Plagued with theft at the workplace?
Do you routinely lose track of items in your inventory? Does it seem like you’re constantly replacing merchandise that you should already have in stock? If so, you might want to re-evaluate your current system for ensuring the security of inventory in your workplace. By simply taking a few practical measures — like installing security cameras and creating an asset tracking system — you can greatly reduce theft in your workplace.
Anyone in the workplace can steal — there’s no single profile. An office thief could be an important visitor, a janitor or even a long-time employee. The best way to protect your belongings is to keep track of people as they enter and exit the building, establish clear consequences for theft and consistently monitor your assets through inventory audits.
In addition to having a guard at the entrance to check people in and out, you should install surveillance cameras, which will allow you to keep track of people as they move throughout the building. Another important step is to make sure that access to areas with valuable assets is controlled. These kinds of precautions could include requiring employee ID cards to enter specific sections of the building or requiring employees to enter a specific code to access store rooms and other areas where assets are kept.
However, these measures do not protect against employees who might try to steal company assets — whether it’s important financial information, computer equipment or office supplies. In order to prevent theft from within, it’s important to carefully screen employees before they’re hired. This process should include an extensive background check, including interviewing references, reviewing previous work histories and, if necessary, checking to see if the applicant has a record.
It’s also important to make sure that once someone enters the workplace as an employee, management articulates a clear anti-theft policy that outlines what will happen to employees who steal company property. It’s also essential to have rules in place that protect whistleblowers and allow them to report crimes without fear of reprisal. Information about company policies against workplace theft should be posted in break rooms and other locations where employees routinely gather. Workers should also learn about these policies through mandatory training sessions.
The final line of defense against theft in the workplace is creating an asset tracking system. The first step in this process is to create a database using an Excel spreadsheet that contains information about all of your company’s items, including office supplies, such as staplers and computers; equipment and tools used for specific work assignments, such as power tools and company cell phones; and merchandise.
The easiest way to keep track of all these different items is by attaching sequential barcoded asset tags to each individual object. Finally, be sure to create a system that requires all items to be scanned before they’re checked out to employees or shipped off to clients. Taking this extra step will allow you to know which employee checked out an item, and where that item can be found.