Fraud and corruption are things that all entrepreneurs have to face. With the variety of fraudulent activities and corrupt practices available for people to abuse, it’s hard to keep an eye out for such in the workplace. With 30% of small businesses falling prey to fraud each year, it is a problem, it continually proves to be a costly problem for organizations in every industry.
While most employees can be trusted and are loyal to the company, chances are, there are some employees who will commit one form of fraud or corruption one way or another.
Here are 5 ways on how to avoid fraud and corruption in the workplace:
1. Be observant.
A lot can be uncovered by an observant entrepreneur. It’s always a good idea to be trusting of your employees, especially those who hold critical positions in the company, but being observant is an entrepreneur’s duty. Have you noticed some notable changes in your employee’s actuation or workplace habits? Does he never take a vacation, insisting to always be around the office especially late in the evening? Has he been misplacing files? Or has he been showering too much attention to a certain client of yours?
When you see something out of the ordinary or if something seems fishy, don’t hesitate to check things out and do an investigation. You might already be losing thousands of dollars.
2. Set up a fraud or corruption reporting process for your employees.
All your employees should have a safe, secure and anonymous venue to report any wrongdoing that they notice or are aware of in the workplace. You can set up a fraud hotline or a special email address dedicated to sending reports pertaining to illicit behavior. Having this system in place will deter any employees from attempting to commit such acts.
Such tips are helpful in nipping fraud and corrupt practices in the bud. Regularly educate your employees on possible signs of theft or fraud in the workplace by sending out reminders via emails, or via short refresher courses periodically.
3. Use technology wisely.
Security cameras inside the office have proven to be effective in warding off and catching fraudsters and corrupt employees in action. You may also consider using productivity software that takes screenshots of your employees’ computers (integrated with a time tracking feature) such as hubstaff or screenmeter so you could check if there are any workplace crimes occurring.
4. Seek professional assistance.
If you’re looking into creating a more solid policy and procedure pertaining to fraud and corruption in your organization, enlisting the help of certified professionals such as Certified Fraud Examiners and Certified Public Accountants will be beneficial. Aside from helping you develop documentation, you can also consult with these professionals to get your company audited and analyzed properly, seeing weak points in your current processes.
5. Create a fraud and corruption-free culture
By making sure that all of your employees understand just how important it is to respect your company’s fraud and corruption-free code of conduct. For it to be truly effective, it must be the norm — or part of the company’s culture. From orientation to employee trainings, and even email communications, this code of conduct should be regularly reinforced upon employees.
The rules can be as varied as you deem fit for your organization. Whether it is not allowing employees to take office equipment or supplies home for their personal use, or not accepting gifts of any sort from customers or vendors, create a code of conduct that works best for your organization — one that everyone should be able to do — meaning employees and employers alike. Employees are more likely to follow and respect the code of conduct if they are witnesses to how the employers themselves follow the rules.
Make sure that the rules and the corresponding effects are outlined clearly and are written on the employee handbook. It’s a good idea to require your employees to sign an acknowledgment form indicating that they have read, understood, and agree to follow the company’s rules and regulations pertaining to fraud and corruption.