employee theft

When you’re at the helm of an enterprise in motion, it might not seem that a missing stapler could derail you, but what if this tiny example of employee theft is just the tip of the iceberg? In truth, a steady drift of office supplies should be seen as stark waves of warning—because they are a measurable metric for the health of your corporate culture. 

Yes, someone raiding the supply closet might not seem like a serious form of employee theft, but don’t be fooled. When culture in the workplace begins to erode, it often marks a beginning of a steady slide into more troubled waters ahead. If you want to avoid future woes such as inventory losses, malingering, embezzlement, and fraud, then this article is for you. Let’s look at the facts.

Why Small-Scale Employee Theft Requires a Serious Response

While its true that missing office supplies can be the handiwork of a single trouble-making employee who slipped through the net of your recruitment screening process, it is important to ask yourself: might it suggest that there is a problem with your wider organizational culture?

Perhaps you’re a whiz at spotting employees engaged in the act of petty theft—you might even enjoy apprehending them. However, if you’ve come to expect their presence and encounter them frequently, then you are accustomed to an unnecessary reality. In fact, not only is it unnecessary, but you also have to wonder, what is the accumulated value of all of those drifting supplies? What if employees comfortable with stealing are finding other ways to rob you of your assets? Perhaps most poignantly, what will this be doing to the morale of your honest employees—are you losing high-caliber talent because your company culture has soured?

Fixing Corporate Culture to Eliminate Employee Theft

Sure, some people feel entitled to steal from the get-go, but in many cases, this behavior didn’t manifest in a vacuum. Employees who feel disgruntled in one way or another can often slide into feeling that the company owes them recompense. This might be due to poor leadership attitudes, an unhealthy cliquey environment, being overlooked too many times for advancement without understanding why, or feeling stressed and overstretched by unrealistic expectations and a lack of work-life balance—to name but a few examples.

Making matters more complicated, as soon as a company grows beyond a small team, it becomes increasingly challenging for the central leadership team to keep tabs on culture as it evolves. At times, it is the most trusted and long-serving managers who are unwittingly dropping spanners between the gears, while at others, a bad hire can become a bad apple that rots much of the barrel before being identified. This is exactly why those little office supply losses should be viewed as a canary in the coal mine. 

If you’re lucky, then company culture breakdown is in its earliest stages and you can course-correct immediately. If you are less fortunate, you’ll at least be able to uncover serious problems and stop financial losses before they get any worse. In either case, a Corporate Culture Audit is an excellent place to start. 

We Can Help

This savvy service from Lauth Investigations International will afford you a birds-eye view of your organization’s inner workings. Once armed with the facts, you can explore following our guidance on how to enhance the health of your corporate culture, launch fully supported investigations into any employee misconduct discovered, and eliminate any procedural vulnerabilities to minimize future risk. Are you ready to learn more? Then connect with our corporate investigations team today and lets get those office supplies back where they belong.