How to Minimize Theft from Temporary Employees

Throughout Texas, small business owners fill short-term staffing gaps with temporary employees.  This is certainly common for businesses that see seasonal fluctuations in sales.

Many businesses suffer from employee theft. Hiring temporary workers poses a unique challenge when it comes to losses from internal theft.

The biggest thing a Texas business can do to prevent theft is properly vetting the temporary employees before hiring them.  Taking the time and putting in the effort to select the right candidates is very important when hiring a short-term employee.

Some Texas businesses will use an agency to hire a temporary staff.  This leaves the vetting process up to the agency. The business owner is left to take the agency’s word it has been done correctly.

Other businesses will do their own short-term hiring. Many are often lackadaisical in an attempt to simplify the hiring process.

It is incredibly easy for a thief to size up your operation to identify weaknesses that allow them to steal once they are an official employee.

Pre-employment background checks are the best way to combat theft from a temporary worker.

Investigating a potential employee’s past behavior is often a great indicator of what to expect from them in the future.  That’s why pre-employment background checks are so useful.

Pre-employment background screening checks allows you to confirm a potential employees’ job history to see if what they have put on their application is true.   Studies show that 10% of accomplishments and 20% of listed work histories on applications are false.

Performing background checks also lets you take a glimpse into their personal history to see if they have a history of legal troubles.

Here is a list of things a good pre-employment background check includes:

  • Criminal record searches
  • Sex offender registry search
  • Education verification
  • Employment history verification
  • Social security number trace
  • Driver’s license history
  • Global security watch list check
  • Credit report history

Drug testing may also be an option.  Especially if the position they are applying for has any potential hazards.  A short-term worker who comes to work high and causes damage to property or themselves can be a major liability.  Persons that use narcotics are also much more likely to steal if given the opportunity in order to support their habit.

Thorough pre-employment screenings are available for less than $100 and drug tests are typically under $70.  Both are relatively inexpensive ways to keep your business safe.

Here are some more valuable tips to prevent short-term employees from stealing from your business.

  • Disclose a clear and concise, zero-tolerance policy on employee theft to all new hires. Most people fear consequences.  Let every employee, both short and long-term, know that the company will prosecute any employee to the full extent of the law if they are caught stealing.
  • Build strong relationships with your temporary workers. Far too often businesses will overlook their temp employees.  They may even be treated as easily replaceable and not a valuable part of the team.  This is a huge mistake.  There was a study performed on 12,000 workers and it shows that the happier an employee is on the job, the less likely they are to commit fraudulent behavior.  Engage your short-term workers and make them feel valuable and part of the team.
  • It’s all about checks and balances. If there isn’t an easy opportunity to steal, then it is way less likely to happen.  Put a system in place where employees are responsible for each other and the tasks performed.  A perfect example is a secret recipe at a restaurant.  If different employees are each responsible for adding one ingredient, it is highly unlikely the entire recipe can be stolen. Similarly, you don’t want the same person in charge of accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, bank deposits and account reconciliations. That is embezzlement just waiting to happen.
  • Purchase security camera surveillance system. Surveillance cameras are proven to reduce employee theft and increase productivity. If a theft does occur, the recorded surveillance can be quite useful for criminal prosecution.  With the rapid advance in technology, video surveillance systems are a fraction of the cost even compared to just a few years ago.  If you are a local Texas business looking for an affordable camera surveillance package, contact us for details and we will be happy to show you affordable options for your business.
  • Allow employees to report theft anonymously. Most employees realize that employee theft impacts their income and job security. Most will be happy to report the illicit activities of others.  Set up a means for them to report theft anonymously and make employees aware of that procedure.

The bottom line is that you are more likely to become susceptible to employee theft when hiring short-term employees.  There is no magic bullet that solves this problem. By following these steps however, you’ll significantly reduce your risks.


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