New research has revealed that almost half (43%) of small business employees admit they or their colleagues offer discounts or freebies to friends and family. 

ADT Security commissioned leading online market research panel Pure Profile to conduct this survey of 500 small business owners and 500 small business employees from around Australia during June to July 2010.

The results also demonstrate that the younger the employee, the more likely they were to engage in ‘sweet-hearting’, with 49% of Generation Y and 45% of Generation X admitting to the practice, compared to just 30% of Baby Boomers.

Additionally, women (42%) were just as likely as men (44%) to provide discounts or freebies to friends or family, while small business owners would be wise to keep a closer eye on full-time employees (46%) than part-timers (36%).

Small business owners also identified that they often lacked the high tech security options used by larger corporations to prevent crime.

Mark Norton, Managing Director of ADT Security, explained, “As the survey results show, small businesses have some natural advantages over employee theft, especially where the company is small enough for the owners to know each employee and oversee every contract or payment. However, the financial losses due to employee theft and fraud can be devastating, with our research suggesting that 43% of small business owners estimate their losses from crime total more than AU$10,000 annually.

“Business owners can help minimise the risk of employee theft by performing regular and spot audits of stock and finances, rotating staff through different jobs, creating a positive workplace environment and showing they value their employees.

Mark Norton continued to explain that ADT would also recommend businesses implement a comprehensive security plan to identify security threats and trouble-shoots potential weaknesses. He also said that intruder alarms and monitored video surveillance is also an option.

“Electronic security systems are effective at both deterring theft and catching out employees who act dishonestly. ADT Security provides a number of affordable options including ADT Vision, a pay-by-the-month video surveillance solution with no upfront costs which has been designed specifically with the needs and concerns of small businesses in mind.”

He added that employers might also watch out for warning signs of employee theft, which can include:

  • Strange behaviour such as an employee who only wants to use one particular cash register 
  • More cash in the business when a particular employee leaves or takes a holiday 
  • A significant number of cancelled or deleted register sales 
  • An employee who won’t allow segregation of duties or resists changes to their role 
  • An employee whose lifestyle appears out of line with their income, is under financial stress or is struggling with addiction issues
More information on ADT Vision CCTV video surveillance systems is available from ADT Security.