Is an employer at the mercy of their employees like today’s parent seems to be at the mercy of their child’s whims?
Sam felt that way when he found out his long trusted employee was stealing time on a regular basis. Sam called me and said, “How do I handle this? Robbie’s been stealing time, but Rich, his supervisor, is letting it happen.”
Before I advised Sam, we needed to establish two things:
1) What were the clear, documented facts in the situation?
2) Was this a one time occurrence, a simple mistake, or was there an ongoing pattern?
How did we answer these questions? Simple detective work.
First, Sam went to see his head bookkeeper. “Can I see the time reports from the past three months?”
Sensing danger, she said, “Might I ask why?”
“I just need to check actual clock-in records against scheduled hours.”
“Oh. You mean Robbie.”
Sam froze in place, “You knew?”
“Why didn’t you come and tell me?”
The bookkeeper lowered her eyes, “Frankly, we all know you take special care of Robbie, and we assumed it was something you agreed to.”
“I would never agree to something like this. Our business can’t afford to pay people who aren’t working.”
The bookkeeper turned pink around her ears and on her neck, “I’ve had the same thought many times, but again, I thought you and Robbie had an agreement. Especially since Rich said it was okay when I asked him about it.”
Now it was Sam’s turn to redden, “Rich specifically told you it was approved?”
“Yeah, I questioned it more than once.”
Sam didn’t miss the affirmative head-nod from his office manager sitting one desk over. “You knew about this too?”
“As she just told you, everyone does. I’ve even seen some of the younger employees follow Robbie’s example. I did talk to them, and explained that it wasn’t okay for everyone, but I’m not sure some of them haven’t simply gotten better at hiding it. It’s easy to justify when Robbie does it.”
Sam felt like he was going to blow up. “How soon can you get me those time reports.”
“Within the hour.”
“I’ll be back in an hour then.” Sam hurried out to calm down.
Once Sam and I determined there was evidence through time reports, multiple witness accounts, and Sam’s personal observations and verification, we were ready to answer the second question.
After pulling records from several weeks, there was indeed an established pattern of more hours than Robbie’s work schedule should allow. Sam was ready to take the next steps.
Now that Sam has played detective, what do you think he should do with the evidence?
Anita FreshFaith @ Work
Ecclesiastes 7:25 (NIV)
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Communications Specialist, national speaker, and author. She lives in Missouri with her family.