CONDUCTING AN EMPLOYEE BACKGROUND CHECK, NO MATTER THE POSITION
These last few weeks have really been rough. If you work LP for the holidays you know what I’m talking about. It was a constant battle to keep merchandise in the store and on the shelf. Not to mention the onslaught of GL claims, customer issues and of course internal theft. Silver lining; it’s all behind us now and we can look forward to starting off a new year and close out 2015 on a high note. As you look ahead to 2016 and the new staff you plan on hiring, I would implore you to conduct an employee background check on any new hires. I feel encouraged to share a story with you all in hopes of encouraging you to always run a pre-employment screening before bringing anyone new into your stores.
A new regional manager had just taken over the area and there were several stores that had General Manager vacancies. Either the internal candidate were not interested in moving up, or there were some issues that prevented a promotion, so she was left scrambling trying to fill these openings in some of our highest volume stores. The Regional Manager did what any savvy manager would do; she relied on her network of previous employees and employers and scoured for talent. It wasn’t long before she had found a candidate for one of our stores that she had worked with years ago. In such a rush to get the position filled, the Regional Manager elected to bypass the pre-employment screening and bring the candidate in immediately. Surely, she trusted this man’s character enough to do so. Things were great for about 6 months.
The LP department began receiving copious amounts of anonymous tips from this one particular store. All seemed to involve the General Manager in some form of fraud. There were allegations of payroll fraud, manipulation of financial documents, and even theft. How could this be? The RM vouched for this guy. He was touted as a District Manager level candidate due to his experiences. He was such a strong candidate, even bypassing an employee background check. So what was going on?
I was assigned the case to investigate and it didn’t take much to uncover a literal pile of crap. Once I began interviewing supervisors and managers, I started to develop a clear pattern of his behavior. This General Manager would take every Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, while maintaining a schedule that showed he was in the store. Interviewing supervisors, I found out that he threatened to fire anyone who spoke out against him, even forcing some managers to lie to the Regional Manager regarding his presence in the store. In addition, after some financial investigations, we determined that he was manipulating the store sales on the weekly PL report, to show greater sales and profitability; increasing his bonus potential. This, folks, is fraud.
The proverbial nail in the coffin came when a part time sales associate contacted me directly. The employee was a retired police officer who sold power tools part time for us. He claimed to have witnessed the GM steal an entire socket set and felt it was his duty to report this. Long story short, the claim was investigated and proven. Our investigation also uncovered thousands upon thousands of dollars of theft by this General Manager in just the few short months he was employed. When the case came to a close, and police were contacted, the detective assigned to the case asked, “Don’t you guys run an employee background check?”
Surely this General Manager, who was spoken so highly of by the Regional Manager, couldn’t have any type of criminal record, could he? Of course he did. He had been arrested nearly a dozen times for shoplifting, check fraud and several other crimes. If he had gone through the pre-employment screening process, we could have saved the company countless thousands of dollars. This set a new policy in our company and as a direct result of this case, no one, not even the CEO could waive the employee background check requirement for new hires.
For more information about Background Checks, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547