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Theft Lies and Lying Policies and Procedures

We have a growing problem of petty theft in many areas of the company. No major items have been stolen, but a lot of smaller items are going out the back door. What suggestions can you offer?

If you have a lot of smaller items going out the back door, one day you are going to find that the back door has been stolen. It sounds like there is a climate of theft in the company, and there is a good deal of managerial hand-wringing going on, but not much else. Importantly, the key way to stop such theft starts with managerial action.

At the outset, even the term, "petty theft," needs a second look. Since "petty" literally means trivial or of minimal importance, it is almost as if management is saying that such theft is not a big deal. The fact of the matter is that your employees need to know that any theft is a big deal.

In a word, management needs to implement a full campaign to deal with the theft issue. There is nothing difficult or magical about such a program. The idea is to let the employees know that management is serious about stopping theft and will take grave action to deal with any employees who are caught stealing. Management should also provide continuous communication, updates, and feedback in this area.

As the employees hear and see that management does not regard this matter as petty, behaviors can change fairly quickly, especially if a slap on the wrist is replaced with handcuffs.

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