At Your Service: Keep employees happy to reduce workplace theft

Greater job satisfaction is an effective route to reducing employee theft.
Russ Dantu
April 10, 2017
By Russ Dantu
One of the biggest challenges businesses face today is employee theft. Why does this happen and what can be done to stop it?


The attitude some employees take is that it is sometimes easier to “borrow” a few packs of coffee than to stop at the grocery store on the way home. It is easier to “borrow” items – white out, pens, a stapler, a screwdriver, nuts and bolts – and sometimes return them or sometimes keep them. “Hey, I work hard for the company. It’s not like they aren’t making lots of money,” you can imagine them saying. “They can afford it? What harm am I really doing?” Obviously, I think very differently now but as a teenager I will admit I may have “borrowed” a few items when working in the trade show rental business.

Maybe you have caught an employee stealing something as simple as one of the items listed above. In general, I prefer a mild response to such incidents. I like to say we should play the odds that most employees know right from wrong and most are there to do a good job for you. It’s a small percentage that actually need to be fired.

The key to a successful, honest team is knowing what employees want, understanding their needs and treating them like gold. Now this doesn’t mean you have to coddle them but so many businesses are still of the old mentality: “Hey, they’re paid to work here. That should be enough!” Not anymore it isn’t. We need to change the way we look at hiring and keeping employees so we have a greater chance at success behind the counter and behind the scenes.

Building a cohesive, effective and honest team takes time but the benefits are plentiful: less employee turnover, better culture, stronger teams, happier employees…the list goes on. Creating a simple strategy that won’t cost you a dime is easier than you think.

If you want to achieve these things, please consider the following survey from Inc.com. Many business owners and managers think it’s all about money but once we are paying our employees a respectable salary or hourly wage relative to what they are doing in the industry there are still many other factors that contribute to employee satisfaction.
  • Feeling proud of what they do (contributing and impactful)
  • Being treated fairly
  • Respecting and trusting their boss
  • Being listened to
  • Having a personal life
  • Being coached, not managed
  • Seeing bad employees let go
  • Having job security
  • Being part of a winning team
  • Being appreciated regularly (not once a year)
If you want to be known as the leader in your specific industry, not just in customer satisfaction but also employee satisfaction, treat your employees better than your competition does. By doing these simple things, you will make them feel like they are truly a part of your company’s success. That will lead to less employee theft. Chances are also in your favour that your employees will respect you more and treat your customers like gold. That’s a great formula for a healthy bottom line. 



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