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. 

I Want Shoplifters To Steal From My Store!

Really?? Is that what you are thinking? Because if you do not have an active shoplifting prevention plan that you work, then you might as well put up a sign that says “Shoplift Here Because We Do Not Care!” That is what the shoplifters hear and see.  

So to have a great plan in place for shoplifters to steal, here are the things you need to do: 

  • Poor customer service. Shoplifters love it when they come into your store and the customer service is lax, mediocre or simply non-existent. They do not need your help to steal, just privacy. 
  • Make sure you do not train your employees to spot and/or deter shoplifters. Lazy, untrained store staff are the shoplifter’s best friend. You really cannot say “steal my stuff” better than that. 
  •  DO NOT BUY a Sensormatic anti-shoplifting system from Loss Prevention Systems! We are in the business of shutting down shoplifters. 
  • Make sure that you keep the lighting dim. Do not replace lights when they go out especially in dark, hidden areas of your store. It makes the shoplifter’s job easier. 
  • Do not put those pesky little Sensormatic hard tags and labels on your merchandise. It hurts the shoplifter’s ability to resell your stuff.  
  • Make sure that your staff never greets anyone when they come in. If you are not going to supply good customer service anyway do not bother to look up from your smart phone. You certainly do not want to have a low score in that on-line game you are playing. Besides, greeting shoplifters makes them feel uncomfortable because they have been noticed. 
  • Make sure shoplifters have a clear unobstructed path out of your doors. That way the arm load of merchandise they have in hidden or in plain sight does not get in their way. Actually it will make it more convenient for them to load up even more. 
  • If you want to at least feel a little better about all this put up signs that say “No Shoplifting” or “Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted”. This sends a clear signal to the shoplifters that you have no clue about what it takes to stop them. It is kind of like that old joke; putting up shoplifting signs is like wetting your pants in a dark suit. You feel warm but no one notices. 
  • If you do spot a shoplifter, do not stop them. This is the best way to spread the word in the shoplifting world. They will flock to you like flies to….. They will clean you out just in time to move in next season’s merchandise. Hey, this also saves you time and payroll dollars in the inventory process since there is less to count. 
  • Make sure you have a CCTV system since shoplifters do not care about cameras. They know you do not have the payroll dollars to watch them full time and they know that they will be long gone before you would have any opportunity to review the recording. 

On the other hand shoplifting prevention is not all that difficult. Just do the opposite of the items listed above. We can help you with all of it from procedures, training and the installation of a brand new Sensormatic system. 

Building Structure And Design To Discourage Theft

When stores are put together it is usually designed with appearance and functionality in mind. What you may not have thought about is how the structure and layout of a store might be helpful in discouraging shoplifting and other crimes. Have you ever paid attention to the gas station store layouts? Often the cashier island is in the center of the building and raised higher than the rest of the store. Low fixtures allow almost complete visibility of all areas of the store. It may not seem too important but if you have worked in Loss Prevention you know that this is an intentional design that helps reduce theft. By placing the employees higher they can see over customer’s heads and view what is happening in more parts of the store. Shorter gondola shelving may hamper how much merchandise can be displayed but by the same token visibility is enhanced. Those hiding places that shoplifters tend to congregate to become much harder to find.  

     It is important for store owners to keep theft in mind as they are planning how they are going to design their stores. Here are some additional ideas that you can consider as you build a store or perhaps redesign an existing one: 

  • Corral areas where high theft items are stocked. Corralling is the use of gondolas and cash register stands to create an enclosed department. There is only one way in and out and that requires passing the register. This design gives the managers a lot of control over the area and makes theft much more difficult. The drawback to a corralled department is that an employee has to always be dedicated to the department. That means it becomes a payroll expense. Many large chains that were utilizing this concept have moved away from it due in part to the cost of running it. It also ties down an employee who could otherwise help in other areas. 
  • Bright lighting throughout the store is important. Criminals seek shadows and darkness to cover their activity especially dark corners. Make these areas uninviting to crooks. Ensure you have lighting that hits every part of the store. This should include your stockrooms as well. Shoplifters are not the only criminals that will take advantage of your building, dishonest employees will too. 
  • For fire exit doors ensure the egress bars are set up with delays. Frequently shoplifters will fill up a shopping cart or bag with merchandise and hit a fire door with a getaway car parked right outside. A thief doesn’t want anything that will delay their exit from a building. A delay on a fire exit doesn’t have to be a long one but it does activate the door alarm when the egress bar is pushed. This alerts employees that a fire door is about to open and if someone is nearby they can respond to it quickly. A sign is required to be placed on the door or the bar alerting people that the door does have a delay. This can discourage many potential grab and run shoplifting incidents. 
  • Bollards or decorative barriers such as cement planters set up at the edge of the sidewalk outside of the front door(s) are an important feature. The use of such barriers discourage a vehicle being from driven through the entrance in a crash and run theft. 
  • Electronic article surveillance towers at all entrance and exit doors are a powerful deterrent to theft. Shoplifters become aware that anti-theft measures are in place as soon as they walk into the store. Using towers at employee accessible doors discourages associates from stealing from the workplace. A word of caution, don’t set up dummy towers and think you will achieve the same results. Criminals will figure out what is going on. Use Sensormatic equipment and Sensormatic tags and labels to get the real protection your store needs. 
  • Have counterfeit bill scanners and cash drop boxes at each register. Cashiers can scan all $20, $50 and $100 bills to prevent fraud. The drop box is used to remove the threat potential of short change artists, till tappers and even robberies. 
  • Finally, though they may seem expensive a few strategically placed cameras and Public View monitors can aid your managers in moving thieves out of hard to see locations.  

Store design has a direct influence on theft and crime. Putting barriers up that will hinder crime and eliminating those obstacles that prevent your team from seeing your customers can improve the security of your building. Remove crime and you make your store safer while also making a positive impact on profits.                                                

Why Quality Background Checks Matter: The Benefits Of Using AMC

Hiring employees is hard enough for retail owners without the pressures of hiring seasonal staff during the holidays as many stores are now doing. Under normal circumstances, managers and owners of retail businesses are stretched thin keeping a store operating efficiently. When turnover occurs more time is taken up as those managers are forced to focus their energies on filling holes in the weekly schedule. Job ads are posted and often paper applications are handed out as interested persons come in to respond to the ad or a “Help Wanted” sign posted in a window. Then there is the security risk that is involved in the hiring of new employees whether they are seasonal or to be a regular member of a team. A new hire carries an unknown quality and there is always the off chance that with even the best interview a criminal can slip between the cracks, the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

     At Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. we are well aware of the challenges the hiring process poses, especially in the small to mid-size store market. In order to streamline the Human Resources piece of your business and to significantly reduce the chances that criminals will be brought on board in the process, we have introduced the Applicant Management Center (AMC). Here are some of the featured benefits we offer to employers that use our AMC to fill positions regardless of the tenure of that position:

  • Employers that rely on paper applications or in-store job kiosks limit applicants to hours of store operating hours. The Applicant Management System offered by LPSI provides interested parties 24/7 access your job application.
  • With the AMC employers can advertise an unlimited number of positions.
  • Have you dealt with sifting through untold numbers of applications, many of which are from people with none of the qualifications you are looking for in an employee? By using the AMC services of LPSI you have the ability to create qualifying questions that will flag responses. By doing so you can eliminate unqualified candidates from your applicant pool and streamline the hiring process.
  • Enjoy the benefit of communicating with applicants directly through the Applicant Management System. No more sorting through applications, typing in email addresses or risking emailing the wrong person.
  • Then there are those very real concerns over increased security risks that come with hiring. The Applicant Management Center assists store owners with mitigating concerns of hiring someone who may pose safety and/or security related problems. Owners can initiate pre-employment background checks on applicants directly through the AMC. Taylor those background checks to include what is important to you, driving records, education, criminal history, sex offender registries and so much more.
  • Drug Screening can also be initiated through the AMC helping you to eliminate illegal substance users who may cause accidents to themselves or customers. They can also be potential thieves trying to support a habit. LPSI can reduce the chances you hire someone with a drug use problem.
  • How about credit checks? Who wants to take a chance of hiring a person with a poor credit history to work around cash or a point of sale for that matter? All consent and agreement forms to conduct credit checks, background checks and drug screenings can be maintained, signed and stored in one central location in the AMC.
  • Last but not least the AMC is affordable! There is no need to break the bank to improve your hiring process.

For those readers still feeling unsure about the AMC and the background check process Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. is offering free demos of our product. LPSI recognizes that there is a direct relationship between the hiring process and store profitability. We can help you avoid hiring pitfalls. Use the Applicant Management Center and save yourself time, money and unnecessary shortage during this holiday season and throughout the year.


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.


Shoplifting, Employee and Vendor Theft: Is There A Solution?

Employee theft, shoplifting, and vendor theft are problems that the retail industry faces every single day without a clear solution. The billions of dollars lost to these crimes is a constant problem for retailers, and the losses have to be accounted for someplace else, and they need to make them up somehow to minimize their losses.  The amount of sales retailers need to cover any losses is significant and not easy to do. Is preventing the loss the first step to stop the crime? Read more about this topic by clicking the links below.


Wage Theft and Shoplifting: Same Cost, Different Deterrents

The treatment of these two kinds of crime, however, are completely different.

Many more resources go into trying to deter, detect, and punish the guy trying to pinch a video game system off the shelf at the local big-box store than into the grand theft the store itself may be perpetrating against its own employees—even if the retailer is taking millions of dollars from workers’ paychecks. It’s one more way that the economic crimes of the powerful are treated far less seriously than the transgressions of those with less power.


Task force teaches businesses how to thwart fraud, theft

The enormous number of ways criminals can defraud shoppers and business owners requires increasing awareness about how to combat their efforts, Greenwich police detective and state financial crimes task force member Mark Solomon told attendees of a Monday panel on how to combat identity theft and retail fraud.

“It’s a constant cat-and-mouse game — there’s always a vulnerability criminals will learn to exploit,” Solomon said during his presentation. “It’s not if (criminals) do have our information, but how many times over they have it.”

Due to its wealth and slowness to adopt more secure credit card technology, the United States has become a prime target for cybercrime and fraud, according to Solomon and his co-presenter Christopher Riley, resident agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Connecticut financial crimes task force.


Employee retail theft soars says new report

When it comes to insider theft and employee dishonesty, the news is not good for the nation’s retailers. At least that is what Mark Doyle, president of Jack L. Hayes International, one of the leading loss prevention and inventory shrink control consulting firms in the world, confides as the group announced the results from their 29th Annual Retail Theft Survey this week.

The 23 large retailers who were surveyed comprise 16,038 stores across the country with over $370 billion in sales in 2016 and they reported 438,000 incidents of shoplifting and employee theft where suspects were apprehended. A staggering $120 million was recovered by retailers from these thieves.

“The five-year trend shows a continued increase in employee theft in both apprehensions and recovery dollars.  This past year is the first decline, which was very minimal, in both shoplifting apprehensions and recovery dollars. In four of the past five years both shoplifting and employee theft apprehensions and recovery dollars have increased, and in many cases, this is with a reduced loss prevention/asset protection staff.  The losses are real and the theft problem is only getting worst,” says Doyle.


 

Defective Hiring

Would you knowingly buy a car with a defective engine? Of course not! So why would you hire a “defective employee”?

My definition of a defective employee is one with a criminal history, horrible credit history, has lied on their application and more.

Getting this kind of problem child in your business is asking for trouble you don’t need or have time for. On top of that, do you really want someone who has stolen, committed violent acts or worse in the environment you are trying to build? That person then wastes your hard earned resources including payroll, training and time by causing the same aggravation they have for others. But this time you have to deal with them.

Do you know what the most lied about item is on an application? It is not pay, experience or even that they really do not have a sunny disposition.  It is the dates of employment from their previous jobs. Let’s say they have had three previous jobs. They got fired from number two so they stretch the dates of number one and three and whoosh job number two never existed. As employers we want to have it all including the good, bad and especially the ugly. This allows us to make better hiring decisions. 

We can find this out for you. The criminal acts, thefts, assaults, DUI’s, rapes, illegal drug convictions and more. Oh yes, we can even find those jobs they are not telling you about and get the dates of employment. 

You do not want a car that breaks down as soon as you drive it off the lot. Why would you want the same thing in an employee? Contact us today; we can start pre-employment background checks for you right away.  In most cases we have same or next day results.