It’s surprisingly rare that the cash in your tills adds up to exactly what it’s supposed to at the end of the day – with the hundreds or thousands of transactions that are processed through a cash register every day in a busy café or shop, it’s only normal that the odd coin or two get misplaced along the way.
However, it’s when the tills are consistently down that alarm bells should start ringing. It’s not even just money that you need to worry about – everything from the products you put on your shelves to the notepads and pens you store in your office files can mysteriously disappear if you don’t keep a close eye on them!
However, it’s important that you’re certain a theft has definitely occurred before you confront the employee in question, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for potential lawsuits should your instincts have been proven wrong.
Here are my top 5 tips on working out if your employees are really stealing from you…
If you have a retail outlet, chances are you have CCTV to ensure customers aren’t pocketing goods. Do you have a camera watching your employees though?
It’s a good idea to install a CCTV camera with a good view of what’s happening behind the counter at the tills, so you can keep an eye out for any dishonest behaviour and make sure no hands go into pockets before that till drawer is shut!
Keep a Record
Perhaps you have numerous employees, or maybe you’re even an area manager in charge of several retail outlets. It can be difficult to keep track of whose till never adds up correctly, so it’s a good idea to maintain a close record.
For example, ask supervisors or whoever checks the tills to make a note every time a till is more than £1 out from what it should be. Over time, you might start to notice patterns like one employee’s till that’s always £2 short – small enough to go unnoticed without your record book!
Check Stock Takes
A stock take should be done at least once a week; normally the idea behind this is to find out how much has been stolen by customers but again, over time you may start to notice a pattern such as that certain items are always less than they should be on a certain person’s shift!
Spot Tip Checks
In a busy, dark bar environment it can be easy for employees to pour a drink and never put the money into the cash register at the other end of the bar.
If you suspect theft, do random ‘tip checks’ where you ask employees to empty their pockets and count their tips in front of you. Compare this to the cash register takings so far – tips that are around 5-20% of this amount are normal, but tips of 30, 40 or even 50% suggest possible theft.
Install Monitoring Software
Last but not least, it’s not just money or goods that employees may be stealing – what about time? If you’re paying them to do a job and they’re taking your money but playing Minesweeper or chatting to friends on Facebook instead, this could be classed as theft.
You can install software to monitor what employees are doing, but be sure to disclose this in your policies to avoid possible lawsuits for privacy infringements. An alternative is to simply block access to social networking sites from office computers.
You could also monitor when employees arrive and leave the building, to make sure they’re working as many hours as they’re being paid for. Sites such as IDPro sell ID card printers that let you track when each employee comes and goes.
Ever caught an employee stealing from you? What did you do?