No matter what the reason for the theft, they are still stealing from YOU. There is one major statistic that startled me more than any of the others I read. The percentage of dentists that encounter employee embezzlement and do not report it is estimated to be as high as 30%.
Stop being a nice guy! If they are stealing from you, they will steal from someone else as well. You need to report employee thefts.
There are so many scary statistics out there I could go on about just them all day. But let’s get to the heart of the matter, how do you deter theft and what are the signs you need to be aware of.
First, is the matter of deterring theft. This one is a little trickier. A lot of experts actually say there is not much you can do to deter it.
There is always checks and balances systems you can put in place but a good thief will find a way around them.
Harris also reminds us to remember Bernie Madoff:
“He is arguably one of the most successful fraudsters ever. He was interviewed extensively by New York Times reporter Diana Henriques. Her comment about deterrence sums up deterrence:
“The most important lesson that the Madoff case teaches anti-fraud professionals is that no deterrence program, however elaborate, will work if it can be switched off for the people we trust most.”
Madoff got away with his scheme so well simply because people trusted him.
Secondly, early detection is the key to handling office embezzlement so you don’t end up in a situation like this.
Harris has numerous ways he catches embezzlers. Here is a short list of his of some of the easiest signs you should be looking for.
“Length of service” – A large majority of employees that embezzle are long time employees of eight years or more. The ones you trust the most.
“Excess intelligence” – these people are typically far smarter than they need to be to perform their jobs.
“Territorial” – They jealously guard their responsibilities and refuse to delegate or cross-train.
“Take charge” – They like to be in control. They readily accept extra workloads and responsibilities. They usually display a strong work ethic, rarely miss time, and regularly stay late or arrive early.
“Bullies” – They bully other staff member.
“Buffers” – They often attempt to cut off communication between the dentist and patients.
From my own personal experiences I would recommend a couple things as well. Make sure you have a system in place to hire good people, do a BACKGROUND CHECK, and put monitoring programs in place even for employees that have been with you a long time.
I know the experts say there is not much you can do to deter employee theft, but you should at least try.