As an employer, one of the biggest threats to your business is employee theft and according to the National Retail Association, it is more common than most people think.

As much as 80% of employees are likely to commit theft during their employment and according to a global study, employees steal an average of $1890 (compared to a shoplifter’s average of $438).

So how does it happen?

Employees are more likely to commit theft because there is the illusion that they won’t get caught and usually they have greater insight into what employers care the most about. It’s common to think that disgruntled employees are more likely to commit such crimes but in most circumstances, it is the employees who are struggling economically. Below is a diagram that accurately depicts the fraud triangle, an idea that highlights the three pinnacles contributing to employee theft.

The Fraud Triangle


The types of theft committed by employees can include:

  • Stealing products: As straightforward as it comes, usually employees will swipe products from stockrooms by either not counting them correctly as they come in or hiding them in the trash.
  • Gift card theft: This can be difficult to detect and is becoming a more prevalent method of theft. Employees may provide customers with a blank card or they may issue false refunds and keep the loaded one for themselves.
  • Sweethearting: More common in department retail stores, sweethearting is where employees do not ring up their friends and family for their items.
  • Skimming: One of the most common types of theft in the workplace, skimming is diverting funds by either taking cash off the top of each cash register or miscounting it as it is being moved. Generally smaller non-noticeable amounts of cash is missing.

How can I prevent theft in my workplace?

Theft prevention starts at the beginning of your business journey. By being proactive about it you are less likely to experience theft within your workplace. There are a number of ways you can prevent employee theft, here are 3 simple ways you could start with:

1. Be involved

As a business owner or manager, one of the first ways you can prevent theft is to be involved in the sales process. If you are involved in the process there is less chance of there being any discrepancies or fraudulent transactions. It also gives you a good opportunity to learn more about your customers so you can improve their experience or expand your business.

2. Make the consequences clear from the get-go

As you onboard employees, make it clear that there are certain behavioural expectations they must adhere to and what the consequences are for not adhering to them. Presenting your incoming employees with your code of conduct and behavioural expectations at the beginning sets a precedent, as well as an internal checks and balances system should you not be involved in the sales process for any reason.

Additionally, regular review of these policies and internal training sessions on sensitive issues continues to remind employees that this is a safe environment and removes the likelihood of employee-based theft.

3. Show genuine interest in your employees

Happier employees are just better employees. When people feel valued at work they are less likely to commit a crime and consequently more likely to upsell or refer customers to your business.

Ways to make employees feel valued can include:

  • Better pay and a better environment to work in
  • Providing professional development and training opportunities
  • Offering promotions within before advertising externally
  • Setting aside time to recognise employee achievements such as 5 years at work or 100 sales made in a day
  • Offering bonuses after busy periods to recognise workers

Invest in Your POS Systems

The biggest way you can prevent theft in your workplace is to invest in a modern point-of-sale system.

Acumen POS systems are custom-built to match the needs of your business and have built-in POS security. POS Security allows businesses to set an employee hierarchy via user levels and can specify actions for each role (i.e. Manager can have a refund code).

Acumen also comes with over 200 standard reports that include daily inventory tracking, daily sales, employee sales and miscellaneous activity reports. These reports allow you to stay on top of all of your goods and services, track all sales and ensure high-performing employees are scheduled during busy periods. The miscellaneous report also provides you with insight into common miscellaneous transactions or inventory miscounts that have occurred so you can rectify the issue before it becomes a detriment to your business.

Interested in upgrading your POS System to prevent employee theft? Give us a call and we will happily set up a demo.