When did it become acceptable to steal from your employer? Of course the answer is that it didn’t. But we see loss to embezzlement, theft and other employee-caused liabilities continuing to rise. There are the notorious Bernie Madoff cases we hear about in the news and other, smaller scale thefts perpetrated by executives and financial professionals at many companies, local governments, non-profits and other groups.
And in addition to the egregious and criminal cases, how many otherwise-responsible employees do little things that steal from or otherwise attempt to squeeze just a bit more money from the company that employs them?
Whether this means little things employees do to get extra reimbursements like padding expense reports, falsifying mileage reimbursement (as has recently been alleged of congressman Aaron Schock) or expensing personal meals. Even lack of diligence in HR reporting like failing to properly report absences is essentially fraud and theft. And fraud seems to often take place when employees see an opportunity to pocket extra cash at company expense or save a valuable commodity like a day of PTO rather than reporting it and seeing it consumed.
Another, more subtle way that employees essentially steal from their employers is through the misappropriation of company resources. Little things like printing personal documents on company printers are commonplace in offices across America. Taking materials, skipping out early, and doing personal business on company time are also commonplace. Little is thought of these things in most companies, but they cost U.S. companies millions in materials every year.
But unlike the Bernie Madoff’s of the world, who are consciously out there trying to lie, cheat and steal without regard for who gets hurt or how it affects others, most employees, even ones that take an extra hour for lunch once in a while or put an occasional personal dinner on the company credit card, don’t intend to hurt their employers; they’re just trying to get a little something extra for themselves and don’t think they’re hurting anyone or putting themselves at any risk.
So, what a company needs to do to minimize the damage caused when otherwise good employees do little selfish things that hurt the company’s bottom line is to make these employees change their point of view about the appropriateness and potential risks of their actions.
One tool that can make employees think twice before they take certain actions that could hurt your company is to install cell phone monitoring software on all the Apple and Android mobile devices you supply to them. For a one time investment that totals less than the average monthly mobile plan installment, you can load Highster Mobile which shows you every app, website, email and text message that comes through your employees’ mobile devices. It can also show you where the devices are by logging its GPS coordinates every 5 minutes.
While it is up to the employer how to use this information, the fact that it is being collected and logged, continuously, wherever your employees carry their company mobile devices can help remind them that when they are on company time, they should be conducting company business.