How to Reduce Employee Time Theft
Employee time theft occurs when an employee gets paid for work they didn't do. This can happen through deliberate fraud, like asking someone else to clock them in before they show up to work, or through laziness, like reading a book when the employee should be working.
Communicate the rules to your employees clearly.
You may now know it, but some employees have been secretly clocking in a coworker who hasn't arrived at work yet. The employee may do it as a favor to a coworker to prevent that person from getting into trouble. However, you need to do something and remind them about the rules and consequences of their wrongdoings. You can put up a notice saying that clocking in for someone else is not allowed. If they fill up their hours in a time-sheet on a computer, constantly remind them that they can lose their job if you catch them filling extra hours because of integrity issues. Although they can seem overbearing, but you're not only protecting your business you're also helping them protect their jobs.
Communicate your expectations about employee time.
Some employees may think it's okay to play with their smartphones as long as no customer is standing directly in front of them. In reality, you want them to clean and stock the store—not commit employee time theft by checking out the messages on their phones. Many employees might be doing time theft without even realizing it. Hence, you must communicate their duties to them clearly, and the set of protocols they must follow in their regular working day. Tell them that it is not ok for them to simply sit idle, or play on their smartphone, while they are waiting for someone else to revert to their queries or some other dependency.
Take disciplinary measures and procedures.
Time theft could become their habit if you give employees too much freedom. Hence, you need to timely take disciplinary measures to make them aware of the fraud practice they are following at work. You can take a progressive approach towards disciplining them that starts with a verbal warning, then a written warning, then a suspension for a few days, which finally leads to termination. Taking strict measures gives them a sign that while you don’t mind them spending a few minutes socializing between work, if they are deliberately doing time theft, then you can be as strict as terminating them from their job.
Always set a good example.
There are many tools now available in the online market that allow you to analyze the work hours of your employees. Using a time management software is also one of the most advanced way of preventing time theft. However, it is important to remember that employees usually emulate the behavior they see others doing. They may see their boss taking a two-hour lunch, but they do not understand that the boss is an exempt employee who gets paid the same amount of money regardless of the number of hours he or she works and that they often put in a great deal of time at night and on the weekends.