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Employee Theft: When your greatest asset becomes a liability

Posted on 12/21/10 9:13 AM

Employee theftA retailer's greatest asset is the store employee. Store employees are asked to take in inventory, stock shelves, assist customers, ring sales, and maintain store profitability. As so much is dependent on this single resource, what do you think would happen when that same asset works against the very company who employs them?

Although the economy appears to better than it was a year ago we still face many challenges across our industry and in the overall state of our economy. Retailers are still closing stores and laying off personnel, which continue to concern many about future employment in the retail industry.

Loss Prevention surveys and studies continue to show that internal theft is still the highest percentage of a company's annual loss. These statistics with the challenges and uncertainty facing the retail workforce means that retailers must continue to work with their employees to keep the honest people honest.

How then does a retailer focus on keeping its greatest asset from becoming its biggest liability?

  1. Strong Policies & Procedures: The existence of strong policies and procedures will present an environment focused on the protection of inventory and the profitability of a company. Non-existent policies or an environment of lacking compliance will only create an environment of opportunities, and make it difficult to reprimand employees for any wrong doing, intentional or not. Find out the key loss prevention policies every retailer must have

  2. Visibility: Being in the physical presence of a retail location provides a sense of reassurance and security to employees. Many companies attempt to replace human interaction with technology. Although many technologies can assist in detecting targeted issues, strong visibility in a retail location and interacting with store employees provides a greater deterrence to theft than any technology. Being there to support their needs and concerns also builds trust and helps with morale. Learn more about the correlation between employee morale and employee theft 

  3. Communication: Retailers should not refrain from speaking with employees about loss prevention, theft and its methods. Open communication brings forth an environment where employees feel involved and are more likely to report wrong doings or suspicions of possible loss. “Will talking to your employees about theft cause employee theft?” 

What other areas of focus do you utilize in your loss prevention program to maintain a culture of honesty and keep your employees honest?

Topics: training and awareness

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