An economic downturn means many companies will be disposing of unnecessary or less profitable services, but as recent studies suggest, background screening should not be one of them. The truth is, in harsh economic times there is a tendency to see increases in employee theft.
People, like businesses, are trying to cut spending and maximize the resources that they currently have. Too often, however, the resources people have at their disposal are actually the company’s property.
The risk posed by workers is only increasing as the economy stumbles. A study published in December 2008 by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found that 31% of companies with 10,000 or more workers said they’ve noticed an increase in the theft of company-owned items such as office supplies, products they produce, electronic equipment and food items since the economic downturn.
These numbers serve as a very serious warning to large companies that, in this economic crunch, have become increasingly reliant on contingent workers. Unfortunately, many people simply see this theft as a way of getting what they’re not getting in their paychecks.
The threat of workplace crime actually extends beyond the bounds of physical theft. In fact, 27% of respondents in large companies—those with 10,000 or more employees—said crime in general has risen in the workplace during the current economic crisis.
This is inclusive of a wide variety of violations such as time thefts—employees using company property, such as computers, for personal use. Time theft was cited as being a growing problem by 24% of all companies in the down economy.
As if worrying about employees during work hours wasn’t enough, external criminal activity has increased in 32% of large organizations. This outside-the-workplace crime not only has a direct impact on organizations, but it also reveals the fact that there is a growing number of employees who are more prone to be parasitic than beneficial to a company.
Many companies have assessed this risk and have made moves to protect themselves from those who might try to defraud them. Rather than trying to cut costs by loosening background screening services, 19% of companies overall are paying more attention to background checks prior to the hiring of new workers.
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