Quit Stalling About Employee Theft

Every day I see news articles about employee theft. That does not even cover a fraction of the employee theft occurring both know or unknown. The fact is that approximately 45% of a Retailer’s losses are due to employees stealing. We focus so heavily on shoplifting that many times a Retailer misses the boat completely. Do not misinterpret what I am saying, shoplifting is responsible for about 35 percent of a Retailer’s losses. Which is also huge.

However, employees have access to your cash, supplies, and merchandise. Employees are generally trusted until they show us that they are not. Which may be too late! Many Retailers I have discussed this with over the years tell me that they trust their employees and treat them well. Therefore they would not steal from them. Those are the folks that have the worst losses and the biggest shock when it does happen. As human beings, we do not want to believe that someone would steal from us. We also are quick to turn a blind eye to the evidence even when it hits us in the head. We simply do not want to believe it.  

Another factor is that many Retailers do not know, understand and are afraid to do something. Will we make a mistake? Would we accuse someone of something they did not do? What civil and criminal consequences do we face? And the list goes on. This is yet another stalling factor for not doing anything. 

Quit stalling about employee theft. You face every other retail problem head on why not this. Educate yourself. We can help you with this. Make sure you know the signals of employee theft. Yes, employees who steal, act differently than other employees. You simply need to know what to listen and watch for. Do you “audit” your operation? For example, an audit can be as simple as making sure the Point-Of-Sale balances every day and if it does not, find out why. I have seen many Owners and Managers that say if the drawer is short $5 or less, they do not look into it because “it is not worth my time”, REALLY??? THAT IS SO WRONG and dangerous!!!! First by having a policy like this you are telling everyone that stealing $4.99 and below is okay. $4.99 times 365 days a year is a loss of $1,821.35. Oh, and that kind of theft WILL lead to larger and more frequent employee theft. 

Over my career, I have investigated, interrogated and put in jail somewhere north of 2300 employees for theft. The vast majority of those employees that were stealing did it for the same reasons. Many still stole even those the boss was “good to them”. I have seen employees that had been loaned large amounts of money by their employer, employees that were being put through school by their employer steal with no regret except for being caught. 

We can train you to spot employee theft and what to do about it when you suspect and find it. It is not hard to do. We can show you how to “test” employees to see if they are stealing. We can help you build the confidence to be on the offense, not the defense.  Your good employees will not care or suffer. In fact, they will help you. You just need to know how to proceed. 

Would you knowingly buy a car that had major engine and transmission problems? Probably not. So why would you hire someone with a criminal record? Why would you not find out that they have problems with violence, theft, drugs and worse when it is so simple, fast and cost-effective to do so? We can help you with that also. We conduct pre-employment screening, drug testing and more, nationwide. Look at it this way, you interview, select, employ, train, invest in an employee just to find out the hard way that they are very familiar with employee theft? When a pre-employment screening costs $20 how can you afford not to. Drug testing is also very inexpensive. You can quickly, cheaply and easily have a pre-employment drug testing done on all of your employment candidates when you offer them the position. Again, we conduct pre-employment screening and drug testing nationwide. 

You control every other aspect of your business, why would you not take more control of employee theft? Contact us today or call toll free 1-866-914-2567. 

Is Pre-Employment Drug Screening Worthwhile In Today’s Culture?

There are many ways for store owners to reduce the risk of employee theft and fraud. Background checks supplement interviews and screening questions on a job application. Manager training to know the signs and indicators that a worker may be engaging in theft activity of some sort is another preventative step. Electronic Article Surveillance systems and tags are helpful in deterring shoplifters and dishonest employees. Certainly Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), Public View monitors and mandatory package checks before leaving work all play a part in preventing internal criminal activity. One of the best tools an employer can use to reduce the chance they will even hire a thief in the first place is the use of pre-employment drug screening. The prospective employee would go to the lab, fill the cup and labs would send off the sample to have it checked for illegal substances. That has been the most common of the drug tests and many employers have relied on it to help them keep their stores profitable and safe. 

     Is this still an effective method for owners to use? With states loosening their own laws surrounding marijuana use it is a mixed bag. Not all states are legalizing it and it is still a federal crime to use, grow, distribute or possess it. So if you are in a state where it is still a crime to use marijuana and an applicant applies to a job with your company but he/she comes from a state where it has been “legalized” do you have them take a pre-employment drug test? What happens if they take the test and results show they use marijuana, do you not hire them even though it was “legal” where they came from? This can pose a dilemma for store owners. If you do hire them, do you put yourself at risk for discriminating against someone from your own state who failed and did not get hired based on that result? 

     Leaving the marijuana out of the equation for the moment, there is still room for drug testing in the workplace, both pre-screening and random drug testing of employees. Drug screening can identify other illegal substances in addition to marijuana. According to thebalancecareers.com, “A typical drug test for employment purposes screens for drugs including amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, nicotine, and alcohol.” While you may decide to overlook positive results for marijuana you can still turn down applicants for the other drugs. States may be legalizing marijuana but the debates about the safety and effects of the drug on behavior remain a concern. Just because it is legal does not mean you necessarily want someone who uses this drug or any other drug working for your business. Pre-employment drug screening is still an effective tool in your efforts to combat theft and safety concerns. 

     Why test for drugs in the first place? By testing and screening out applicants who test positive you significantly reduce the risk of hiring someone who very well may steal from your store. It may be cash or merchandise but they have a habit to feed and they still have bills to pay and they are not going to feed that habit on a retail job. Working in the store gives them access to money and merchandise that will provide the resources for their addiction. Another reason to test is to keep your store safe. Someone who is illegally using drugs or coming to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be a cause of an accident or can be the victim of an injury in the workplace incurred while under the influence. Whether they cause the accident or are the victim of an accident, you can end up paying for it. There is also the safety of your other employees to consider. Someone under the influence of the wrong drugs can be unstable and volatile. What is it that is going to trigger a violent action on their part? Giving them a direction or task they don’t want to do? How about a customer that says something that sets off your employee. There is no place for violence or theft in the workplace and pre-employment drug screening can help prevent both from happening. 

Sensormatic & Loss Prevention Systems Join Forces

We are excited to announce our partnership with Johnson Controls/Sensormatic. Sensormatic is one of the oldest and largest Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) manufactures in the world. Loss Prevention Systems has deep loss prevention and EAS experience.

We are offering the entire Sensormatic line of Acousto Magnetic (AM) products to our customers. We will still carry RF products such as hard tags, labels and high theft product protection. Acousto Magnetic systems by Sensormatic give us solutions to fix a number of issues that traditional RF cannot handle. This includes labels applied directly to metal and systems that can handle wider door widths.

Do you have a single doorway, double doorway or a mall entrance? Sensormatic can cover it. Tired of shoplifters taking merchandise into your restrooms and concealing it? We can fix that problem also. From an EAS standpoint, there is not much we cannot do. Challenge the Loss Prevention Systems team to design a system to fit your needs and budget.

Loss Prevention Systems’ choice of Sensormatic is also based on the quality of the systems. Sensormatic systems are extremely robust. They include features such as low power consumption, door frame and hidden systems that keep the Retailers’ storefront looking neat and clean while protecting your merchandise 24/7.

Pricing is also a factor. Sensormatic line of systems will fit a wide range of budgets depending on the features you select. We also have people counting, and data reporting. This gives the Retailer important intelligence on customer traffic and flow. We have seen many of our customer’s significantly reduce expenses in both payroll and operating costs by having this data. Store hours can be adjusted and you can adjust staffing to fit the real world.

Want more? How about having your Sensormatic EAS systems online and monitored at all times? This allows us to know if the system has been turned off or if it has maintenance or other issues. We then notify you. You no longer have to solely rely on your staff to discover that the system has an issue sometimes days or weeks later. By that time shoplifters have had a party on your dime.

On top of this Loss Prevention Systems now has a free shipping program for the purchase and installation of a Sensormatic system. One more way we are saving you money.

A typical Sensormatic system can be installed in one day. This minimizes the interruption in your store.

Of course, Loss Prevention Systems still provides free, live loss prevention training to our customers for the life of your EAS system. We will conduct any of our live sessions as often as you reasonably need them. Staff turnover? Promotions? Changes in product lines? Our training sessions include the following.  

     

We include so many other services that Loss Prevention Systems can be your one stop shop for loss prevention support. So experience our award-winning service and support. Our goal is to keep your hard earned money on your bottom line, not the shoplifters.


Lighten Your Load With Applicant Management Center

National retail chain stores often rely on a management team to handle all of the daily operations of a business. These positions vary from company to company but depending on the size and sales volume of that retailer there are different managers to oversee diverse functions. There may be soft lines and hardlines department managers, a freight manager, Human Resource Manager and a store manager. Some stores might only have a sales floor manager, freight manager, and a store manager who also functions as the human resources manager. For an independent business owner, these sub-managers might be a luxury that is not affordable to them. That means it is up to the store manager to oversee all store functions and if an employee calls out that may be one more job the manager fills for a day. This takes me back to an old saying I have heard, “Work smarter, not harder”. It is not possible for a store owner or a single manager to effectively perform all of the tasks associated with running a store every single day. Finding ways to lighten the load and improve efficiency can make life much better for a retail owner.

     One of the areas of business that can take up a significant portion of time is the hiring process and tracking all the paperwork that goes with it. From the Society for Human Resource Management (shrm.org) 2017 Talent Acquisition Benchmarking some statistics related to hiring and recruiting that are pertinent to this topic:

  • 22% of organizations used automated prescreening to review job applicants’ resumes in 2016
  • The average time to fill a position was 36 days in 2016
  • The average cost- per- hire was $4,425 in 2016
  • Employees within their first year of employment accounted for 26% of all separations
  • Position responsible for recruiting applicants for nonexecutive openings: HR Generalist 48%, in-house recruiter 25%, Hiring Manager 16%, Third-Party recruiter/staffing agency 3%, Other 8%
  • Selection Techniques Used to Assess Candidates (non-exempt ( hourly) Nonmanagement), references 65%, phone screening 65%, one-on-one interview 68%, In-person screening 50%, structured interview 32%

As we look closer at these statistics it is important to note 89% of recruiting for nonexecutive openings is conducted by a Human Resources Manager, Hiring Manager or In-House Recruiter. Bigger retail stores may be able to afford a position to conduct this workload but in your case, that obligation falls to you. Now take that workload and consider that 26% of separations from your company are likely to happen within an employee’s first year AND it takes 36 days on average to fill that position. Over 1/12th of your year is tied up with extra work associated with an open position for just 1 vacancy. This is not taking into account the time you will spend training the new employee when you do get them hired.  In your hiring process, you are going to contact references, phone screen with an applicant, conduct a one-on-one interview and there may well be some type of structured interview. Don’t forget you will still be running the store as you go through this process. It only makes sense that an alternative resource has to be out there that can ease this burden.

      Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. offers just such a solution with the Applicant Management Center. This system allows you to post job ads and applicants can apply for them 24/7. Rather than having to comb through stacks of applications you have the ability to set up screening questions that will eliminate many unqualified applicants, saving you valuable time. Not only will unqualified candidates be weeded out of your hiring pool, you also cut down on the time you spend interviewing applicants who don’t meet your minimum job requirements. It is important to recognize that if you can get the right people on your team in the first place you are unlikely to lose them within that 1-year window. That means not spending time hiring, not spending $4,425 hiring and not spending hours training a new employee. There is a myriad of benefits when managers are using the Applicant Management System.

     One final thought to share. Turnover can have a dramatic impact on a business as can drug use and prior criminal history that often lead to employee theft issues and losses leading to turnover. The Applicant Management System provides the ability to initiate drug screening and background checks which helps managers protect their stores from undesirable employees. In turn, owners improve retail shrinkage, cash losses, store safety and profits. Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. can lighten your workload and improve profits all with the help of the Applicant Management System.  Work smarter, not harder.


Why Should I Care If An Employee Uses Illegal Drugs On Their Own Time?

Because like alcohol abuse, both legal and illegal drug use, affects your bottom line. This issue never has a happy ending and it will never go away unless you meet it head-on.

Drug abuse affects your bottom line through poor performance, high numbers of no call/no shows, risk to customer and employee safety, high workers comp claims, bad elements frequenting your business, customers shying away from your business and much, much more.

If you operate in a State that has essentially de-criminalized marijuana use, you have an even bigger exposure. Employees that feel empowered to get high on a frequent basis and come to work in that condition, are a threat to your livelihood. State law does not relieve you of liability. Marijuana use and possession are still illegal under Federal law. Even if the Federal law was to change, you would still be liable for your employee’s actions while they are at work. It is just the same as an employee that is under the influence of alcohol while at work.

But you probably suspected or knew this already. What you cannot do is look the other way. Your plan should start with hiring, as competently as you can. I teach pre-employment interviewing live, via webinar to LPSI customers free of charge. A candidate will likely tell you if they abuse drugs, you simply need to know how to ask the question. These techniques also apply to employee theft from their previous employers. You just need to know how to ask.

A solid Applicant Management Center (AMC) will allow you to keep track of the application and their information. We have an excellent AMC that is also so inexpensive that it is a no-brainer. No more paper applications to keep up with.

Next, you must conduct a background investigation (okay, we do that too). A search of the candidate’s criminal record, credit (if necessary), education and a drug screen will give you a much better idea of who you are hiring.

Drug testing is simple and inexpensive. Our customers approve the candidate for the drug test and our online system allows the candidate to locate and schedule the test at a lab near them. Our nationwide system then tracks the progress. Results are given to you automatically. We can advise you on what substances you should include in your testing. Tests that come back positive are automatically reviewed by an M.D.

So now that this is out of the way, we need to return to the reason why you should require drug testing. Imagine this: one of your employees in the process of doing their job, is under the influence of a substance, and they injure one of your customers, accidentally. In today’s climate that incident will be known far and wide. None of us want to be on the five o’clock news with the headline “Customer injured at insert your company’s name here by an employee that was high”.

Need more? People who use illegal drugs attract other people who use illegal drugs. The whole birds of a feather, flock together scenario. And in my 40+ years of Loss Prevention and Law Enforcement experience, I can tell you that the financial pressure that illegal drugs puts on a person will make them likely to steal to support their needs. Illegal drugs WILL lead to employee theft regardless of how well you think your employees like you and company.

Fix the issue before it becomes a financial drain and a liability to YOUR business and livelihood. Contact us today for more information.