Employee theft is one of the entrepreneurs and business people’s headaches. Virtually in any enterprise, there are incidences of employee theft at one point. It is said that on average, 3 out of every 4 employees commit theft at their workplace more than once. About 50 per cent of those employees get to habitually commit theft. Employee theft can be so far-reaching that about one-third of businesses suffer losses. It is also said that 3 out of every 4 cases of employee theft are never discovered. When putting all this together you release employee theft is something you should address. While it might not be easy to annihilate employee theft, here are some ways you can use to minimize it:

Proper Remuneration And Benefits

Most of the times employees steal because they are not getting enough in terms of salaries and benefits. This is usually worsened by disgruntlement amongst employees because of poor treatment. So the first thing you can do is to try to boost employee morale. As much as you might have to be forthright with them, see to it that you treat them well. Go some distance in giving them substantial salaries. You then buttress that by giving them some fringe benefits at work. These can be things like transport allowance, grocery hampers, meals and refreshments at work, branded wear, and so on. Doing all this can cover some mileage in discouraging employee theft.

Be Actively Involved In The Business

It is good to have managers, supervisors, and all. However, you must be actively involved in the business. Be careful though lest you become a micromanager – strike a healthy balance. The basic idea is to be actively involved in such a way that you know how the whole business operates. Take occasional unannounced visits to the business and move around. Observe and ask keen questions from staff members as they go about their business. Get to know the staff by name and their personalities, backgrounds, and so on. Just by regularly doing this you can curb lots of shady behaviour. In the same way, you can even spot red flags as well.

Leverage On Technology

One of the great things about technology is that it limits manipulation. Simple things like the use of electronic point of sale systems (E-POS) can curb the incidence of theft. The use of computerized systems can help ensure that things are done straightforwardly. I have noticed that the more manually done things are the more open they are to manipulation. If someone has to manually take note of transactions they can manipulate them.


This is a principle that should be used even in any type of startup or business. Divide or separate operations or procedures such that no one person can access everything. For example, a till operator must only have access to the interface of an E-POS. They must not have access to the back-end where they can tamper with the data. Contexts differ but the idea is to create a system where it would take serious collision to pull off theft. Imagine if at least 5 people have to collude to steal something – that significantly minimizes theft. Why? This is because the probability of several different people reaching a consensus to steal is usually slim to none.

Real-Time Video Surveillance

This is age-old but works. Having real-time video surveillance helps in real-time monitoring. Employees will not risk doing anything shady during or after working hours. You can have someone dedicated to keeping an eye on the footage. However, to make it more robust it must be possible for some of the top management to access it as well. Thus you or someone else can randomly review it or access it in real-time anytime. The cameras must cover all the critical areas through which theft can occur. That way employees will always know anything they try to pull off will be closely monitored. CCTV cameras are not as expensive as some might think. Their cost might be way less than what is being stolen from you.

Comprehensive Record-Keeping

Often time employees see opportunities to steal when there is poor record-keeping. Usually, inventory management will be poor. At times even the record of transactions will be in shambles. All these and more similar examples make stealing easy and untraceable. Proper record-keeping creates a system from which red flags can be noticed. If that system is not there how then can you take note of any red flags?

Robust Code Of Conduct And Stern Disciplinary Action

As a startup or business, no matter how small, have a solid code of conduct. Employees must be in clear knowledge of what constitutes employee theft. It must also cover the possible consequences of violating it. The possible consequences must be disciplinary action that is prohibitive. If someone is found guilty of stealing, stern disciplinary action must be taken. It should be clear to others that stealing comes with it grave consequences.

These are 7 of some of the ways to use to minimize employee theft at retail stores. The keyword is ‘minimize’, it is not an overnight thing to guarantee zero theft. It takes time and careful planning to put in place a watertight system. With these 7 ways working together you can significantly curb employee theft.