No one likes to think that their own employees would steal from them. External theft is typically the bigger threat, but the sad fact is that 75 percent of employees are estimated to have stolen from their employer at least once, and more than half of those are repeat offenders, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

The following measures can help you guard against being fleeced by your own employees:

  • When hiring, always perform background checks on perspective employees.
  • Enforce a drug-free workplace with a drug testing policy.
  • Make sure employees know there is a zero tolerance policy for theft and they will be prosecuted.
  • Keep an accurate inventory and check it frequently.
  • Make crew leaders responsible for their equipment on their trailers.
  • Encourage your employees to mark any of their own personal tools used on a job site to prevent accidental mix-ups.
  • Limit the number of employees who have keys to equipment lockers and data.
  • Talk to your IT people to see if they can install fraud prevention safeguards on your inventory programs.
  • Make sure your managers and supervisors are aware of the prevalence of employee theft and are equipped to deal with it.
  • Finally, when a theft is discovered, don’t assume it’s an outside job. As landscape business owner Ben Deceuster can attest, reporting missing equipment can sometimes be a ruse. “I check the site of the crew reporting the theft,” he says. “I once found the equipment hidden behind some shrubs. I divided up the crew because it was most likely them that put it there to pick up later. More of a lucky catch.”