Employee Theft And The Hiring Process

Are you hiring someone who has the tendency to steal from their employer?  Hiring new employees for the season and for permanent positions is a difficult task in and of itself. But do you consider employee theft in the hiring process?

With little additional effort, you can screen out candidates that are prone to, or even have an ambivalent attitude towards theft from your company. The folks that are ambivalent tend to be the ones that will look the other way while others, both internal and external, steal from you and will not tell you that they suspect or see theft occurring. The normal excuse they give themselves and you, if confronted after the fact, is “I did not want to get involved” or “I am not a rat”. Both of these are copouts. But what you need to consider is that you, the owner or manager have probably set the foundation for this attitude.

To keep employees from stealing from you, you must start at the very first step in the employment process. When someone applies for a job, they need to understand that you will check their criminal background. You should have a separate background check release document from your company’s application. That sets the beginning of theft prevention.

During the interview process are you asking questions about employee theft and the candidate’s attitude towards it? If not, you are missing out on a very simple step that will reveal much more than you expected. These are questions that you can and should be asking. Loss Prevention Systems offers to our customers live, online training that is FREE of charge about this very subject. The seminar is titled “Pre-employment hiring: What they don’t tell you will HURT you”. This training teaches you and your staff how to ask better questions regarding loss prevention areas. Do you want to find out more about not only the candidate’s involvement in and attitude about employee theft but also what they have stolen from previous employers and their use of illegal drugs? This session will teach you those techniques.

Next, when you make the offer of employment and conduct their orientation, are you explaining your policy and procedures regarding theft? Do you let them know that it is THEIR obligation to bring any suspicion or actual theft to your attention immediately? It is a job requirement. They are getting paid by you for a job you hired them for. This includes loyalty to you and the company. But if you do not discuss it, how can you expect them to do what you ask?

Do you have a theft policy document or handbook that they must read and then they sign an acknowledgment receipt that is placed in their HR file? Again, if you are a customer of Loss Prevention Systems, we will provide you with a draft LP handbook that you can modify to fit your company. It lets the new employee know that the only thing they may take from the company is the air in their lungs. It also helps them to understand what they are to do for suspected or witnessed theft. If you are a Retailer, it also covers shoplifting.

Your next step is to reinforce this message with all employees at company meetings. This can be as simple as asking questions. Ask for a show of hands to a question like “Have you ever worked at a company where someone was caught stealing?” follow up with “how did that make you feel?’ or “How would you feel if you found out that a co-worker was stealing from the company?”. Most of the time employees respond with a feeling of betrayal, disbelief, shock, anger… You should then expand on those feelings with a discussion. Instead of you “preaching”, let them express their thoughts. You should simply guide the conversation. Ask employees what they think should happen to someone who was caught stealing from the company. You are likely to hear harsh terms like jail, arrest, fired, shot at sunrise and more. But just as important, observe the employees that take a disinterested, joking or mild approach. If they themselves are stealing, they are more likely to use softer words such as “get in trouble, lose their jobs, disciplined…” That does not mean that everyone who reacts in a more mild fashion is stealing. That may simply be their personality or they are uncomfortable talking about conflict type situations. But this does give you more insight into their thinking. Employees that mock or make fun of the conversation should, in my experience, be watched closely.

This process shows everyone that you are not afraid to discuss the topic and are prone to take action if it does occur. It also shows employees that have or will think about stealing from you that other employees will not tolerate their actions.

Start this process now! Do not wait. You want a good, profitable selling season. Contact us if you have questions or need assistance.

The Advantages of Hiring and Training Good Employees

A study done by the University of California at Berkley found that hiring a new employee costs an approximate $4,000 dollars per employee and in hiring for higher positions-professionals and management level employees-the figure increases to $7,000. If you are a small business, then the figure increases per every new employee you are trying to hire.  If you are a small business that offers other benefits to their employees, the cost increases considerably.  The importance of hiring quality employees, or training the employees you already have, are an economic advantage many businesses cannot pass.  Hiring and training new employees is expensive, why not do it right the first time? Background checks, and recommendations from other employers are not something you can take lightly.  Checked them before you hire, and it would likely paid dividends.

For more about this and other stories, follow the links below.

Loss Prevention Management Must Focus on Quality Recruitment and Retention

Loss prevention management has the power to improve understanding, morale, and workplace inclusion.

Let’s face it—the bottom line to any corporate organization is the profit margin. However, those in executive loss prevention management should always be mindful that quality of service drives the margin. Factors that lead to high-quality service are often the result of well-retained employees. Specifically, all management levels need to be mindful of what policies work, what don’t work, and what looks promising.

Recruitment and Training

Think back to when you first joined your company. What was your initial impression of the first few people you met when you went in for the initial interview? Do you remember their general attitude about the company?

Chances are that your initial impression was positive. Perhaps this is why you stayed. Do you think the same attitudes are being conveyed to new recruits today? If not, you might consider those colleagues who left the company. What was it about their experiences that differed from yours, that made them leave?

The Square Alliance met this morning to discuss ways to combat the increase in shoplifting in the hub of Oxford’s shopping. Business owners had a Q&A with OPD investigator Chris Case about how to prevent shoplifting and deal with those who are caught in the act.

Case provided tips in shoplifting prevention such as a more visible security system, keeping an eye out for suspicious activity and more. Business owners voiced their opinions and discussed certain tricks and trends that they’ve noticed shoplifters using to attempt to steal merchandise. Case mentioned that shoplifters will usually work in pairs rather than alone to attempt to distract workers while they commit the crime.

A heavy importance was placed on figuring out how to deal with shoplifters when they are caught in the act to find the balance of ensuring security but not overstepping the boundaries. Businesses and workers have the ability to recover stolen merchandise and keep the violator in the store until the authorities arrive, as long as they have probable cause. It is also unlawful to lock them in a small space such as a closet or use force.

Wal-Mart has a unique way to cut down on shoplifting

Wal-Mart has taken the law into its own hands. 

No, the company has not started its own jail, and any employee who wears a cape and fights crime must still do so on his own time. Instead, the retail chain has taken a new approach to fighting shoplifting that requires less involvement from the police. The retailer has been using a “restorative justice” program in 1,500 of its stores, according to The Gainesville Sun. That’s a program in which people deemed low-risk, first-time offenders are given the choice of paying to take an anti-shoplifting course rather than facing arrest and prosecution.

The effort is in its early days, but the results have been good so far. The company has seen a 35% reduction in calls to law enforcement nationwide since restorative justice programs were first implemented, Wal-Mart spokesman Ragan Dickens told The Sun in an email.

“No retailer is immune to the challenge of crime. We recognize the importance of this issue at the highest levels of the company, and we are investing in people and technology to support our stores,” he wrote, noting that police are not being cut out of the loop.