Dave Thomas

With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of small business and consumer topics.

Dave Thomas has written 101 articles for SB Informer.
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Is Your Small Business Fully Secure?

Dave Thomas

January 28, 2013

1.0/5.0 (1 votes total)

If you have worked for a number of years to build your small business, the last thing you want to see is someone else ruin it for you.

As much as many small business owners would hate to admit, crime on the job is much more common than people realize. In fact, tough economic times make theft at the workplace unfortunately all too common.

According to a 2011 AOL Jobs survey, 43 percent of workers admitted to swiping stuff while on the job for their personal use, with 18 percent of workers stating they have stolen items valued at more than $50. Meantime, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report stated that around 75 percent of all employees take stuff without permission from their jobs in some form.

So, what can you as a small business owner do to lessen the chances that you will become the victim?

Among the areas to focus in on:

1. Know who you hire - It seems like a no-brainer, but how much time do you spend looking at the total individual when it comes to hiring someone? While you would hope and expect that the majority of applicants are truthful on applications when asked if they have ever been convicted of a crime, some will hold back such details. Given the likelihood that you are more consumed about their qualifications for the job they are applying for, never overlook their personality, any traits that make you feel uncomfortable, and any comments they make about how taking an item here or there at work no matter what its value is not a big deal. Reviewing any of their social media chatter can also give you a glimpse into how they may not be totally trustworthy;

2. Office security - Just as you have or would want a home security system to monitor your residence, having security in place at work is important too. Whether the security is evident or hidden, monitoring what is going on at your workplace should be a top priority. You should have cameras placed at key parameters in your building, including the any entries and exits, where valuable equipment such as computers are placed, and any areas where finances are handled, i.e. payroll. In the event you do have a major theft at work, the video evidence should be there for the taking;

3. Documentation - Whether it is to sign out an office laptop or for an employee to use the company credit card to make a work-related purchase, make sure there is documentation at all times. For example, one of your sales personnel is going to a conference and will be meeting with several important customers. If you have them using the company credit card for such occasions, make sure they document all purchases, provide receipts etc. If someone in the office is tasked with using the company credit card to purchase supplies, the same holds true;

4. Consequences - Finally, let all your employees know about the consequences should they be caught stealing from you. Someone taking an office notepad and someone stealing money or an office laptop are two entirely different things, yet workers should know none of these scenarios is something you approve of. For any serious thefts from your company, let employees know that not only will they lose their job, but they could very well be prosecuted by authorities.

While most small business owners would like to think such events never take place, the smart business owner is always prepared to prevent, and if necessary, deal firmly with such happenings.


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