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04 October 2016
Written by Chloe Beevers
Our research from May this year found that employee theft potentially costs British businesses more than £190 million annually. This came from our survey, which found that more than two-thirds of office workers - 67% - admit to stealing in the office.
If we consider that, according to the Office of National Statistics, as many as 22.74 million workers are employed in an office then - using our stats - more than 15 million steal from the workplace.
With an average theft value of £12.50, we’re able to estimate the cost for UK businesses at £190 million. Not only this, but almost three-quarters of these people have never been caught stealing, and of those that had more than half got away without a penalty or disciplinary with just 13% losing their job as a result. To some it might seem irrelevant when a few things go missing - post-it notes, toilet paper, a few pens or folders - but, as we can see, this does all add up to a substantial amount.
There are a number of reasons for stealing but frequently it’s due to the fact that stealing is so easy - in fact, 26% of people who steal do it because they think the company won’t notice. More worryingly, is that 11% of things stolen are from colleagues - often due to arguments or jealousy. As mentioned before, 51% of those who steal also got away with it without any punishment. Perhaps it’s time employers took a stronger stance on the issue.
When staff begin to steal, it becomes a regular occurrence, with 66% stealing in the office at least one or twice a month. So, how can we reduce stationary theft?
The key to begin with is finding tangible evidence of who committed the theft. CCTV and computer records can work in some detection but for stationary theft, finding hard evidence can be tricky. Sometimes you might see a change in employee persona. Of course, this can’t be used as evidence so it’s likely that legal advice should be sought in the first instance. It is a sensitive subject but cautious interviews/meetings could be an option - alternatively, keep an eye on the situation - and stock take - to see how it develops.
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