It is already that time of the year again: the air is cooling, the day is ending earlier, and the leaves are falling from the trees. It is a beautiful reminder of what is right around the corner—the holiday shopping season. Whether this excites you or terrifies you, it also means that there is going to be a large influx of shopping traffic. In order to meet the demands of the season’s shoppers, everyone is hiring seasonal employees to help them get through the holidays. To make sure you stay in the black, it is important to avoid hiring seasonal employees who are only there to commit internal theft, taking not only their paychecks, but a lot more than you bargained for.
Seasonal hiring decisions tend to be made in a rush. With all of the other preparations for the season, including increased levels of merchandise stock, preparation auditing, and other seasonal tasks, hiring the right seasonal employees tends to be an issue that is put on the back burner. In order to save time conducting employee theft investigations, it is wise to spend some extra time screening your seasonal employees, and ensuring they are a good match for the job.
I have been working in retail loss prevention for many years. Each year I witness the large influx of seasonal associates. There are sometimes so many that I don’t even get a chance to learn their names before they are gone. Not only do we see a very large increase in external theft and shoplifting during this season but each year, we see a great amount of employee theft—usually from seasonal employees. So what can these employees do to damage your business? After all, they are only hired for a few months; how much damage can they do?
The answer is: a lot. Last year, the business I work for hired a new cash-handling associate on a seasonal basis. Within the span of one week, she was able to steal over three-thousand dollars from the registers before we caught on to her. Luckily, we were able to identify the employee theft and resolve the incident before she could quit, which she had planned to.
So what is the solution? Well, there is no foolproof answer; no matter what you do, there is always some risk involved in making hiring decisions. Nonetheless, there are a number of things you can do to minimize the risk you are taking when hiring! Taking time to hire quality seasonal associates is the first step. Once they are hired, making sure they are trained well, and will not cause losses by making costly mistakes is the second component. Lastly, to minimize the risk of internal theft, make sure associates don’t work shifts alone if that is an option. Also, utilize various checks and balances, including merchandise protection, to limit any one employee’s ability to commit employee theft without another employee’s knowledge. Compartmentalizing business tasks and rotating employees through those tasks not only trains the employees well, but prevents them from having too much unchecked power.
Large corporations can sometimes absorb some losses, especially if they are small, isolated incidents as is the previous example. However, if you hire only a couple of people, it is really easy for them to cut into your profit—not to mention that you are paying them to steal!
For more information contact us: Internal Theft or call 1.770.426.0547