Social media is an interesting place to be. It can be so useful and can also be so devastating too. Lots of societal vices nowadays can be traced to the effects of social media. A quick example is that of marriages whose survival rate nowadays is so meagre. One of the reasons could be tied to irrational or unrealistic marriages ideals people derive from fake lives portrayed on social media. Anyways, recently I saw some active social media discussions on the subject of employees stealing from their employers. I will look at that and explore some of the reasons why they do.

Is It Really A Racial Issue?

So, this is a good place to start because it is mostly made a racial issue. I recall recently seeing a post by someone who was positing that it is better to employ Indians, especially regarding financial posts. Their rationale was that Indians are trustworthy in those regards. They even said that Aliko Dangote actually considers Indians for such sensitive positions. Well, I guess arguments can be made for that line of thinking but is it really a racial issue? I have also noticed that people generally say that whites are collectively better than blacks when it comes to integrity and trustworthiness. How much empirical research has been done to come up with just bold claims? Personally, I think it is problematic to dissect the issue on racial lines. In general, I feel it is flawed to interrogate situations through the lenses of race or colour. There could be some seeming truths but it is best to look at things contextually.

OK, Is There A Problem With Africa In General?

There is definitely a widespread problem in Africa when it comes to hiring trustworthy employees. Why is the problem so widespread in Africa though? I am sure there are many possible reasons but I will just share one of them. African nations are predominantly characterised by institutionalized greed and corruption. It starts off right from the head of states and the arms of governments, right down to the ordinary citizen in the streets. Greed and corruption may have become so ingrained in the average African. Several social inequalities are stemming from economic challenges and a myriad of political issues too. This has created a bumpy operating environment where literally everyone is waiting to get an opportunity to enrich themselves. So I believe it is true to say there is a fundamental problem with the African context when it comes to employees stealing from employers.

Poor Employee Welfare – Arguably The Biggest Trigger

In light of all the possible reasons, poor employee welfare seems to be cited as the topmost one. Whilst it is most assuredly not the magic pill, proper employee welfare does go a long way in addressing the problem. Most employees are disgruntled at their places of work. The obvious one is that employees are generally poorly paid in Zimbabwe. The divide between top-level management and the lowest-paid ones is too wide. It is not surprising to find the highest paid in a company earning over 1400% more than the lowest-paid. It does not end there though. It spans to how employees are made to work like donkeys and even harassed at workplaces. I have heard of accounts of people who literally contemplated suicide due to emotional abuse by superiors at work. These are some of the employee welfare issues that trigger employees to steal if they get the chance.

Picture This…

You might recall that incident where employees of a local security company stole a whole truckload of cash. I am not sure about how employee welfare is at that security company. Regardless I just want to use that example to make a point. Imagine a security guard for a security company earning says US$100 per month. Suppose 4 of the man a vehicle with cash in transit. A trip can mean about say, US$100000 in the cash in the vehicle. In theory, those 4 can collude to just vanish with the money. Couple that with the paltry salary, maybe poor treatment by the employer and ironically having access to huge amounts of money at work. You realize that can create the perfect trigger for the employees to steal.

So, at the very least or probably at most, in some scenarios, competitive salaries and good employee treatment at work can be the answer. Some do argue that some employees can still steal despite being provided with all that. Given that argument it might then mean more has to be done in objectively hiring employees. I am sure you can concur with me that most employers do not strategically hire their employees. An interesting consideration some employers even make now is to lean more on hiring honest employees as opposed to just being blinkered to look at skills only. All in all, this is a huge area of discussion and I would like to hear what your views are. Kindly share your comments below.