When it comes to protecting your business against loss, there are certain areas that you want to have written and acknowledged policies
There have been legal court case decisions where loss prevention incidents not handled appropriately have cost businesses tens of thousands of dollars paid out to shoplifters, dishonest employees and even customers caught in the middle. Although some of these individuals may have committed a crime against a business, the lack of policies or compliance to existing policies were often the bases of a court’s decision.
The following is not an all inclusive list of policies and procedures, but rather those that should most certainly be part of any retail business (any segment including food serving industries).
- Code of Conduct: This policy should simply state that the company does not condone acts of theft or dishonesty, how these acts will be handled and the ramifications of such actions (prosecution, termination, restitution, etc.). A code of conduct should also include the duty of an employee to report incidents of theft or suspected theft. It should be known that such reporting can be done anonymously (do you have a tip-line?) and confidentially, without any retribution toward the reporting employee.
- Shoplifting Apprehension Policy: This policy should include the company’s steps on how to detect, handle and resolve a shoplifting situation. Most shoplifting policies include; the steps of shoplifting detection, how to handle a known shoplifting situation and most importantly, what not to do (such as run after a shoplifter) when trying to resolve a shoplifting situation. Retailers have lost millions of dollars due to wrongful apprehensions, injuries and even deaths of employees, suspected shoplifters and bystanders – Don’t let the possible loss of merchandise cost you greatly.
- Robbery Procedures: A robbery is a very unfortunate and dangerous situation. The best way of handling a robbery is for an employee to understand how they should act during and after the event. Written policy and procedures on how to act or not act, along with proper awareness, can be the difference between a robbery becoming a very serious event and one that unfortunately occurs but without bodily injury or harm.
- Employee Discount or Meal Policy: If you offer your employees any discounts in merchandise or free food, you want a written policy regarding these discounts. This policy should clearly detail the discounts breaks, approved recipients of such discounts (immediate family, spouse, etc.) and any situations that the discount is not allowed (i.e. sale merchandise, gift cards, etc). Included in this policy should be the ramifications and outcomes of violating this policy.
We recommend the following when you develop policies and procedures that involve actions against your employees;
- Consult with your human resources or legal support to ensure that policies and procedures are written appropriately for your business.
- Have employees review and acknowledge your policies and procedures every year.
Building a loss prevention function has many layers. Without written policies it is almost impossible to expect or ask how an employee should act.The next step in building a program would be to make certain your associates are both trained and aware of key loss prevention concepts. To learn more about training and awareness watch our video presentation.