Updated: Feb 2
Perceived Non-Shareable Financial Need. One of the three elements of the Fraud Triangle. Really, the element that begins to birth the idea of fraud.
Due to Covid-19, we are seeing a massive, collective surge in financial need. The economic loss is staggering across every industry. The path to recovery is daunting and uncertain.
As people experience completely unexpected financial pressures, opportunities for benefit through fraud reveal themselves. And as it becomes more apparent that these new needs might exist long-term, justification and rationalization can be reached swiftly in everyone’s conscience.
The environment for fraud is strong everywhere.
The landscape of conducting business is a daily, unpredictable roller coaster for the foreseeable future. And while we are doing our best to find that elusive “new normal”, small business owners and leaders have a unique opportunity. An opportunity to address financial need to an entire group of employees.
True, everyone’s independent situation will be unique. But for the first time, absolutely everyone is affected by the same crisis at the same time. As leaders, we can set a tone and a precedent for the entire environment of our company.
So as we navigate the coming months, consider these steps to address employee cares and concerns.
1) Name the Problem
Everyone already knows it. Coronavirus. Covid-19. Lock-down. Shutdown. Reduced capacity. Whatever language and restrictions this pandemic is bringing to you specifically, it is discussed everywhere. In the break room, social media, constant news cycle. It feels like too much. Like we should just stop talking about it and focus on the jobs we need to do.
But don’t assume that you DON’T need to address it with your workplace. Radio silence from leadership can be unsettling and confusing. Designate a time (perhaps biweekly?) to speak to your team and tell them your current plan and position. Even expressing, “We are uncertain about “A” so we are looking into “B” as a solution (or even many solutions)” is much more reassuring than hearing nothing from leadership about this changing world.
Knowing that you acknowledge the crisis and knowing that they will be hearing updates regularly will help keep rumors, gossip, and anxiety from building unnecessarily. Relegating the discussion to an intentional time can help direct the rest of the workday away from the virus and back to routine.
2) Internal Loans
Financial need will affect different people different ways based on personal factors. One way a company can support employees in financial crisis is through an internal loan. These are small loans given to the employee by the company. Typically they are repaid over time through simple payroll deduction.
Internal loans are a helpful strategy to extend to employees who feel pressured and are struggling. You can offer them an opportunity for relief that keeps them speaking and sharing honestly with you, rather than looking to secret ways of getting out of financial trouble, like fraud.
3) Credit Counseling Service
Think of ways to connect your employees with a credit counseling service or a financial planner. This looks different for every company based on size and number of employees. Sometimes just providing contact information can help people take the steps they need to gain control of their finances. If your company has surplus available, consider offering to pay for one free session so employees can feel confident that taking advantage of these resources will be beneficial.
Each of these ideas, communication, internal loans, credit counseling, are just some ways you can provide a healthy environment for you employees to share concerns about finances. They can all stem from discussions about Coronavirus, but really, they can exist as part of your work environment permanently.
Empower your employees to talk about true troubles and pressures, and direct them to resources where they can find solutions. Eliminating this leg of the Fraud Triangle will reduce the risk of fraud. But more importantly, especially in this time of global crisis, it will contribute to an environment that calmly faces the changing issues we are seeing in this time.
Build trust. Empower action. And face this challenge as a team.
Empowering small businesses to develop strong Anti-Fraud Programs is our mission. We provide consultations to design, evaluate, and improve your anti-fraud program. You can also get a step-by-step guide to design a program that can be tailored for your specific needs by purchasing Steve Dawson’s book, Internal Control/Anti-Fraud Program Design for the Small Business.
If you think there may already be fraudulent activity in your company, contact us today through our website.