disciplinary hearing, before you can dismiss him for theft.

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