During one of our recent meetings with a prospect, an executive asked why he should talk to his employees about employee theft. His rationale was if he talked to them about how employees steal, wasn’t he giving them ideas on how to steal from his company?
Now putting this conversation into proper perspective, our meeting was with a mid-size retailer without a structured loss prevention function and in need of certain loss prevention initiatives. Being said, perhaps talking to employees about employee theft without a loss prevention function could have negative results. However, what is most often found in a situation like this is that 1) You already have employees that are stealing from you and, 2) it is more than would if you had a loss prevention function in place within your organization.
Amongst all the loss prevention strategies, initiatives and program elements, the number one method of preventing loss is the creation of deterrence. The beginning steps of creating that deterrence includes the education of your employees. That includes having those conversations about the various methods of theft and how an employee may try to steal from the company. Along with that conversation should be the checks and balances the company conducts to detect losses, and most importantly the consequences of stealing from the company.
The majority of employees are honest. Creating an environment of open communication, where employees feel that they are part of the business is the right approach. You talk to them about your sales goals, which include discussions on profitability and costs. You should also talk to them about theft and loss, including employee theft. They too affect profitability and costs.
Taking the opposite approach of not talking about employee theft, removes the opportunity to make your employees another set of eyes and ears against theft. If an employee understands how losses can occur, they may find themselves in a position to uncover another employee’s wrongdoing. They can also be the deterrence factor or voice of conscience for an employee who may be talking about theft.
There are many factors that often determine why an employee decides to steal from an employer. Talking to them about employee theft is not one of those factors. It is far better to include them, then to not include them in your efforts.
Not exactly sure how to talk to your employees about theft? Unsure what topics need to be discussed? We can help. LP Innovations provides various training and awareness programs from in-store meetings and corporate presentations (train your management) to various awareness program initiatives. Learn more about our Awareness Programs and initiatives.