“Our research indicated that, over the past six years, no incidents of employee theft have been reported within ten of the companies that have been our clients. In analyzing the security practices of these ten companies, we have further learned that each of them requires its employees to wear photo identification badges while at work. In the future, therefore, we should recommend the use of such identification badges to all of our clients.”
This argument lacks statistical significance. Due to the inadequate analysis of observing ten companies, the argument is based on anecdotal evidence. Recommending that an employee identification badge program will prevent employee theft has no merit. Close examination of the argument being presented reveals that it provides no statistical support, only coincidental anecdotes from an insignificant and incorrect research sampling.
Turning first to the anecdotal evidence, the organization assumes that the mere use of identification badges, rather than some other observable fact, was responsible for the decrease in the levels of employee theft within these ten companies. Perhaps the decrease in employee theft simply reflects the tendency of higher security in organizations that would require employees to wear identification badges. The lower theft rates could be attributed to the type of products being handled by the organizations. A candy distributor could be more susceptible to theft than a high tech medical device manufacturer. For that matter, perhaps the amount of theft is due to the workforce’s skill and education level. There could be a more thorough background check on employees that require a high level of education and experience. The company is drawing on the assumption that the success of one security process can clearly affect another. The experience of their clients is valuable information, however, there would appear to be no correlation other than some organizations are more adept at security issues than others.
Employee dishonesty can involve theft of money, product or time. The forces that give rise to employee dishonesty are as complex and varied as the individuals who perpetrate such acts. It’s helpful to understand why employees engage in dishonest behavior in order to help recognize and prevent these situations from occurring. Even the most-trusted employee may be tempted to steal if an opportunity arises in which he or she feels safe from discovery. Personal hardships caused by chemical dependency, gambling debts or medical bills may create a situation where an otherwise honest employee may become desperate enough to steal. An employee who feels that he or she has been passed over for a raise or promotion may turn to theft in order to take back what they consider theirs. Understanding these factors can allow an organization to implement measures that can reduce the level of employee theft. The suggestion that the implementation of an identification badge program could be one of these measures is rash and without merit.
I believe that it is hasty to recommend establishing an identification program to clients with such unsubstantiated facts to support it. Furthermore, I think it is irresponsible to make such a blanket recommendation to a customer without considering any other issues. Some other factors that may affect such a decision may include the cost of implementing such a program, how it may hamper workflow of employees, staff acceptance and privacy issues. On the surface, there are several other methods that would seem to make more sense in stopping employee theft. An organization may wish to establish strict guidelines in the hiring process of its employees. They may choose to increase the level of supervision within their workforce. Establishing tighter accounting procedures and increasing audits may aid in lowering the incidence of employee theft. Without a plausible link between the use of ID badges and the causal effect of eliminating employee theft, the conclusion of the memo doesn’t sustain the recommendation.
Implementing an employee identification badge system may be an excellent recommendation for several reasons. An employee identification program would make a facility more secure from unauthorized entry. It may allow for the tracking of employee movement or employee information. An identification program could replace keys required for entry and timecards required for time tracking. However, you cannot assume that by having employees wear identification badges the level of employee theft can be reduced.
In summary, the argument presented is devoid of merit. The evidence provided is simply the fact that the ten companies that happen to use an employee identification program have lower incidences of employee theft. This appears to be pure coincidence. To strengthen their point they should have provided direct evidence that shows a statistical correlation between implementing an employee identification badge program and the deterrence or a complete halt to employee theft. Without an understanding of what aspects of employee theft an ID badge will prevent, the suggestion seems illogical. Also, I believe that it would have been helpful to understand the driving factors and various characteristics of employee theft and how implementing an identification process would address these concerns.