by Jacques van Wyk
They say that people are an organisation’s greatest asset. That, although salaries usually account for any company’s biggest expense, good employees don’t actually represent a cost, but rather an intelligent investment that ultimately offers a great return.
And it’s true that employees who perform well undoubtedly help your company perform well too. Your staff are at the heart of what makes your business tick, and multiple studies show that when employees feel valued and recognised, they are more engaged and productive. Productivity equals profits, so everybody wins.
Except when they don’t.
What happens when your employees, instead of contributing to your organisation’s success, are actually putting it at risk? It could be entirely unintentional – such as inadvertently opening a phishing email, or innocently accessing an unsecured website. Or it could be a deliberate and calculated act – submitting a fraudulent CV or copying sensitive and confidential information with the intention of selling it to a competitor, or taking it with them to a new job.
If you think about it, do you actually know what your employees are up to every minute of every day? Of course not. It’s impossible. In most companies, there are a hundred opportunities every day for staff to jeopardise the data and intellectual security of your business. Whether this is happening intentionally or not, being aware of the potential risks makes it easier for you to safeguard against them.
Social Media Activities
It’s a fact that between 70 and 90% of employers check potential employees’ social media accounts prior to hiring them. But it’s not only before you get the job that you need to be on your best behaviour online. Almost half of all employers admit to checking their current employees’ online activities too. There is good reason for this. Unsavoury posts that can be traced back to your company – even if you weren’t aware of them – can cause untold damage to your organisation’s reputation. Particular areas to watch out for include posts supporting anything illegal or immoral, as well as those condoning gun violence, celebrating excessive alcohol consumption or justifying racism or any other form of discrimination. Remember that, as an employee, you are an ambassador for the company you work for – online, offline, in the office and out of it.
So what can we learn from all this?
Most employees are interested only in doing a good job, earning money and progressing as far as they can within a company. Any risk they do end up posing to their employer is entirely unintentional. Others, however, seize opportunities to deliberately and intentionally defraud their employers for their own gain.
If you’re an employee, be vigilant when hiring new staff – check qualifications and references thoroughly. Educate employees on the potential risks of their online activities – to your organisation and themselves.
The Internet makes it easier than ever to commit fraud and endanger your organisation in a thousand different ways. You owe it to yourself and your company to stay one step ahead.
JGL Forensic Services is a multidisciplinary team of experienced forensic accounting and investigation professionals. We strongly believe in the rule of law and the scientific method as it applies to forensic accounting and investigation. Talk to us in confidence, and let’s work together to prevent corporate corruption and fraud.