Using Integrity Testing in Order to Deter Employee Theft and Absenteeism

When employers consider or discuss employee theft, their thoughts are usually focused on protecting assets such as the business bank account and petty cash. The truth is, most of the employee theft that occurs at work comes in the form of taking office supplies and other merchandise that belongs to the company, as well as incorrectly reporting time sheets that reflect the hours that were worked, sick leave, absenteeism and vacation time.  These untrustworthy, and quite often overlooked, behaviours unnecessarily cost employers billions of dollars every year.

Integrity testing such as the Risk Management Profile RMP developed by RightPeople, will eliminate the liabilities of hiring employees that create counter-productive and costly situations in the work place. This test will assess the ethics and the honesty that candidates and employees possess.

Stealing office supplies

That box of paperclips and container of pencils that an employee took home the other day may not seem like a big deal in comparison to the budget that is allowed for office supplies. On a larger scale though, if every employee feels free to help themselves to any of the available office supplies for their own personal use at home, what effect does this have on the company? How does this affect the budget for office supplies for the company? Somehow, office supplies need to be replenished when they run out, and it is the company that pays the price. The budget for office supplies will eventually need to be adjusted to manage a larger expense in order to cover the supplies in the office, as well as those at the employee’s homes.

Stealing payroll time

With the same theory in mind, if one employee reports their time incorrectly by adding a half hour each week to their time sheet, the few dollars that it costs the company in one week does not make or break the company. The ongoing behavior of changing time sheets on a weekly basis, however, will become detrimental to a company, especially if more than one employee is taking advantage of the time sheet and payroll system. Again, the budget for the payroll must be adjusted to handle a higher expense, in order to compensate employees for hours that were not worked.

Employee absenteeism

Employee absenteeism costs the company on several different levels. An absent employee causes the company to be short-staffed when it comes to the daily schedule and the handling of customers or clients, leading to an overall air of frustration. Productivity suffers and, once again, the budget becomes an issue. Excessive employee absenteeism greatly reduces employee morale and creates a negative atmosphere in the workplace, which customers will notice, leading to a negative effect on the income of the business.

How employee theft and absenteeism affects the company

When the budget for expenses is increased, the bottom line of the company decreases, which means less profit for the business. Anything negative that occurs inside a company is going to have a harmful impact on the profit and loss, resulting in possible lay-offs and customer service that is under par. Employee theft and absenteeism does not have to be a problem that goes unresolved, though, and it can also be stopped before it even starts.

Integrity testing

Research has demonstrated that pre-employment integrity assessments utilising the RMP, will decrease the chances of a company hiring a candidate that may pose a threat through behaviours such as theft or absenteeism. Although the concept of integrity testing has been around for quite a while, employers often overlook it as a part of the hiring process due to lack of awareness. Most companies, however, do accept the magnitude of the consequences that can occur when they hire an employee that has the potential to exhibit risky behaviour.

The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University has recently released reports that show that integrity tests are not only beneficial, they also distinguish the applicants who will maintain positive work attitudes from applicants who are more likely to create a negative impact on a business. By weeding out the ‘unsuitable’ candidates and ‘screening in’ the candidates that possess high ethical and behavioural standards, the RMP can create a significantly positive financial improvement for a business.