Over the years we have developed considerable expertise in helping retailers cut employee theft. We package and offer theft management advice in our online training, advice sheets and other forums. Here are ten recommendations for cutting employee theft in just about any retail business:
- Prepare a written theft management policy and post this in a public area of the back room of the business for all employees to see.
- Use Point of Sale software which offers strong theft management tools.
- Only employ people prepared to undergo a police check.
- Install a security camera system connected with your Point of Sale software.
- Review the security footage and other business data to look for theft occurrences.
- Enforce zero tolerance for abuse of systems. For example, ensure that every item sold at the sales counter is scanned. Good software will show if this is being done.
- Implement zero tolerance for an end of shift discrepancy when balancing the takings of the business. A $5.00 outage should be the maximum allowed.
- Remove the ability to delete sales from the computer system.
- Remove the opportunity to cancel sales – this is a common technique used by employees stealing as it can be used to trick customers that the sale has gone through.
- Change responsibilities – sometimes changing who handles money can uncover fraudulent behaviour.
- Change your timing. Habits are what allow people to think they can get away with theft.
A recent survey found that 40% of business owners who thought themselves to be theft free, actually had theft occur in their business within a 12 month period prior to survey. Of theft that is recognised, only 2.5% of it is witnessed, the rest only established by audit.Smart computer technology can witness theft better than humans. It can use pattern matching techniques to uncover hitherto undiscovered theft behaviour by employees and deliver evidence which authorities can use to achieve successful prosecution.
Employee theft can be cut in any retail business. All it takes is employer and management commitment and a dedication to maintaining strong business rules.