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Baggage Claim

Posted on 4/8/16 10:00 AM

As humans, we were born selfish. Our instinctual need to be the most important part of our own universe runs through all our veins, and rightfully so. Without “me” being the top priority in everything we do every single day, we would never survive. So, it should come as no surprise that our own life issues are carried with us at the top of our minds, everywhere we go- including work.

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Topics: employee theft, loss prevention, employee awareness, educate, Holiday Tips, customer service

Prosecution or Restitution - A Business Approach

Posted on 2/26/16 9:54 AM


Our legal system allows us to seek remedies when we are the victim of theft. We can pursue criminal charges or we can seek civil recovery of the loss, and sometimes both. Often we can pursue financial compensation for the cost of our security efforts. When strangers are involved, resolution is a straightforward and rational enterprise. A substantial amount of business losses, however, is the result of employee theft. Employee theft can create an emotional response that adds to the complexity of the situation. Since employees are trusted “members of the family,” the theft can feel very personal. In that psychologists contend that ninety percent of our decision-making is emotional (not you and I, we are completely rational decision makers of course), it is critical that a company develops clear prosecution and restitution guidelines in advance of a specific theft situation.

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Topics: employee theft, policies and procedures, Audits and Investigations

Check and Balance: 5 questions you need to answer to develop an Effective Audit Tool

Posted on 12/18/15 1:23 PM

There is no doubt that a vital component within your loss prevention initiatives is a store-based audit program. A well developed audit provides keen insight into what is happening in your store locations, how policies and procedures are followed, and most importantly, how well your associates are protecting your profitability.

Developing an effective audit tool begins with asking and answering some basic questions. Although basic, these questions should be asked regularly, even with an existing and mature program, to make sure your program remains on track and provides you with the most effective program possible.

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Topics: employee theft

Follow the Leader

Posted on 12/9/15 10:30 AM

There is an old proverb that states, “he who thinks he leads but has no followers is only taking a walk.” For all of the books, articles, and seminars on the topic of leadership, one would believe that it requires some form of magic or unique charisma. The truth is that following others is a natural human characteristic. The problem is that the inherent programming to “follow” doesn’t include an equally inherent set of standards on “who” to follow.

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Topics: employee theft

If You Didn’t Write it…You Didn’t Say it

Posted on 11/6/15 9:55 AM

I read an article recently about a retailer who lost a law suit over an employee “policy” violation. Said violated policy wasn’t included in the employee handbook. The specifics of the incident aren’t important. There is a bigger truism illustrated by the court decision—The Real World and the Judicial World don’t always occupy the same space. The first is filled with assumptions of what people know or should know. The second dissects those assumptions…line by line…word by word. And yes, courts apply the “what would a reasonable person know or believe,” but that means we must first understand their definition of reasonable. It also implies that our specialized knowledge, our specific training, and all those short-cut terms we use are not common and consequently not necessarily something we can assume a “reasonable” person might understand. Often that means, if you didn’t write it down, then you didn’t say it.

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Topics: employee theft

A Shift in Crime or Flawed Perceptions?

Posted on 7/23/15 10:08 AM

A Shift in Crime or Flawed Perceptions?
The danger in guessing shrink contribution

I read this year’s National Retail Security Survey and it was nice to see such a large shift in human behavior. According to the recent survey, employee theft’s contribution to shrink substantially fell to 34%. That’s a decrease of over eleven percentage points since 2010 and a decrease of five from 2012.

Amazing…
And probably, most likely, quite…flawed.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not just that I have to update my sales deck that I am suspicious. Although I was immediately skeptical of the figure, I conducted some quick “back of the envelope math” to see if it made sense. I also relied on several other sources and over twenty five years of experience in coming to the conclusion that loss prevention professionals are making a big mistake if they use these opinions as reason to shift their focus away from internal theft issues.

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Topics: employee theft, ORC, Shrink, Shoplifter Theft

The One Thing More Damaging than Internal Theft

Posted on 6/17/15 10:00 AM

I’ve spent a couple of decades observing attitudes on employee theft. Obviously it is not a question of whether or not employers believe it to be right or wrong. Unanimously, people agree that stealing is a bad thing, that it is illegal, and that such behavior hurts both the company and its employees. In fact, most managers accept that internal theft is a considerably sized problem. Where the conversation gets a bit dicey is when we move from a general “they” steal to the more specific “your people steal.”

In seminars I’ll often share the statistics the one in ten employee engage in dishonesty and that these actions are estimated to account for nearly half of all company losses. At this point I ask the audience to answer a few questions based on their own perceptions of the problem. I ask them to write down what percentage of theft causes loss in the following categories:

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Topics: employee theft, Internal Dishonesty, Internal Theft, Honest Employees

MOS: Marked out of Stock or Missing out of Shrink?

Posted on 6/2/15 11:46 AM

Although the calculation of shrink is quite simple, the factors that determine your shrink calculation may not be. Damages, known thefts, defective merchandise, mismates, return to vendors and items ‘marked out of stock’ (MOS) could be creating some “black holes” in your shrink percentage.

The MOS concept is fairly straight forward and used by most retailers. An item that cannot be sold because it is damaged for example, is documented as such allowing the merchants to replenish that item onto the sales floor. This affords the retailer the opportunity to replace the non-saleable item as opposed to not having that item available until the next physical inventory cycle.

The “black hole” as it relates to the MOS concept is

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Topics: employee theft

Baggage Claim

Posted on 2/17/15 10:00 AM

As humans, we were born selfish. Our instinctual need to be the most important part of our own universe runs through all our veins, and rightfully so. Without “me” being the top priority in everything we do every single day, we would never survive. So, it should come as no surprise that our own life issues are carried with us at the top of our minds, everywhere we go- including work.

Read More

Topics: employee theft, loss prevention, employee awareness, educate, Holiday Tips, customer service

Loss Prevention’s Big “I Wish We Had” Moments

Posted on 2/3/15 10:28 AM

We can spend a lot of time discussing audits, shrink numbers and awareness programs, but there is nothing more frustrating than the unresolved theft issue. I’m not speaking of the “mystery” stuff where there is uncertainty as to the cause of the loss. Nope, I’m referring to the missing money or merchandise that by virtue of access and opportunity had to be an employee. Things like the dreaded missing deposit or empty back stock containers that used to contain our merchandise.

Their is something psychologically draining about “knowing” you have a dishonest employee problem, knowing they took “stuff” and knowing there is no way you can prove it.  Sure you can interview the entire store, sure you can blame it on the employee who quit, and sure you can resolve to never let it happen again, but still you’ll taste bitter dissatisfaction. The interesting aspect of unresolved dishonesty is that it is usually accompanied by a big “I Wish We Had” moment. A mental…maybe verbal…rundown of the things we wish had been in place before the theft. That little bit of now elusive evidence that would have drawn a comfortable trail to the responsible party.

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Topics: loss prevention development, preventing theft, employee theft, loss prevention, Refund Fraud