Did you know employee theft is one of the biggest concerns for retailers in the U.S., but also worldwide?
According to the Global Retail Theft Barometer for 2014, 28 percent of the total inventory shrinkage in the retail industry was due to theft by dishonest employees.
Together with shoplifting, employee theft accounted for more than 65 percent of the shrinkage in 2014. This translated into an average cost of $403 per American household.
Why is Employee Theft Happening?
There are many reasons why employee theft is high in the retail realm.
Many employees feel they’re not being paid enough according to their experience, or they are overworked. So, they feel entitled to take a company’s goods.
As well, there’s often a lack of training and a lack of communication between mid-level management and employees. Employees want to be heard, to know they count and to know someone cares about them.
The temporary status of workers is another cause of employee theft. From the lower wages compared to full-time positions, to feelings of not belonging to the company, being employed for only a short time increases the risk of stealing.
Big retailers have systems in place to reduce such stealing. While small and medium-sized retailers don´t have the systems or the budgets the big guys have, there are steps they can take to reduce employee theft and create a more pleasant working environment.
5 Ways to Reduce Employee Theft
1. Internal Procedures
With a relatively high staff turnover – when compared to other industries – retail business owners should work side by side with their HR departments to implement standard policies and procedures. This will ensure the smooth operation of their company and help with new employee orientation.
Incorporate procedures such as:
• Perimeter access control
• Scanning policy
• Employee shopping policy
• Employee integrity policy
• Receiving and shipping policy
• No-sale, refund policy
All of these proactive measures can help minimize employee theft over the long term.
2. Background Screening and Training
Conducting a detailed employment background screening process for potential hires, whether for full-time or part-time positions, is another way to make sure you hire the right people for your organization.
But, your work as a business owner does not stop here.
There must be time allotted to ensuring the appropriate training for your employees. Going over the “do’s and the don’ts” along with explaining the policies and procedures that are in place, are necessary steps in reducing the desire to steal.
3. Sense of Belonging
The sense of belonging to a team creates loyalty towards your company. The feeling employees are being heard, and their opinions count is the foundation for building allegiance on your team.
And, when your employees feel they are part of a team and part of your company´s culture, they are less likely to steal.
To start building a sense of belonging, regularly ask your employees about their job satisfaction, interest level in their work and opinion about their job.
4. Surveillance System
Having a good surveillance system in place makes everyone conscious and less likely to take things that don´t belong to them.
5. Get to Know Your Employees
Start taking the time to know your employees. Become interested in their life outside of work and work on helping them become better at their jobs. These simple things are a sure way to have happy employees. And a happy employee is usually an honest employee.
Work Together to Reduce Employee Theft in Your Business
Employee theft is a huge factor directly affecting businesses and customer service.
But, with aggressive employment screening measures and clearly stated policies, you’ll be able to quickly weed out any poor candidates. By implementing these measures, it will spare you
many headaches in the long run and earn you loyal workers, decreasing the chances of employee theft.