Finding yourself in the middle of a corporate investigation is always uncomfortable, especially as an employer. However, with employee theft now accounting for 6% of all crime committed against retailers in the UK it is quickly becoming an unavoidable issue. Whilst you may be eager to find out the truth, you must also be wary of going into an investigation unprepared as you may find yourself caught up in an intense legal battle soon after. There is a process of investigating a theft within your company and a way to conduct yourself with your employees. Here we have compiled some of the steps you will need to take during corporate investigation to ensure everything is legal and above board.
Naturally, when you are internally investigating your employees regarding a theft discretion is key. Although this can be a stressful period, it is important that you keep everything you are doing as part of this process a secret. Sounding the alarm too early may alert the thief and they may attempt to further cover their tracks. It can also often cause employees to feel isolated and paranoid, they may be worried they are under suspicion or worried that they are working with a thief. Unfortunately, these suspicions are not unfounded, as when surveyed, 2 in 3 UK office-based employees admitted to stealing from their workplace with 11% admitting to stealing from a colleague. There is always the temptation to jump to conclusions, but again, this is not the way to proceed, the consequences of an employer accusing the wrong person of theft could have big consequences legally – get the facts – use a private investigator.
You will often find that there are flaws in your internal processes and depending on the theft, whether that be money or stock you will want to investigate your weakest internal processes. This will help you to make a list of those who have had access to these areas during the time the misconduct occurred. In doing so, you can start narrowing down your list of suspects.
A study was conducted at the start of 2018 using 300 UK employers from 33 different industries and revealed that 40% of organisations do not carry out pre-employment checks. This step should be a priority for all employers to not only protect yourself and your employees but also your business, which is why investing in legitimate background checks is so important. There are many fake and cheap alternatives out there, but if you have chosen to hire a private investigator, they will be able to help you in this and point out anyone they think is a person of interest.
Change of Schedule
You may want to change up the schedule of those you suspect to see who reacts in what way to the changes. The thief may accidentally give themselves away if you make it harder for them to continue with their theft. Anyone who has any strong reactions to changes in access or timings may be someone you want to keep an eye on.
Documentation is key throughout this process, particularly if it comes to an employee taking any legal action against you. You will want to make sure everything you document has a time stamp so that you have complete clarity as to when everything happened. Keeping this organised will help you in the long term, particularly if the investigation does take a turn for the worse.
When you have eventually concluded your investigation, it is advisable that you begin to take a look at how this theft had happened and put measures in place to prevent this from happening again in the future.
Get in touch with Insight Investigations to discuss how the private investigators can help your business with corporate investigations.