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Getting to the Bottom of Employee Theft

Our warehouse consultants recently wrote about how to reduce theft in your warehouse. It’s a huge problem for a lot of warehouses and distribution centers and ends up costing American businesses billions of dollars every year. One strategy that we didn’t cover in our previous blog involves taking a more personal approach to theft reduction. It involves getting to know more about why your employees are stealing and the motivation behind their actions. In many cases, understanding why the theft is happening will help you put a stop to the problem. Let’s take a look at some of the primary motivators for employee theft in the warehouse setting.

Why Employees Steal From Your Warehouse

They feel underappreciated.

A lot of theft happens because the employee feels that they aren’t getting the financial compensation or recognition that they deserve at work. They consider it a little bonus to themselves and justify it by feeling they deserve it. Make sure you are doing enough to recognize the hard work of your employees. Sure, some people are never going to be satisfied with their pay or other efforts to reward them, but if you are really lacking in this area you are likely to experience more theft.

They feel they have been wronged.

Employee theft can be used as a way to pay back the company for a perceived wrong or slight. Maybe the employee was passed over for a promotion or they are angry about having to work over a weekend. They justify the theft by rationalizing that you did something to hurt them, so they are going to do something to hurt you back. There is no way to prevent hurt feelings in the warehouse–it’s just going to happen no matter how careful you are–so you’ll need to rely on extra precautions like bag checks and secure storage to reduce it.

The opportunity is there.

It’s tough for even the most morally upstanding person to walk away from a theft when they know it’s going to be easy and undetected. When the opportunity presents itself, you’d be surprised at how many of your employees would take it. The only way to prevent opportunity thefts is to take away the opportunity. You can do this by making sure employees know about security measures like cameras, bag checks, metal detectors, and random audits so they know it’s going to be tough to walk out with the goods.

They are experiencing financial distress.

This is actually less common than you might initially think, but it does happen. Some theft in warehouses and distribuation centers occurs because employees are trying to overcome some kind of financial distress. Maybe they have a gambling or drug problem or there is some other reason they need to increase their income in a hurry. In these cases, employees are more likely to steal things that have a high resale value on the street, primarily electronics. You can combat this kind of theft by locking up tempting items in secure storage and limiting access to them. You can also do thorough background checks on employees before you hire them to ensure they don’t have a criminal history of this kind of behavior.

They don’t think they’ll be caught or punished.

If employees don’t think you’ll be able to detect the theft they are more likely to steal. They are also more likely to steal if they think you’ll shrug off the theft or give them the proverbial slap on the wrist. You’ll need to make it clear to employees in training and in employee meetings that you take theft very seriously, safeguard against it, and if an employee is caught that they will be immediately terminated. If it does happen, make sure you follow through with it.

What Issues Are Plaguing Your Warehouse?

Need more advice on preventing employee theft in your warehouse? Facing another warehouse issue that needs your attention? Our warehouse consultants can help. Get in touch with our team to learn more about theft prevention and solutions to other warehouse issues. We can help you find the right equipment and solutions to make your warehouse a safer, more efficient, and more profitable business. Give us a call or contact us through our website to speak with an experienced consultant about all of your warehouse needs today.

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