Instead of Monitoring Employees, Try Motivating Them

September 3rd, 2013 / No Comments »

By Adam Grant, Wharton professor and author of GIVE AND TAKE

Employee theft costs the economy up to $200 billion a year. In the hopes of putting a stop to stealing, many managers have turned to surveillance systems. According to new evidence from a rigorous study led by strategy professor Lamar Pierce, surveillance can work. After restaurants installed monitoring software that sent electronic theft alerts to managers, weekly revenue climbed by around 7%. Servers appeared to give out fewer free drinks, and focused their energy instead on selling more food.

But what if there’s a less expensive, less risky way to eliminate employee theft? Several years ago, a forest products company was losing about $1 million a year due to employee theft. After a few simple policy changes, theft dropped to near zero, and it stayed there for at least three years—with no monitoring at all……