Many businesses focus their loss control strategies on preventing unwanted elements from getting in from the outside.
While this is certainly an important step in securing assets and minimising risk, what if the truly dangerous element has already made itself comfortable within the operations of the organisation?
In financial management, internal audits play an integral role in ensuring the financial stability and integrity of the organisation. Similarly, savvy businesses should expose themselves to an internal auditor of a different kind – the undercover investigator.
“If conducted correctly, these investigations become the cornerstone of the loss control portfolio,” advises Kyle Condon, MD of D&K Management Consultants. “The successful deployment of well-trained and experienced undercover agents is the single most effective company security tactic.”
To Condon, the undercover investigator serves to manage risk from the inside out – in a consistent manner. “The innermost workings of the business can be seen as the core of an onion. While the outer layers of security prevent threats from getting in, the investigator placed at the centre of the operations ensures that those already at the core are not putting the business at risk.”
Undercover investigators are not only useful for theft or loss investigations but also offer valuable insights as deployed auditors.
“Undercover investigation services are a fantastic way to identify weaknesses in company policies and operating procedures. If these policies are not ‘audited’, chances are that you may not ever know where the real issues lie. With a consistent presence, the investigator continues to protect the business in real-time, rather than reviewing what went wrong after the fact. This creates a proactive loss control strategy,” he adds.
In addition to risk mitigation, undercover investigations offer various advantages. From the development of accurate security budgets and strategies (including elements such as cameras, manpower, policies and procedures, employment processes, etc.), to the identification of wasted resources, or unethical employees – having an agent on its payroll gives the business access to essential security and operational information.
Undercover investigation services should be introduced into the client’s workforce. Investigators are deployed as everyday workers or contractors, as would be the case for clients’ routine recruiting procedure. Within a short space of time, the right investigator would have integrated him/ herself amongst the rest of the employees.
Condon provides four key tips for ensuring the undercover investigator remains impartial and effective: “Rotate the investigator every six months. Place them in different sectors or departments to get a full view of the business’ operations. Place them strategically to combat crime, taking the guessing out of the game. Use the intel they provide to assist in creating accurate and impactful policies and procedures.”
While the undercover investigation services are in progress, information is passed on to the client directly. This should happen on a weekly basis. “The weekly reports enable the investigation firm to formulate graphs and provide analytics that will clearly show trends and patterns of the various associated risks,” concludes Condon.