- Many corporate security experts estimate that 25% to 40% of all employees steal from their employers.
- U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) estimates that employee theft of cash, property, and merchandise may cost American businesses as much as $50 billion on an annual basis.
History of Dishonest Behavior
Individuals who engage in dishonest behavior have done it before. There is typically a history of such behavior beginning in childhood and escalating into adulthood. Gather information about past work history including things like reasons for leaving past jobs. Background checks and reference checks can also be helpful in identifying some of this activity. In a recent blog post, we give tips on how to get honest answers from candidates during interviews.
Employees who demonstrate dishonest behavior often do so because they believe they deserve the ‘thing’ that they are after. These employees often feel that they are superior to other employees – smarter, faster, better. They are self-focused and are looking out for number one despite how it affects the company or their co-workers.
Many employees who engage in the more deviant counterproductive work behaviors do not get along well with others. By demonstrating the narcissistic behavior described above, other employees are not standing in line to be their friends. In addition, they tend to have negative attitudes and keep to themselves. This is not always the case with deviant employees, but the research suggests that they are more likely to spend time alone than other employees.
When deviant employees are asked why they have engaged in a particular behavior, they often blame other people. Nothing is ever their fault. If they steal from an employer, they may even say that the employer deserved to have it stolen for making it so easy to do. This belief that they are not at fault allows them to rationalize their behavior. Because of this, they typically do not express regret.