It's not pleasant to think that some of your team members might be taking advantage of the company's resources. It's not at all constructive and doesn't create a good working atmosphere. Normally, workers are honest and do what they should; in 99% of the cases…
However, fraud on business trips still costs thousands of euros. Both large and small firms suffer from this and any business in which employees claim expenses from the company are open to fraud. These issues are not easy to handle but it's a good idea to tackle them efficiently to stop them from happening again.
Before thinking about how to handle this issue, it's important to distinguish between human error and deceit. Many companies still use manual procedures to handle expenses. These are processes in which it's easy to make a mistake. Typing in the wrong figure, the wrong date or losing an original receipt is not infrequent. It's always advisable to use a tool to automate expense management. Naturally, these cases should be handled differently. However, how should we handle a case once we're sure that fraud is being committed during business travel?
To tackle this correctly, a multitude of factors come into play related to the individual case and the company culture. Below we list a few points you should take into account.
Related to the fraud
The first thing is to know the exact amount. How much are we talking about? Is it dozens or thousands of euros?
Is it the first time it's happened? Once fraud has been discovered, it's advisable to investigate and check whether there are additional irregularities in the worker's past accounts.
Related to the employee
Is the employee a good worker? Do they do their job properly? Is the employee a star sales person or a mediocre performer?
Once you're sufficiently sure, the worker should always be given the chance to explain. It might be due to a misunderstanding or simply because the employee wasn't aware of the company's expenses policy or was going through a complicated situation that should be taken into account to put the situation in the right perspective.
Related to the company
Continuity of the employee
If it's proven that fraud has occurred and the decision is taken to reprimand the employee, we should take into account how this might affect the relationship between the employee and the firm. Can an acceptable work atmosphere be restored by both parties?
Replacing the employee
If this is an extreme case and the decision is taken to dismiss the worker, we should take into account how important this is for the firm, how it will be affected and how difficult the employee will be to replace.
Handling the situation
Finally, if there's a Human Resources department, it will always be better if they handle this kind of conflict. If there isn't, then all we can do is recommend calmness, civility and perspicacity.
Do you know any other concept you would recommend in this kind of situation? Share it with us in the comments.