Does your company have a policy for handling employee theft? When I owned my moving company, we paid up to a $500 reward if an employee let us know about another employee who stole. At our dispatch area, we had a 4-by 8-foot billboard that said, “Up to $500 Reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person for the theft of property from Peachtree Movers, Inc., our Peachtree Movers’ customers, or our employees.” For the most part, our policy worked.
Even the best policies don’t always work, though. We had a situation where our employees’ lunches were being ‘appropriated’ from our breakroom refrigerator, apparently by another employee. It happened so often in a short period of time that I took drastic measures and stepped up the bounty ultimately to $3,000. I wanted the thief caught and out of our company (and, I fantasized, dead or alive). I knew that if he stole from our employees, he would steal from our customers when given the opportunity. Even with the high bounty, lunches were still vanishing and morale was sinking.
One morning at 11 a.m. after all the morning crews had been dispatched, I walked through the breakroom and saw one of our movers, who was not scheduled to work until after lunch, hiding behind the breakroom door that was partially closed. I yelled, “What are you doing? Why are you hiding behind the door?” (I thought I caught our thief.) He never replied even after I asked him again. Instead, he slowly raised his arm and pointed at the breakroom tables with his finger. It was there that I saw the reason for his strange behavior. He hid behind the door after he planted his lunch on the table as bait in the hope that he’d catch the thief and get the $3,000 reward.
We never did catch the thief. However, after raising the bounty and everyone suspecting and watching everyone else, one of our employees was MIA—quit without notice—and suddenly, the lunches stopped disappearing. We suspected he was the thief and skipped because there was so much pressure on catching him. With our “narc” policy, we found that most thieves were lazy and preferred to work for movers that didn’t have a reward policy like ours. For the most part, our policy worked well. (And please don’t tell me that you don’t hire thieves.)
How do you deter theft at your company?
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