CORPORATE managers are witnessing a different tribe of employees, the ones with picking and pocketing things. Theft at the office, from the project site or even from clients points are becoming a common practice. It is really difficult for one to believe the fact that how can employees who are professionally qualified, pick and pocket things that too which are either trivial in nature or something which can very be earned?
One can understand an employee pocketing important files or hard core business secrets to impress his prospective employer or selling it to premium to a competitor to earn some hot bucks, but why should someone involve in petty thefts like stealing stationary products etc. Opines Sudesh Pawar, administrative manager, with an ITeS major in pune, stealing at the work-place is a hidden habit of an employee. Companies are yet to devise mechanisms through which they can screen employees on this count however; Pawar added that they have started to observe the general conduct in the workplace to notice any such ill habits in employees. Missing a stationary product might not be that important but if some important information or contract/agreement is passed onto the competitor it can have a devastating impact on the company, both in the short and long run. Managers at the high profile level who are often out on tours and check in the best of the hotels and flies the best airline ingrains this habit while picking up things from the flight or from the hotel room. It seems they tend to develop this felling that picking up small things like towels, room freshener; fine cut classes etc. are not part of theft. This habit is further taken forward into the organization.
Means of arresting the menace :
Bhanupriya Sen, personnel and administration manager with a mide size farm in Mumbai has put close circuit TV's in all strategic places, but she admits that it is not a full proof measure to arrest the incidents of corporate thefts. Employees need to be screened for such habits right at the time of selection. But how does one understand this characteristic within the interview duration which hardly lasts for a few hours at the most? One whay of understanding that is to put him total solitude with some attractive things being left there. Even putting a fresh employee in various tasks across departments where he is exposed to various secret information's can be done, if the immediate superior is in total control of his subordinate and the important assets put into the subordinates custody. Incidents of stealing letter heads of th company is a common practice as the same is then wrongly used for making fictitious agreements, letter of undertakings or even experience certificates has made a vigilant employer cautious. Incidents of rubber stamp of strategic decision maker along with their recorded plan of action for various organizational moves are also picked and handed over to the rivals to earn a decent sum. Rajesh Sexena a middle level manager with a manufacturing firm observes his subordinates both in office and outside on this aspect of corporate theft. He also tries to understand his moves and motives for a period of time and along with the information gathered from peer cops, he can very well understand the stealing habit of his every subordinate. He adds that understanding this trait in people entails relating his overall persona like his involvement in the job, good and bad practices, sense of responsibility, accountability can be pointers in understanding the stealing habits, if any.
Corporate Cops to manage corporate burglary :
The best way to arrest the widespread impact of corporate burglary is to set up corporate cops. Corporate cops are loyal, faithful and dedicated team of employees who had been working in the company for a long time. Their role is to observe their junior peers in every act of theirs, verbally and also the nonverbal ways so that they can understand his hidden motives and behaviors. Interacting with those people both in formal and informal setup goes a long way in elucidating the true persona of the person. Usage of filters in systems and processes can also help in preventing the important files and information inventories being picked up by those having ulterior motives.
by Manishankar Chakraborty
Author is Faculty-Management at Tirpude Institute of Management Education- TIME Nagpur.
He can be reached at- [email protected]