When your business is losing money, you need to dig deep and find out what’s happening. Are shoplifters coming in and taking your merchandise? Are vendors charging and crediting you correctly? Do you have an employee that’s stealing? That last one is typically the hardest one for business owners and managers to see. Whether they are embezzling cash or taking merchandise out the back door, it all adds up, and you take the hit for it. Identifying and stopping employee theft has to be a part of your business plan.
Every employee should know your policies and expectations. Whether it is ringing up merchandise, taking the payment, or processing a refund correctly, they should all receive consistent training, and even sign off they understand and will abide by that standard of performance that you have set. Proper training could be your number one priority to put a stop to employee theft.
I sat in on an interview of an employee caught committing refund fraud. The store manager discovered some high dollar refunds on items returned without receipts. When a customer returned an item without the proof of purchase, they were supposed to receive a store credit, but that was not happening when this employee was on duty with a particular manager. The only way to override and give cash back was by scanning a manager’s card. During the interview, he said when a certain manager on duty, they did not want to be interrupted. Rather than be called away from their assigned task, their solution was to leave their manager card at the front register with the cashier. At first he only used it for legitimate purposes, like voiding an item a customer changed their mind about or actual customer refunds. After some time went by, he found he was in need of additional money for bills, but didn’t see how he could afford to make it on his current salary. He thought about it, realized his opportunity and took advantage of it. He felt he was in a financial crisis, and figured the company could spare some cash to help him out. So, when that manager on duty, and out of sight, he picked out some items from the sales floor and refunded them at the register. Then he just pocketed the cash.
Was the manager that left the card with him also responsible for that employee theft? She claimed she wasn’t aware she wasn’t supposed to leave her card with the cashier. She said she only left it at first if she had to leave the store, like when she went to the bank, so if he had an issue, he wouldn’t have to make the customer wait for her to return. Then she started leaving it with the cashier during her shift so she could get her assigned work completed. Upon checking her employee file we discovered she had been rubber stamped through her training, and there were none of the sign-offs that would indicate otherwise. How can we leave someone in charge of our business when we are gone, if don’t give them all the tools they need to be successful? Common sense isn’t always so common, and if we don’t share our knowledge with our employees, we can’t expect them to always get it right. Stopping employee theft starts with complete training.
For more information contact us at Stop Employee Theft or call 1.770.426.0547