Monday, February 16, 2009

Do your employees and volunteers know your policies?

It is surprising the number of times when undertaking a fraud investigation and the person being investigated says “I didn’t know I couldn’t do that”. It’s hard to understand how someone could think that doing such things as fuelling their private car with the organisation’s fuel card or paying for a family dinner on the organisation’s credit card is not acceptable. However, it is regularly an excuse that is heard.
The risk is that an employee or volunteer, when being investigated for fraud, will use excuses such as:
  • "I didn't know I couldn't do that"; or
  • "No one told me that wasn't acceptable".

Methods to Mitigate the Risk

It is important that employees and volunteers understand the organisations policies. Firstly, it is important that the organisation has appropriate policies in place. No matter what the size of the organisation, policies should be in place – policies suitable to the size of the organisation that is.

Once appropriate policies are in place, there are a number of ways an organisation can make sure employees and volunteers understand their policies. Examples include:

  • Develop a training program that employees and volunteers are required to attend. When attending, the employees and volunteers are required to sign an attendance sheet confirming their attendance at the training and a declaration of their understanding of the policies.
  • Provide online training on the organisation’s intranet whereby employees and volunteers are ‘tested’ as to their understanding of policies and test results are maintained for future reference.
  • Have employees and volunteers sign a declaration on a yearly basis (at the time of an annual performance appraisal or similar is an appropriate time) declaring that they have read and understood the organisation’s policies. Policies will need to be readily available to employees and volunteers so that they can have appropriate time to familiarise themselves with the policies.
  • All new employees and volunteers should also receive training on the organisation’s policies and sign an appropriate declaration of their understanding of the policies.

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