Employee theft is a challenge for any small business retailer. The cost of theft depends on how the business manages the theft situation. To minimise the cost of theft, retailers are advised to follow these simple to implement strategies. They have been developed by our small business retail support team here at Tower Systems over many years of helping small business retailers through our POS software.
- Pay above award wages. The quality of your employees is up to you. If you’re doing your job you have good employees. Value them. Pay above award. HR and business psychology experts say this will reduce theft.
- Talk to them. Ask for their honest comments about the business. The more they feel, genuinely feel, valued, the less likely they are to steal from you.
- No employee bags at the counter.
- Clear refund policy. Type the policy up and put it on the wall for customers and employees to see. Cover, for example, age of transaction, management approval, that you need their name, address, phone number and signature – such requirements will stop abuse.
- Offer good discounts to employees. Let employees buy products from you at your cost or just above it. This respects them as part of your team and it reduces the chances of them being tempted to steal what they want from you.
- Don’t take cash out of the til yourself. If employees see you take money out for items like a coffee or your lunch they will feel invited to do the same.
- Roster mix up. Change your roster regularly. It is common that a roster change will show you a theft problem you never thought was there.
- Roster rules. Don’t have friends working with friends if they are the only ones rostered on.
- Speed humps. Have a day where you turn on receipts for ALL customers. Then a day where you require that everything is scanned (as opposed to using hot keys and the like). These changes will keep employees and customers off guard and make it easier for you to spot problems. It will also keep you on your guard and that’s good for the business.
- Spend more time at the counter. The further you are from the action in your business the greater the opportunity for you to be ripped off. Spend time where the action is – unexpectedly.
- Balance the register during the day. Do this every so often. Again to keep people on their toes. It is also good practice.
- Don’t let employees ring their own purchases up.
- Don’t let employees sell to family and friends.
- Your local council. Many local councils offer theft prevention training and help as do some local police. (Local U.S. police stations are considerably more active in this area.)
- Beware of popularity. There is anecdotal evidence that the more popular the employee the more likely they are the one stealing from you.