The point of having company policies is to make sure that employees understand how they should and should not behave in the workplace. By asking employees follow these policies, employers can guarantee that their business is one that maintains order, as well as ensure that employees understand what needs to be done in order to achieve success in the company.
Each policy has to be specific so that employees will gain the right information. In this article, we will discuss theft policies and how you can create one for your business.
Theft Policy Template
Theft Policy Sample
How to create an employee theft policy
Employee theft is always going to be a concern in any software company. While a lot of employers would like to believe that all of their employees are trustworthy, you will never know if your people really are ones that you can fully trust.
This is why there are employee theft policies to remind employees of the specific definitions of the violations and the consequences that will be met should an employee decide to commit the act of theft. Although it is impossible to permanently stop the idea of theft in your company, you can at least guarantee that general employees will be dissuaded of the thought should they learn about the possible consequences. You may also see security policy templates
So, here are the steps that should help you create an effective theft policy for your business:
1. Create a theft policy that prevents business losses
We have to first understand the importance of why you have to outline an in-depth policy that all of your employees will have to follow. Many businesses (especially small ones) make the mistake of providing only a little explanation of their theft policy to their employees. The reason for this is because they think that the written policy in the employee handbook is enough for the employees, even though it actually fails to emphasize that any employee who is caught committing an act of theft will be met with serious charges.
Basically, what you want to do is to outline in full detail how your employees should follow your company’s theft policy. By doing this, you can ensure that employees will have no excuse for misunderstandings if they ever violate this particular business policy.
2. Provide a clear scope of who this policy effects
You have to communicate with your employees that this particular policy affects everyone within the workplace. This includes their immediate supervisor, upper management, and human resources. If you are going to come up with a specific list, then you have to include all professional positions of employment such as temporary staff, interns, contractors, and even student employees. By showing that nobody is exempt from the policy, employees will understand just how serious it is.
3. Communicate the company’s commitment to investigating all reported or suspected violations
Detail the principles of your company and how you expect employees to act according to these principles in this section. Make sure that your employees understand that the point of this simple policy is to protect both them and the entire business.
You can also institute an open door environment wherein any of your employees can easily share information about people that they suspect have committed a violation against this policy without for of being exposed or reprimanded. Let your employees know that they are free to share at any point in time about any event that they spot anyone committing acts of theft within the workplace. You can also state in the policy that an employee who fails to report known violations is a violation in itself. The reason that you have to do this is so that every employee knows that they have a duty to tell you should there be any offenses. You may also like Quality Policy Templates
4. Outline the responsibilities of management
If you want to make sure that no violations will occur, then you have to ensure that those in management who are in charge of upholding this policy understand what needs to be done when an employee violates the policy.
An effective employee theft policy will give the details on how managers are expected to provide the following or similar expectations:
- Proper employee training on the specific risks of policy violations and theft awareness
- Making sure that any changes in procedures do not allow opportunities for employees to violate the policy
- Reporting any suspicions of theft or any fraudulent acts within the workplace
- Maintaining procedures that protect employees from theft in the workplace
5. Define the procedural responses should an employee violate the theft policy
This is the section that will allow your employees to understand the procedures that will be taken should anyone within the company be caught in the act of theft or any other similar act. Usually, since just about every case is going to be different, it would be best to include a general statement that the kind of action that will be taken against the offender will depend on the severity of the issue.
The three vital statements that need to be included in this section are the following:
- Disciplinary actions will range from verbal warnings all the way to immediate employee termination
- Possible litigation may be filed against the offender
- Restitution of funds or assets will be sought by the employer
You must also include a simple statement that any employee who is caught creating false reports against an individual will be met with consequences according to the procedures that are laid out in the employee theft policy. This way, no employee may falsely accuse another and it will help ensure honesty within the workplace.
6. Definitions or examples of theft or fraud violations
Defining each key term (such as “theft” and “fraud”) will protect your company from any cracks or holes in the language and will ensure that any employee who claims that they have misunderstood the general policy cannot say such in court. It is a very good idea for you to list down examples of what your company considers acts of theft within the workplace. The more specific your examples are, the more effective your employee theft policy will be at communicating expectations to employees. You may also see training policy templates
Steps on dealing with employee theft
One of the hardest things to handle in a general company is an employee who has been suspected of stealing. The following guidelines can help you make wiser and more informed decisions about how to handle employee theft:
1. Catalogue everything
If you would like to terminate an employee who has committed an offense of theft, then you are going to need the proper documentation that will allow you to do so. Every piece of evidence that you have acquired has to be catalogued. This includes physical evidence, witness statements, camera footage, financial documents, and much more. Remember to document every incident along with the date and time. Doing so will ensure that you have all the proof you need to use against the offender and that you will be able to find the incriminating evidence that will contribute to the decision that you have made.
2. Evaluate the situation
If you have indeed caught an employee in the act of theft, then you have to ask yourself the following questions: Was this theft intentional, or out of pure malice? What is the appropriate disciplinary action for the severity of the offense? Does the offender have a history of stealing even before he or she started working for your company? Do you think that this employee will steal again in the near future? Having the answers to these questions will help you see if the employee’s offense is worth a warning or if it merits something as extreme as immediate employee termination.
3. Should you call the police?
See if the theft is serious enough that it requires the police to get involved. It may be really useful to acquire a police report for additional documentation, and it can be used as ample evidence whenever you have to give testimony should the problem ever be brought up in court. However, doing so can have some drawbacks. There is a chance that you may erode the trust between you and your employees, and you may lose control of the situation by unwittingly putting the police in charge of what happens to your employee.
So, you have to come up with the decision whether or not you should let the police handle the problem. If you think that it is a minor incident and you can easily handle it, then there is no need for the police. But if you think that you do not have the necessary tools for general investigation or the knowledge of how to resolve the problem, then you should really consider having the police take care of the problem for you. You may also like IT Policy Templates
4. Supervise the employee closely
A common behavioral trend of most employees who steal company property is to stop their criminal activity for several weeks or months before returning back to steal more from the company. They wait this long to ensure that their employer has relaxed and has stopped searching for anyone who may be a potential thief. If you have come up with the decision to simply terminate the employee, then you have to supervise every action the employee makes before he or she leaves.
If you just allow the employee to do whatever he or she wants before leaving, such as allowing the employee to bring company IDs or keys back home, then you are setting your business up for serious problems in the future. So, take all of the necessary precautions that will ensure the security and safety of your business. Take all of the company property that is in the employee’s possession and change his or her company passwords or keypad codes. You may also see overtime policy templates
5. Prevent this from happening again
If you have caught an employee in the act, then make sure that everyone is aware of it. It is best that you update your theft policy, especially if the employee has committed an act of theft that has never been done before. Also, you should do background checks on any applicants that wish to acquire a position in your business so that you can find out if he or she has any past criminal records. This ensures that you do not hire anyone that could be a potential threat to you, your employees, and company property.