North American businesses lose millions of dollars a year due to various kinds of theft.
Unfortunately, it’s often their own employees who are doing most of the stealing, and most employers don’t even know it.
Here’s what employers are up against:
- Employees steal around $50 million annually.
- One in every three US adults has a criminal record.
- 75% of employees have stolen from their company at least once.
- More than 30% of bankruptcies are due to employee theft.
- Men account for 72% of occupational fraud cases.
- The average age of offenders who commit employee theft is 48.
- 43% of the cases only come to light because of a tip.
- 30% of perpetrators have been stealing for years before they get caught.
What’s even more disturbing is that the vast majority of these employees believe that they’re justified, are entitled to steal and have no shame about admitting it because they think that ‘everyone does it’.
Recently a server told the world via TikTok that she’s been applying newspaper discount coupons to cash sales and taking the difference in tips. That, alone, tells you how foolish she is, and that she has no problem telling the world that she’s a thief.
Over 800,000 people saw her video. Surprisingly, many supported her and admitted to doing the same thing at their jobs. People wrote comments like:
- “…if they actually paid servers then they wouldn’t have to hustle…”
- “[I] used to do this at this chain restaurant i worked at, easily have stolen like $1000”
- “I used to have a manager that would void one entree or a round of drinks [and pocket the difference] if [the customer] tipped horribly.”
In another TikTok video about theft-prevention at Walmart that had over 3 million views, commentors wrote things like:
- “I used to work at Walmart too and when people used to steal i would mind my business, I’m not loss prevention and it’s not coming out my check,”
- “[I have] stolen probably 100k from self checkout,”
- “They make billions and underpay employees. Thanks for the free avocado Walmart.”
Even when people pointed out the consequences of getting caught:
- “I caught an employee doing this. It was obvious after entire tabs were voided all day. She was a finance major.”
- “I had an employee do this for almost 3 years before corporate caught him, he’s in prison for felony theft.”
the server wasn’t concerned, saying: “I thought about that but serving jobs are a dime a dozen…”
There are thousands of people out there who believe that theft is justified and appropriate, and that getting fired for it is no big deal because it’s easy to get re-hired and start all over again somewhere else. Sadly, they’re generally right to believe that.
Employee theft statistics show that more than half of those surveyed would steal from their workplaces if they knew that they wouldn’t be caught. Add to that, the facts that, 34% of millennials justify stealing from their employer and only 4% of workplace thieves already have a criminal record. As a result, many businesses lose roughly 7% of their revenue to dishonest employees every year. If all of that isn’t disturbing enough, how about the fact that those with a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree are more likely to commit employee crimes?
Even though management reviews and internal audits can uncover discrepancies and other employees and customers often tip off business, it’s too little too late. The problem is that too many employers rely only upon criminal background checks or just don’t bother to screen for dishonesty at all.
Thieves can be identified before they’re hired.
Employers can screen out potential thieves for as little as $14. Pre-screening tests are cheap insurance that help you avoid hiring someone who’ll end up robbing you out of $1000s, and there are many such tests available.
Why risk hiring someone like the server in the first story above? When her employer finally catches and fires her (assuming that they don’t press charges) she’ll show up at your business looking for work. If you hire people like these without due diligence, then you’re guaranteed to become their next victim.
Here are just some of the tests that can help you avoid theft, loss of revenue, headaches, and embarrassment too:
- Applicant Review
- Applicant Risk Profiler
- Counterproductive Behaviour Index
- Employee Dependability Profile
- Employee Reliability Inventory
- Employee Screening Questionnaire
- Ethical Type Indicator
- Work Ethics & Dependability Test
- Work Integrity Screening Test
- Work Integrity Test
- Work Essentials Profile
- Work Personality Index
Choosing not to test your applicants is a lot like choosing not to wear a seatbelt in the car. You’re probably going to be just fine most of the time, but once you have an ‘accident’ with a thieving employee you’re going to wish you’d buckled up when you had the chance!
The statistics prove that it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to have an accident eventually, therefore, wear your seatbelt and test your applicants!
David Towler is President of Creative Organizational Design, a firm offering nearly 40 years of expertise specializing in employee assessments and which has over 2000 different product titles available. Creative Organizational Design has 100s of assessment tools designed to help employers screen out other people’s rejects, assess skills, aptitude, attitude and ‘fit’ within an organization. For more information about the options available and help selecting the best tools for your needs please contact us. Please send comments about this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.