Dealing with Employee Theft


Theft from employers by employees is a frequently underreported crime. Yet it costs British businesses over £190 million every year.

A recent poll discovered a staggering 67% of office workers admit to stealing from their workplace. For most, this will be little things – a bit of stationery here, a piece of obsolete furniture there. With constant pay freezes, many employees feel entitled to a little bit extra.

Employee Theft
Employee Theft

The ‘Little’ Thefts

More disturbingly, a significant amount of people admit to stealing personal items from other staff. This can be motivated by jealousy or personal dislike, and it causes a fractious workplace environment that often impacts on business morale. The value of items taken per employee is not usually great, but it all mounts up. Besides, whatever the justification, theft is wrong.

Most employers aren’t willing to wield the big stick in such cases, and that’s understandable. An atmosphere of suspicion and condemnation serves nobody. Usually wording in staff contracts and signs in stock cupboards keep losses to a minimum.

More Worrying Employee Thefts

Sometimes, the thefts get out of control. A block of post-it notes may be something you’re willing to write off, but when an employee starts to make greater inroads into the stock cupboard, or starts taking from the till, it becomes a more pressing problem and your business starts to lose significant money.

Such thefts aren’t necessarily limited to small items either. It can become a very serious crime where staff syphon off large amounts of money and cover it up through falsifying accounts. This is something that happens all too often where an employee has direct access to money.

Workplace Theft
Workplace Theft

Raising the Bar

Other forms of theft can be devastating for your business. Theft of data or intellectual property such as product specifications can be highly lucrative for those who bear a grudge or find themselves in financial difficulty. If personal data is taken, your business can be liable for a hefty fine, whilst stolen business intelligence can destroy your competitive edge. So how do you deal with these things?

Minimising the Risk

There are several things that can be done to reduce the risk of theft, and a culture of trust and fairness goes a long way. But what happens if you get a bad apple?

One of the problems many employers face in dealing with workplace theft is approaching the member of staff in question. Accusing an employee of theft is not a decision that should ever be taken lightly. Nor should it be undertaken without having hard evidence that the employee has broken your trust.

Employee Theft Investigation
Employee Theft Investigation

Gathering the Evidence

To provide evidence, CCTV and computer records can be invaluable to the employer, but sometimes they’re not enough.

At Insight Investigations we offer a full range of overt or covert security services. Whether you want physical surveillance to keep an eye on a particular staff member or want someone to operate undercover within your business, we provide employee theft investigation service fully tailored to meet your needs.