In tough times or not, your employees have the keys to your kingdom. Are they on the straight and narrow, protecting everything you’ve worked to build or finding ways to put extra money in their own pocket?
I’ve done interviews with many Certified Fraud Examiners. And they all say the same thing. Here are 3 strategies to make sure your team is your biggest asset in fraud prevention.
1. Culture is King. Do you have a family environment or do you treat people like a number? When people feel marginalized it’s much easier for them to rationalize poor behavior. You’ve got to know your people. Take the time to know what’s going on in their lives. Above all, people want to be heard and feel like their employer cares about them. Do you know whose kid is sick? Do you know whose daughter is getting married? Secondarily, people want the ideas about how to make your business better heard and acted on. One company I worked with had a suggestion box that employees regularly dropped ideas into. But nobody had the key! Window dressing won’t do it. Lastly there’s no substitute for communication. When people sense uncertainty from you in these times, they may go into a fearful place quickly. Fearful people can justify bad behavior very easily. While some info is confidential or sensitive, know that when people don’t have the full story they’ll fill in the gaps with their own theories. So communicate as much as possible as often as you can. These are a few examples of how to build loyalty. And loyal employees don’t steal.
2. Systems. Are your systems giving employees the open door to steal from you? Surprise audits for process are key. If you audit every year in October, people will catch on and be able to cover their tracks. Do you know if all of your processes are being followed now that more people are working from home? Were they followed in the office anyway? Simple things like not enforcing dual controls or mandatory vacation leave you exposed and vulnerable to losing thousands.
3. Interviewing for Integrity. Picking the right staff is key. Most of the time we unconsciously chose people who we want to hang out with. This might not be the right person to keep your assets safe. Asking pointed questions about when they’ve misused company funds or if they’ve ever helped someone take assets from a former employer are unexpected. These types of questions can be very revealing and typically easy to spot deception when you know how to read their body language. They can also bring truth and remorse to the forefront. When you’d like to sharpen your skills in this area, you’ll want my Fraud Spotting online class. If as little as 5 minutes per day you’ll be up to speed and give yourself the tools to find the truth and hire the right person.