Corruption isn’t just something that happens to politicians and government officials. It’s prevalent even in the smallest businesses. It could even be happening right under your nose and you wouldn’t know it.

One summer I slung ice for a living. Literal ice. The kind you plop into a cold soda on a sweltering summer’s day.

While training, I rode with a guy who had fallen to corruption. You see, we delivered bags of ice to convenience stores and gas stations and the attendants tried to offer product trades instead of paying cash. This guy would take the trades which robbed the ice company of their profits.

How do you stop guys like my trainer from falling into corrupt habits? How do you protect your profits without taking the shortcut? Keep scrolling for some quick tips.

1. Hire Externally for Payroll Management and Monitoring

When you get to know the HR guys well, it’s easy to manipulate them. They’re not supposed to play favorites, but it’s human nature.

What if human resources and human capital management were handled externally? It would remove the temptation to play favorites and accept even a minimal bribe.

Hire an audit team. You might not be able to stop all corruption. You can at least catch it. And when your employees know they’re going to get caught, they’ll be less likely to participate.

2. Create Policies to Discourage Corruption

Your policies must be clear and strong. Everyone must understand that you won’t stand for even the smallest bribe or the tiniest bit of favoritism among staff.

Make it clear that clients cannot create or take advantage of shortcuts. You must lead the charge in this by making deals that are transparent and above board.

Define unethical conduct. Your ethical code should be easy to read and memorable. Create a version that’s easily printable and postable. This way your code of conduct will be ever-present in your office.

3. Reward Both Good Behavior and Encourage Reporting

Nobody likes a snitch. Thus, reporting should be confidential and encouraged. Nobody should be a afraid of getting fired for reporting corruption within the company.

Create policies that allow employees to transfer between departments when they report.

Set up a reward system for good behavior. After an external audit, if a department has passed the audit, reward them.

4. Create an Atmosphere of Transparency

94% of consumers would rather work with a brand that commits to full transparency. If consumers are more likely to trust you if your company is transparent, how much more will your employees if you’re transparent with them?

Allow all employees to view the company’s financial documents. Where are you spending on employees? Who is using the funds? Why are they using the funds?

This keeps managers from operating under an umbrella of secrecy. It will keep people honest and happy. They’ll feel secure that you’re not treating them unfairly.

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.