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How to Prevent Office Theft by Employees for Beginners

Employee theft is a problem that can affect almost any business, whether it is large or small. It is a subject that employers are often hesitant to discuss because no one wants to think about their employees being thieves. Of course, most employees are nothing of the sort. Most people do not think it is right to take things that are not theirs.

However, every company is going to have a few people who have no scruples and will steal property if they can get away with it. Below are some helpful tips to prevent employees from making off with your company property.


1. Maintain Personal Security at Work


It is very important that every employee is personally responsible for keeping track of their own property at work. For example, you should never leave your purse or your wallet in a place where others can take it. Keep your wallet in your pocket, or lock your purse in your desk.

You should be sure that your coat or jacket does not have valuables in it. Make sure all personal items of any value are safe when you leave your workspace, and if you have an office, lock the door when you are gone.

2. Maintain Departmental Security

locking cabinet

It is very common for departments at a company to have very little security. You should always challenge any stranger that you see in your work area who is loitering. You should ask if they are not showing their ID, and call security  if they will not produce it.

One of the biggest problems with employee theft is the stealing of office supplies. The fact is that 50% or more of employees nab a pen, note pad, pencils, paper and more on a regular basis for home use. This might not seem like a big deal but it can really add up to a lot in a large company.

The way to deal with this is to only give a few of your employees direct access to supplies for the office. That person is going to be responsible for passing out supplies as they are needed, and he or she should have to keep an inventory.

You also should have passwords given out for your copier. This will cut down on your employees using the company copier to print out their resume, their children’s reports and so on.

3. Maintain Organizational Security

Asset Tag

Asset Tag

You should have policies in place to fight employee theft. For example:

  • Have your policy on security in writing and make sure all employees know it. Communicate the penalties for stealing from the company. Make every employee acknowledge in writing that they have read these policies.
  • Have ID badges for all employees and make everyone wear ID.
  • Do background checks on your employees.
  • Install cameras for security. If you have a place where office supplies are, this would be a great place to put a security camera.
  • Have an employee in each department appointed as the security manager and have that person communicate policies as they change.
  • Only allow certain people to have access to rooms where there is expensive equipment. Keep a log book of who goes into these rooms and when.
  • You also can secure expensive company property (furniture, video equipment, cameras, laptops) with asset tags and labels (see image above). A good example of effective and affordable asset tag technology is at Mavericklabel.com.
  • Have all serial numbers written down for expensive equipment.

4. Maintain Computer Security

Another big problem with employees these days is the ‘theft’ of company time by wasting time on the Internet. You should have a company policy on Internet browsing and enforce it. Many companies block social media sites such as Facebook. You should inform employees in your security policies that email and Internet traffic are monitored and audited periodically. Anyone who is seen to be abusing the use of the company Internet should understand the consequences.

Surfing websites not related to company business can also put the company servers at risk for viruses. So these sorts of activities need to be outlawed in your security policies.


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One Response to How to Prevent Office Theft by Employees for Beginners

  1. David Young February 28, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    One thing we worry about is time theft. We counter it using a biometric time clock – as people generally can’t clock in for someone since no one has the same fingerprints! For actual supplies, though, labels with bar codes can go a long way.

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