Employee theft is a problem that all businesses should be wary of, if they aren’t already. It doesn’t discriminate against company size, industry or location.
The 2018 National Retail Security Survey, conducted by the retail trade association National Retail Federation and Dr. Richard Hollinger of the University of Florida, measured retail employer loss and the methods utilized to try and prevent it, finding that “the average dollar loss per dishonest employee was $1,203.16.”
Consequently, it’s important for employers to implement company practices that can aid in decreasing internal dishonesty, or even thwarting it altogether.
There are numerous strategies to help businesses prevent employee retail theft, including installing a security system, properly educating employees, and implementing an effective inventory system.
Install an advanced security system.
With ever-changing and improving technology, today’s business security systems possess a wide range of features to protect against both external and internal threats. These systems can connect high-definition cameras, which can be installed in and around the property, to a desired smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer, for real-time surveillance. As a result, employers can monitor their businesses minute-by-minute, second-by-second. Any questionable employee behavior, whether involving theft or even poor customer assistance or employee disputes, can be captured and reviewed.
Properly educate employees on the company’s internal theft policy.
“Fifteen percent of employees whose stores use inventory management software admit to stealing from their store, versus 22 percent of employees whose stores use other methods,”
The aforementioned survey suggests: “To deter this type of shrink” or inventory loss, “retailers continue to focus on increasing awareness and training programs.”
It’s important for businesses to properly educate their employees about the company theft policy. This should be available in print and/or digitally for them to review at any time, and include specific examples (i.e., taking money from the cash register), consequences for these offenses, and ways to report such theft, such as calling an anonymous employee hotline, so upper management can look into it. Upper management should likewise be trained on the necessary steps required when an employee informs them of internal misconduct.
Implement an effective inventory system.
It can be difficult to determine if anyone, whether an employee or consumer, stole from a business if the company doesn’t have an effective inventory system in place.
According to a survey conducted by Software AdviceTM, an online service that reviews software applications for businesses, companies that utilize inventory management software appear to experience less issues with employee theft than those without it.
Software AdviceTM states: “Twenty-eight percent of employees whose stores use inventory management software say internal theft is a problem, compared to 37 percent of those whose stores use other methods for managing inventory.”
“Fifteen percent of employees whose stores use inventory management software admit to stealing from their store, versus 22 percent of employees whose stores use other methods,” it continues.