“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Employee theft can have a significant negative impact on a business. It’s not enough to run background checks during the hiring process. Managers and business owners must always be on the lookout for employee theft. It can happen to any business, and it can be difficult to catch the employee in many cases. So the question is, why do employees steal?

There are three common factors that tend to be present in cases of employee theft.


Top 5 Reasons Employees Steal

Employees might steal for one or more than one of the reasons listed below.

1. The employee feels they’ve been treated unfairly. When employees feel as if they’ve been treated unfairly, the unspoken expectation of fairness and equality breaks down between them and the company or management. Employees who perceive they’ve been treated unfairly are more likely to steal.

2. The employee has a conflict with the manager or supervisor. When an employee endures conflict with a manager or supervisor, they sometimes look for opportunities to sabotage that supervisor in the eyes of the company. One way to damage a manager’s performance record is when theft happens on their watch.

3. The employee was denied a transfer or promotion. When denied a transfer or promotion the employee feels they have earned, they are more likely to become apathetic and lose interest in their role with the company. Employees who no longer care are more likely to commit theft. In these cases, they might even feel as if the theft compensates them for what they were denied.

4. Others are doing it. When an employee sees other staff commit theft and get away with it, they are more likely to follow suit and began to steal as well. They are simply copying the behaviors of their co-workers.

5. There is opportunity to steal. Issues such as poor stock control, unrestricted access to stock and lack of security could tempt anyone with an opportunistic nature to steal.

Why do employees steal? These five reasons should give some insight into why employees steal and the factors that make employee theft more likely. If any of your employees meet these criteria, it’s important to watch them closely and try to mitigate any issues such as conflicts, perception of unfair treatment and opportunities to steal. Every business deals with employee theft but understanding why it happens can help you prevent it.