How Does Employee Theft Affect Other Employees?
Employees who steal from your company not only rob from you but they also take from their co-workers. This is true in terms of financial losses for all and with the type of atmosphere that is created following theft. Tension results, along with mistrust and excessive rumors. Management often reacts by creating stricter regulations that limit the freedoms of the entire staff.
The theft of company property or monies cost the amount of the loss itself and can cause further financial issues. Management might find it necessary to invest in tighter security measures such as video monitoring or the hiring of a guard. These extra expenses can cost employees money that might have come in the form of pay raises and bonuses. The extra costs incurred by the employer could also prevent the company for investing in marketing and promotions that could improve sales, which means the company, and therefore its employees, would not benefit from that expected growth.
The environment on the job can change following a known case of employee theft. Management and employees often become tense and distrustful of one another. Work production might slow as employees fretting over the incident find it difficult to concentrate on the tasks before them. Employees often react to theft by mistrusting the company, which creates a dissatisfied feeling in the workplace. It could become necessary for the small business owner to step in and reassure employees he has addressed the situation and new measures are in place to protect the company's assets and the personal items of the employees.
Rumors can run rampant when an act of theft has been committed at the job. Employees are naturally curious regarding what was taken, who perpetrated the crime and questions as to how the situation will be handled. Time spent speculating among the staff can interfere with the timely performance of work duties. It can also escalate to allegations that have no merit. The best way for an employer to stem gossip regarding theft is to hold a meeting to briefly describe what has occurred and to answer particular questions from the staff. An article from Eye Care Business warns employers not to give out confidential information or details, as this could result in legal issues.
A small company owner might initiate new regulations for the business after an incident of employee theft. You might find it prudent to lock up valuable assets and require an employee to "check out" needed tools or pieces of machinery rather than leaving them unattended for workers to use. The installation of a security camera is another avenue many employers use to help ensure further thefts do not occur. You could also require employees not to bring personal items to work or to keep all personal phones and other property in lockers. These types of restrictions can affect the morale of your workers, who might believe they are being watched excessively and are guilty by association regarding the employee who stole. According to the Journal of Criminal Justice, all your workers might believe they are negatively perceived by their employers after a theft has occurred.