Avoiding Employee Theft-Help is On The Way!
Getting Your Mind Around Employee Theft
Most employees are honest provided we help them stay that way.
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Did you notice right off that the title says avoiding employee theft? Thats because I'm not so sure it's possible to stop employee theft all together. Its a sad commentary on our society today, but the sooner you understand that there are three key factors which cause theft in your store and elsewhere, the better off your bottom line will be. Any one of them are enough to create theft. They are as follows:
1. The ability for all of us to rationalize things we do, even when they are wrong. We all do it. Anyone driven over the speed limit lately? Many of us do it when it comes to having or stealing things. We make statements to ourselves such as They have more than enough. Hes not paying me enough anyway. My last boss screwed me, and I'm not going to let this one do the same. My kids need this more than they do. I once watched a vice president of General Motors get arrested for shoplifting! When an employee comes up with a situation defined as them or me, or my family or their family or my mortgage payment vs. their mortgage paymentyou are going to lose. We all lie at times to others or ourselves. Think of the old proverbial question and you'll begin to understand. . . .Honey, does this dress make me look fat?
2. Perceived or even real need for money or merchandise (things). We all want or need more. Some of us are much more motivated in this area than others. There is no way to control somebodys strongly held belief in his or her, or perceived needs. If you don't believe me, try putting 50-100 of the richest people in the world in one room and then ask them how many need more money. I will guarantee you that almost all of the hands in the room go up! Some people must have the bigger screen television even while they're sitting in a doublewide trailer. Some people buy liquor even when they can't afford to buy their kids enough meat or vegetables. Some people will give their church less, because they deserve that vacation to the Caribbean. Some need 50 pairs of shoes. Others need Ben & Jerrys ice cream while they will settle for the cheapest liquor they can find. You will never change peoples perceptions of what they need or what they must have. And after that, go back to point one, as people WILL find a way to rationalize those needs even while sometimes taking them to the poor house. However, integrity and how well it's been ingrained into our belief system can trump a great deal of this.
3. Belief (mostly true) that we can steal without being caught. Believe it or not, the fear within all of us in getting caught is the only thing that keeps some people from being dishonest. Some have no fear. Some have a great deal. Again, some have integrity and don't worry about whether they believe they can get by with it or not.
I realize I'm not making you feel very good about humanity here, but you as an owner, need to face the music.
I do have good news.
Lastly, since we cannot control the first two points, we must control the things in business we can control. While we can't control peoples perception of their need or their ability to rationalize theft, and we can't control peoples perception of what they need and how desperately they are to have it, we CAN and MUST focus on two things.
1. We MUST first screen out the people that have a higher likelihood of stealing from us. How do we do that? Believe me, it can be done and done pretty well. Integrity, reliability and beliefs. . . these things can be measured. REALLY! I've spent some time in loss prevention for one of the large discount chains years ago. I will come back to this.
2. Secondly we must make people believe that it is extremely hard to steal from your business and that there is a highly likely chance they will get caught if they steal from your business. This is a major key to preventing employee theft at your store. You can't pay people enough to keep some from stealing from you and you can't keep people from their own weird logic of believing they need something, or more of something. Your only hope is to make people feel that they WILL get caught! If I've gotten this message into your head, you are now well on your way to reducing theft in your store. Just wrapping your mind around this fact and getting rid of those rose-colored glasses is a major step in the right direction.
In a future installment, I will list the things you can do to increase and encourage this belief. For now, relax, because a great highly reliable tool is coming!
The criminal will abort his attempt if anything is wrong that is, if the risk is in any way greater than expected. F. Lee BaileyAttorney
I, RetailRich, will soon be introducing an opportunity to have a very reliable, highly proven and inexpensive system for screening out candidates with a higher likelihood of stealing or those with less than good integrity. This internet-based assessment will measure a candidate's integrity, reliability, work ethic and stance on substance abuse. The great thing about this tool aside from the fact that small retailers can easily afford it, is that before wasting any real time on a potential employee you will be able to quickly disqualify any candidate from any further interview or even beginning background check. This process will saves you time, aggravation, and energy. More importantly it will save you from what could be a very costly hiring mistake, not to mention having to go out and repeat the process again.
I will close with one important thought, now that I've totally made you feel worse about your employees. You cannot treat your employees like crooks, because they WILL end up living up to your expectations. You must hire the best people possible from the beginning, with a good pre-screening tool, that stacks the odds highly in your favor and allows you to sleep well at night. And then you must run a business where employees feel a close identification with the company. They must feel a loyalty to the your business where they are treated with respect. They must feel they have a vested interest in the companys success. You must create a positive company culture.Do not allow the information in this article to affect how you treat your employees, once hired. It should affect the rules and conditions under which your business operates and the way they do their jobs. It should not make them feel like they are criminals or, that they are not trusted.
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Posted in Business Other Post Date 02/20/2017