Few things have more power to stifle entrepreneurial innovation and creativity than having to deal with employee dishonesty.
One of the most damaging things that can happen to a company is for an employee to commit a dishonest act, whether it’s stealing from the company or a customer, deliberately lying or doing something else that isn’t honest.
The losses from employee dishonesty go beyond economic. When you’re an entrepreneur with a small operation, you are often close to your employees. Because you depend on them to help you grow your business, any betrayal of trust is emotionally devastating.
Here are five ways you protect your company from dishonest conduct by employees:
- Admit that it could happen. You may think you know your people, but how often have you seen news reports where someone was arrested and friends and family members expressed shock and disbelief? The reality is, we don’t always know people as well as we think we do. Also, circumstances can cause people to do things that are out of character. Remember that good people will sometimes do bad things. Admitting that employee dishonesty could happen is not saying that you don’t trust your employees; it’s simply recognizing that these things happen and your organization is not immune.
- Screen your employees thoroughly. Conduct comprehensive background checks along with whole-person assessments so you have a thorough understanding of the character of the people you hire. Do this even when you’re small, even when you’re hiring people you know.
- Know your legal responsibilities. Consult with an attorney to be sure you understand exactly what you are and are not liable for when it comes to employee conduct. For example, if one employee steals something out of another employee’s locker, are you responsible for the loss? If an employee steals from a customer, are you legally liable to make restitution? Find out those answers before you need to know them.
- Have the right insurance in place. Talk to your insurance agent about the different types of insurance that can cover you for crimes committed by employees. Be sure you are adequately covered but not over-insured.
- Put procedures and controls in place to make it difficult for dishonesty to occur. These will vary tremendously depending on your type of business, but they can often be implemented easily and affordably. Make it clear to your employees that you don’t suspect them of any wrongdoing, but you are simply establishing systems that protect them as well as the company.
Get more information to protect your business in Protecting Your Business: How to Keep Your Company Safe from External and Internal Risks and Threats (Faith Works Business Results Series).
She is the author of Words to Work By: 31 devotions for the workplace based on the Book of Proverbs and Finding Joy in the Morning: You can make it through the night. She is also the co-creator of several coloring books for adults.