constant communication with our associates. We regularly ask probing questions, such as how they feel about compensation and their quality of life. By showing care and interest, we build trust. It keeps us aware of what’s going on in the lives of our associates, and hopefully makes them less likely to keep their hardships a secret, or to see themselves as a victim. What You Can Do Today As clients, we were extremely disheartened that an associate of a known and trusted service provider chose to steal from us. As business owners, we’d be mortified if one of our employees similarly violated a clients’ trust. But, we also understand the challenge that our service provider and other business owners, such as yourself, face in tackling this issue. Ask yourself, are you managing the risk of your employees stealing from you or from your clients? Have you even thought about it? If you haven’t, here are three actions you can take to start this process: 1. Have a deep conversation with each of your employees. Start with one employee today, and another tomorrow. Keep going until you’ve spoken to everyone, and then repeat. Demonstrate your attention and care not only for what they do, but also for who and how they are. Ask if they are enjoying their employment, if they feel like there are being
treated and compensated fairly, and if they’re facing any pressures at work or in life that are overwhelming. 2. Think through your entire workflow. If you were an employee working for you, what opportunities would you have to steal? Go step by step, identify areas of risk, and put processes in place to manage or eliminate those risks. 3. This one is tough, but if you can be honest about it, it will be invaluable. After you’ve identified opportunities to steal, ask yourself what rationalizations or justifications you might make for that theft if you were an employee? Figure out what disgruntlement underlies that rationalization and address it. There are plenty of other things to consider. How do you heal the relationship with your client if a theft does occur? How do you guard against theft without making employees feel distrusted? These are relevant and valuable questions, but I firmly believe that addressing the motivation, opportunity, and justification of employee theft will help you find solutions suited to your business.
It’s just a customer, a contactor, some refrigerant. It’s not theft