Most shop owners take measures to protect themselves against shoplifting and loss. However, one of the biggest causes of loss is actually internal theft. While no one wants to believe their employees would steal from them, and in most cases your employees are genuine, hard-working individuals; internal theft does sometimes happen. While there is no guarantee that you can stop theft from happening, there are a number of things you can do to aid in employee theft prevention.
Hiring and Training
Before hiring a new staff member look into their background and references. If they have a history of theft they may need to be watched more closely. Once hired, the first thing to do is make sure all your new hires are well trained on policy and processes in your business. This is because there are many types of “stealing”. The last thing you want is for it to happen by accident because a new hire didn’t know what they were doing. Things like not properly scanning items, marking them as cheaper than they should be, false returns or even not clocking in right, can all lead to a loss for your store. That’s why it’s so important to properly train your staff.
The best way to deter theft of all kinds is to have CCTV installed in your store. The cameras can monitor activity even when you’re not present. As cameras record everything you can catch things other than just direct theft, of stock, products or cash. You can notice time or data theft, such as clocking in and not returning to work, as well as scams such as not scanning all items through the register, or false returns. All of these forms of internal theft can be devastating for your bottom line, so being able to catch them is very important. CCTV acts as the biggest deterrent to stealing, and it also helps you to identify the thief afterwards. Most CCTV systems can be set to record to an SD card or a hard drive so that you are able to keep the footage and use it as evidence. It can identify the crime to the Gardaí and act as evidence of the theft in court.
As previously discussed, there are numerous types of employee theft. Employees that are stealing from you don’t necessarily have to be taking money, they could be taking inventory instead. Proper inventory management is really important to prevent this type of theft. If you know where your stock is meant to be it’s much easier to notice if it’s gone missing. Keeping track of what has been delivered, what’s in the back and what has gone to the shop floor, helps to both keep your store organised but also notice patterns. For example, if stock is going missing before it’s reached the shop floor it is most likely an employee is involved.
Getting someone to count the cash float at open and close of business every day is a really useful exercise. There are multiple reasons this is a good idea. Firstly, because it is probably the fastest way to find a correlation between an employee and missing cash. Of course, this only works if you have a different employee check the float in the morning than the one who counted the night before. Another reason it’s a good idea is that it means staff are aware that you are keeping a close eye on finances and means that you will notice a pattern of missing funds sooner rather than later.
Point of Sale (POS) System
Your point of sale system can be a great asset when it comes to employee theft prevention. Firstly, it calculates how much cash should be in your till at closing each night. Knowing the amount of cash that should be in the till is instrumental in figuring out if some is missing. Another way that a POS system can be useful is by only opening when a sale has been made. This makes it easier to pinpoint sales on CCTV footage but also means that an employee can’t just open the till when they feel like it.
How to Deal with Employee Theft
If you know an employee is stealing from your store what can you do about it? Well unfortunately it’s not about what you know is happening, but rather what you can prove is happening. The last thing you want is to fire an employee only to end up in court having to pay them a settlement for unfair dismissal, or slander. How you handle the discovery of employee theft is key. This is one of the reasons having CCTV in your store is so important. It’s important to have a clear dismissal policy and follow it to the letter.