In recent years, security and surveillance have improved tremendously as new technologies like artificial intelligence help to streamline systems. Multi-use security equipment, remote accessibility, and smart software have provided more effective means to secure workplaces. Still, there are a variety of factors that leave businesses, firms, and organizations vulnerable to criminal activity. Learning how to prevent theft in the workplace using today’s latest trends in technology is crucial to prevent damage, loss, and unsafe environments.
Employee Theft Trends
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) theft of non-cash property jumped from 10.6% in company fraud cases (2002) to 21% in 2018. Each year, businesses and organizations face real risks of theft that may carry lasting consequences. Potential global loss from fraud and employee theft is $2.9 trillion annually. It’s also estimated that around 33% of bankruptcies for businesses are linked to employee theft.
There are several different types of theft that can occur within a company or organization, which can include:
Theft of property
Theft of office supplies
Theft of corporate information
Theft of time
In the U.S. alone, employee theft accounts for 43% of inventory losses. Unfortunately, criminal activity continues to be a growing trend nationwide. Additionally, theft is not particular to any specific industry but rather can occur across a wide range. As new technology integrates with business, companies are working to evaluate how to prevent theft in the workplace.
How Does Employee Theft Occur?
The FBI reports that employee theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. In general, studies indicate that theft occurs most often with employees. In part, this may be due to easy internal access to products, records, and other valuable items. Even with strict screening procedures and vetting processes, ensuring security throughout an organization can be a challenge.
Motivations behind workplace theft vary and can include:
Life changes - facing trauma, dealing with the death of a loved one, or changes in living circumstances. These big changes can impact a person’s livelihood in drastic ways.
Opportunity - having access to the property, inventory, or cash flows may present an opportunity to employees. Those who may take advantage of their positions may begin with small amounts and progressively find motivation in habit-forming schemes.
Addiction - facing substance abuse issues can impact a person beyond physical and mental health. Compulsions can take precedence and motivate a person to feed a drug, gamble, or other types of addiction.
Work circumstances - in some cases, the issue may be something happening internally. Interpersonal relationships with other employees, supervisors, or customers may drive some to seek retribution or revenge.
Given the various reasons for criminal activity that occurs within the workplace, the solution is not as simple as implementing new or improved vetting systems. In some instances, even qualified candidates with clean background checks can shift focus toward more malicious behaviors.
Is Technology Helping to Protect Businesses from Loss?
We know that in-shop fraud plays a large role in hampering business success and involves both internal and external threats of varying kinds and severity. Knowing how to prevent theft in the workplace begins with understanding how technology is transforming security systems.
As technology advances, companies now have a plethora of options to more precisely determine how losses are occurring, while minimizing the disruption of workplace procedures. Both hardware (equipment, video surveillance, etc) and software innovations (artificial intelligence (AI), fraud detection, remote access control systems) can provide seamless solutions that address theft and other criminal activity within a company.
On the other hand, dated technology may not only hinder anti-theft policy, it may also negatively impact operations. Old technology systems include computers and security cripple operations in terms of increasing security risks, lack of customer confidence, lower productivity, and increased maintenance costs.
How to Prevent Theft in the Workplace
Given the various reasons for theft, it’s often difficult to determine how to prevent theft in the workplace. For starters, though, it’s ideal to take a proactive approach. Here are some ways in which prevention is key:
1. Promote a Positive Work Environment
Rewarding employees for their contributions is often one of the most effective ways of preventing internal losses. Strong team dynamics and management can ensure that trust is a factor in day-to-day operations. It also minimizes the chances of employees seeking retribution. Good policy should include regular check-ins with employees and managers to understand needs and requests that may arise periodically. Managers should do more to engage with team members and provide a safe space to speak openly about concerns and possible criminal activity that may go unnoticed.
2. Understand Reasons for Theft
Even with the best policies in place, preventing theft is not an easy task. If it’s occurring within an organization, it’s important to carefully examine how theft is occurring and take action in order to eliminate those specific vulnerabilities. For example, when it comes to financial responsibilities, it’s important to rotate personnel to ensure proper accountability. Even small theft can be harmful to a business and its employees.
3. Data Access & Access Control Technology
Data theft is becoming more commonplace and can result in a catastrophic loss for employees and organizations alike. Business and employee records or data should be safeguarded at all times.
Fortunately, with progressions in technology, securing sensitive data is much easier. Through cloud storage and data encryption, more advanced systems allow businesses to continue to operate successfully. All-in-one platforms that combine security and remote access to cloud services can help streamline the management of data from one centralized location. Other items to keep in mind:
Restrict data access to qualified personnel who have been vetted
Protect devices with strong passwords
Remove access for terminated employees
How Data Access Works
Data access, in specific, has transformed how businesses and industry organizations protect their most vital and needed assets and infrastructure.
For warehouses, oilfields, grow houses, and other secluded industry sectors, entry and exit points are the first line of defense. With access control technology features, companies can take a proactive approach to secure certain areas from public or general personnel. Only trusted employees can be granted access. Additionally, key codes and remote control management can streamline protective solutions. Access control also works in favor of data breeches and technical systems.
4. Strong Security Systems
New security systems combine machine learning, also known as A.I., with traditional means of monitoring and prevention of theft. Traditional security systems require heavy maintenance. Sifting through hours of footage can be costly. With advancing technologies and A.I., security systems can help identify malicious activity through behavioral and facial recognition. Additionally, systems like Twenty20 Solutions offer secure cloud drives and an integrated platform that allows visibility to the property along with access control and smart surveillance.
Through a real-time integrated web-based dashboard, store owners, managers, and organization leads can properly and effectively learn how to prevent theft in the workplace.
Twenty20 Solutions Security Systems
Through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based techniques, businesses and firms can much more easily manage security within a given workplace. Machine learning, in specific, uses particular algorithms that learn how to prevent theft in the workplace and minimize risks for potential losses. Our smart surveillance is capable of identifying patterns and sequences in imagery from thermal, infrared, and night vision equipment. Additionally, through these in place recognition systems, its smart features can alert proper personnel of security threats in real-time, making remote monitoring a breeze.
Companies and organizations will rely more heavily on AI and machine learning to prevent theft in the workplace.