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If you’re a founder or CEO, you’ll know the sheer volume of hard work that goes into getting a business off the ground. The days spent honing your offer, grinding out the finer details and getting just the right people on board. The last thing you’d want to consider is that those same people might be stealing from your business, from you.


But every single business is at risk, from the Silicon Valley tech conglomerate to the local steel factory and every business in between, even banks.

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Businesses Think Themselves Infallible To The Dangers Of Dishonest Employees

Why Even Your Business Is At Risk

If you’re a founder or CEO, you’ll know the sheer volume of hard work that goes into getting a business off the ground. The days spent honing your offer, grinding out the finer details and getting just the right people on board. The last thing you’d want to consider is that those same people might be stealing from your business, from you.

But every single business is at risk, from the Silicon Valley tech conglomerate to the local steel factory and every business in between, even banks.

And yet so many high level managers believe themselves infallible. After all, they’ve had the same team for years, used the same reliable systems for years and done the same things, the same way for years. And that’s exactly why they’re vulnerable. That and a head-in-the-sand approach to long-term security.

Statistically, it’s small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are most at risk. While larger firms are more likely to have systemised security, it’s the smaller operations that rely more on the honesty of their staff to prevent any major disasters. And by disasters we mean, of course, theft and fraud. This might look like the planned stealing of physical goods from a warehouse or hardware from an office. It might also be a soon-to-be ex-employee downloading confidential customer details in order to use them in their next role. Theft and fraud can be as subtle as creating a false account or as blatant as forklifting a bunch of car components from a warehouse.

And it could easily be your business.

What Turns an Honest Employee Into a Thief?

Take a look back at any court case involving employee dishonesty and you’ll find one thing in common: every single person caught in the act has a reason for stealing.

A sense of entitlement, wanting the more expensive things in life like better cars and holidays or funding luxury holidays; the excuses are endless. Whether they sound credible or not to you matters very little, once the perpetrator has convinced themselves of their need, the potential to commit fraud is significantly higher.

But rationalisation is only one side of the Fraud Triangle.

Let’s explore two further sides that create the perfect storm for employee dishonesty:

Opportunity

Remember earlier we talked about why you’ve used the same systems and the same technology for so long? Because it works, right? The smooth running of your business is a priority, having your team file and pay invoices works, giving teams all-access to data works and those security cameras you have in the warehouse? Well, they kind of work.

A dishonest employee is very often someone who simply spots an opportunity. An accounting system that’s a bit clunky, the ease of downloading confidential data onto a thumb drive, or how easy it is to override security doors at your storage facilities.

Pair that up with a rational excuse for why they should steal from your business and it’s a powerful driving force. All that’s missing is the third spoke to the wheel:

Motivation

Or sometimes referred to as pressure. Knowing you could steal, and justifying why you should just needs one final push.

Maybe it’s a partner at home who wants to set up a business of their own but needs help getting off the ground. They encourage the employee to skim a bit off the surface and reward them with their time and attention.

Maybe an addiction has got out of hand and fear of getting caught out pushes an otherwise honest employee down the wrong path in order to clear a catalogue of debt.

Maybe it’s quite simply: greed. A desire for more and more. Nine times out of ten this is the reason, financial remuneration to fund a lavish and materialistic lifestyle. To furnish your house with the very best furniture, the greatest art or even rare Star Wars collectibles.

How Safe Is Your Business?

Get in touch for a complete safety audit:

How You Can Protect Your Business

An Expert’s Top Five Takeaways

  1. Face up to reality: no-one wants to think the worse of employees or colleagues but time and time again, ignoring potential risks leads to businesses losing thousands of pounds and potentially much more. When your customers know you’re a security risk, it’s your reputation that can also take a hit and take months to recover from. We all want to know our data is kept safe and not shared, a breach is costly both financially and reputationally.
  1. Understand your weaknesses: also known as a gap analysis and security review, these will help you uncover policies and procedures in your business that leave you in a vulnerable position. This might be how your data is stored or it might be a physical threat, such as a door coded security system that doesn’t work. It might even be where you store your keys and staff passes. Knowledge is power and the basis of any meaningful change.
  1. Call in the experts: recognising you have a problem is a great first step, but then you need to know how you can rectify it. There are plenty of things you can do to help yourself but for more complex cases, you’ll need expert advice and an action plan. In a highly unregulated industry, do your due diligence and make sure the company you get in are reputable, insured and experienced.
  1. Get fully trained: once you’ve shored up those gaps, you need to make sure they don’t re-open later down the line. Learn how to spot vulnerabilities across your business and how to deal with them quickly and effectively.
  1. Don’t be afraid to start an investigation: if you believe there has been fraud or theft in your business, call in an investigation team. Professional investigators have the power and skillset to carry out covert investigations discretely and quickly. They will gather evidence, help you recover stolen assets and gather evidence that can be used in a prosecution.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Detect a Dishonest Employee

Find out how you can spot the potential for theft in your organisation here.

Are Undercover Investigations Illegal?

What powers do private investigators have? Find out here.

What Makes a Good Investigator?

How do you know you’re not hiring a cowboy? Find out how to avoid the cowboys here.

Now you know the potential danger to your business. It’s time to act. Book a consulation today: