Not All Training To Stop Shoplifting Is Equal
Is your training for your managers on how to stop shoplifting adequate? How can you even know if it is working as you intended it to work? The thought came to me after an incident took place today at the library where I work. Our department goes through fire training at least once every two years with our campus Assistant Fire Marshall. We learn about the different types of fires we could encounter and when and how to use fire extinguishers on them. We learn how to look for the appropriate markings on the label of the fire extinguisher so we know if it can be used for a specific type of fire. But short of having an actual fire do you really know if you are prepared for it? There’s nothing like a real-life incident to give you an idea if your training was adequate. The same can be said for training to stop theft. No, I am not advocating that you send your managers out looking for a shoplifter to detain to see if they have absorbed whatever training they have been provided.
If the manager training to stop shoplifting is done well your management team will recall the information when they need to use it. Preferably, it will come as second nature and become an automatic reflex. Take for instance a scenario in which one of your managers sees someone filling a backpack with merchandise. What is the reaction going to be? Do they know how to approach the person filling the bag and what should and should not be said? Are your managers going to make an accusation that can get the store in trouble? Will your managers try to act like a Security Officer and follow the suspect though the store until they get to an exit door and then jump in front and try to detain them? All sorts of bad images come to my mind as I picture people with inadequate training trying to stop shoplifting and not having the skills they need.
You may laugh at the scenarios but I have seen managers attempt to play Loss Prevention and it was not pretty. They have almost gotten themselves hurt and in a couple of situations nearly contributed to me being injured. In these cases the managers had good intentions but instead of listening to my direction as Loss Prevention Manager they reacted out of emotion. One of the first things we teach new Loss Prevention Associates is NOT to take things personally and that if a situation gets out of hand to disengage. Do YOU teach this in your manager training to Stop Shoplifting?
People are going to react to high-intensity situations differently but one thing that has got to become second nature is not allowing emotion to dictate how a situation is handled. Panic, fear, anxiety, even excitement are all emotions that are experienced when we observe someone we believe is in the act of stealing. Proper training will teach managers how to control those emotions, approach the individual and address the situation without getting into an argument or making accusations. The feelings will still be there but they will be kept under control.
So what does all of this have to do with my fire training in a library? The other day a student employee reported to me that two patrons had reported that smoke was coming from a power outlet in a study room. A co-worker and I went to the room to investigate and there was smoke as was reported. I directed my co-worker to call our campus emergency number and I had the students leave the room. I located a fire extinguisher outside the room and checked to be sure it could be used on an electrical fire (as our training had taught us). I pulled the pin on the extinguisher and waited by the outlet since there was no fire and my co-worker waited for fire officials to arrive. There was no immediate threat of flames so I made the decision not to pull a fire alarm. The fire Marshall and an assistant arrived, took over and said we had done everything properly. No, I am not a fire official but I had good training and was able to put it to use.
Training from someone with experience in a particular field who knows how to address situations is always going to be rewarded with better results than training from a book or someone who has not worked in a job or task. Manager training to stop shoplifting is important and can keep your staff safe and greatly limit the potential of making bad stops or making false accusations. Do your managers a favor and get them the right training from the right people.
For more information about manager training to stop shoplifting contact us or call 1.866.914.2567