Stealing is stealing. And stealing is costly

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Stealing from Work

“Many employees have said “A few pens here, a notepad or two there, a stapler, a ruler, a stamp – who would ever miss these little items should they disappear from the workplace? Pencils, paperclips, and paper – they seem abundant and ready for the taking, right?” Well the truth is, no matter how a person rationalizes it, stealing is stealing. And stealing is costly.”

This excerpt was taken from an email from the Dominica Employers Federation (DEF) who advertised a day Management Development Programme on the topic; “reducing the incidence of theft & pilferage in the private sector and national enterprises”. It would be interesting to know how many people signed up for this.

Interestingly this is a daily routine for many workers at various organizations as they believe that the business place has money so they will not miss what is taken away. Stealing items, no matter how small from your workplace casts a very bad shadow on you as an employee if you are caught and devalues your worth to the office/organization. Your employer and colleagues now look at you as a “thief” and you then become very uncomfortable in your work environment. But was that the fault of the one who may have snitched on you or the person who caught you, or was it just you acting inappropriately? Had you not been caught, have you envisaged the value of how much you would have cost the organization in the long run? Stealing from the workplace will continue to cost companies millions of dollars which will never be recovered.

Though many may say they have never stolen a dime from their workplace, it is important to know that stealing comes in many different forms. The extended hours staff remain in office to complete tasks that could have been done during regular hours but was not done because they were totally distracted either doing task totally unrelated to work, like surfing the web, tweeting personal matters or just plain out visiting desk to desk engaging in “small talk”. Another aspect of dishonesty comes to play when placing orders for an office/company that is truly not intended for office purposes, or taking out “what’s mine” when the order arrives. Let’s just face it, this is totally unacceptable; however, it is an everyday matter and employers can avoid a climate of suspicion by being clear about what is not acceptable. Creating the right code of conduct is not enough. This code must be communicated clearly to all employees and upheld consistently making people accountable with the appropriate checks and balances.

The subject of stealing can be a sensitive one; however, it is very important that it is brought to the fore to remind many who just think its ok to take away items that do not belong to them. This is something all businesses have to face up to “the inside job” as they call it. It is believed that it’s the nature of the working relationship that can provoke some employees to take advantage, particularly through deception.

Having said this, we understand that employees can feel detached about many things and may be tempted to find their own compensations but stealing from the hands that feed you is an ultimate no no! Just imagine that you are caught and sent home, wasn’t the salary no matter how big or small worth heading off for daily? Now you are left empty, with no salary and a possible bad track record.

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