How do you stop employee theft and shoplifting? Well, when you are a Loss Prevention Manager for a major retail store you may hire Loss Prevention Officers. Unfortunately we don’t always have the ability to see how well an employee is going to work out. I for one have made my share of poor hiring decisions. Sometimes people look great on paper and may even excel at interviewing but boy can they make life miserable when they get hired. One such hire for me seemed like he would be competent according to his resume and application. I did see one place on his resume which caused me some minor concern but other than that the interview went well, our background check company cleared him (but to what extent he was investigated I don’t know) and we brought him onboard. I had an employee theft case I started investigating and asked this employee if he knew how to tie into a CCTV camera cable for a covert camera. He told me he did and he was anxious to help. I gave him the okay, made sure he and the other associate knew what the plan was and I went home. There may have been a better outcome had I tested his knowledge before leaving for the day because his training was lacking. I’ll finish my story shortly but it brings up two questions I have for store managers.
What kind of employee theft reduction training do you have for your managers and do you incorporate employee background checks as part of your strategy to reduce employee theft? The two questions are not mutually exclusive. Pre-employment screening can be a tool for reducing the chances of hiring dishonest employees. The right screening company will allow you to choose what you want to have investigated. In the case of my employee if I had been given options I would have asked for that question from the resume to be investigated. Why did he have this gap or oddity on his resume? Did he actually have the experience he said he had? You can keep from making a similar mistake and ensure your employees are who they present themselves to be by using the right pre-employment screening company. Theft reduction training for non-Loss Prevention personnel is also much different than the training for Loss Prevention Associates. Theft reduction training for store managers and employees will not include running covert cameras, or conducting surveillance on shoplifters. It should include being able to identify suspicious behaviors, how to use electronic article surveillance technology to deter theft and the impact of customer service on theft prevention. Employee theft reduction for managers is or should be conducted by a business with experienced Loss Prevention trainers. Have them do the training and you won’t need to ask the follow-up questions I should have asked my employee.
So what was it I failed to do and what was the result? Well, I took my employee’s word for what he told me, that he knew how to splice into a CCTV cable to run a separate line. The purpose was so that I could conduct surveillance in an area of the stockroom where suspected employee theft was taking place. The idea was fantastic, the execution horrible. I received a call from my store manager telling me my Associate had cut the ALARM cable to the building and he wanted to know what I was going to do about it. I had to go back to the store, see what my employee had done and then contact the alarm company. I also had to contact MY District Loss Prevention Manager and explain what had transpired. As I recall I also had to stay overnight in the building since the alarms were not working properly…did I mention my employees tried to splice the alarm wire back together? The alarm technician came out the next day and repaired the screw-up.
I wound up setting the covert camera myself and I did finally catch the dishonest employee but at quite a cost. I also eventually fired the Associate. After this I always made sure I spent a great deal of time training one of my Associates before allowing them to help me with an employee theft investigation. For you employee theft reduction training can be much easier than it was for me. Use a background check company so you don’t have as many workers stealing from you and hire a company specializing in Loss Prevention training to do your training for you. Trust me the results will be so much better than what I went through.
Get more information on employee theft reduction training, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547