Employee Theft Solutions

About one-third of all small business failures can be traced back to employee theft and other worker crimes, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. That is a shocking statistic, especially to the first time entrepreneurs who have sunk a life-time of savings into a business only for it to be stolen one item at a time.

The culprits, all too often, are the short time employees that have sticky fingers.  They are clerks, cashiers or stockers that have no problem helping themselves to your profits.  After all, no one will miss just one item or a buck or two right? But one item or one dollar at a time has a big impact. For instance in 2011, the retail industry lost more than $35.3 billion to theft, 44.2 percent of which was attributed to inside jobs by employees.

We all know about the problem, now what can we do about it? Below are some tips to help you cut back on the number of thefts at your store.

  • Don’t hire the problem in the first place. Have multiple interviews (even for low wage jobs), verify past employment, check personal references, conduct drug screening, have a background check conducted including driving record, criminal record and credit checks. Word will get around quickly regarding this no-nonsense approach to hiring.  The total numbers of applications may drop but the quality will increase and theft problems will be reduced.
  • Let the Staff know you are watching for the problem. Surveillance is the manager’s or owner’s friend. Just the presence of cameras above the register will cut down on employee theft, but don’t forget about watching the office, the safe or where money is counted, the warehouse or storage rooms, backdoors and garbage areas. A lot of theft occurs when the garbage goes out. Items are left for after work pick up or for a waiting friend. Also, make sure your system will allow secure remote access.  Your smart phone or tablet can become a powerful tool. POS Plus has several options, in every budget with OpenEye Surveillance Systems. Use the surveillance in store meetings to point out good behavior, but deal with theft in private. By showing good behavior to your employees they will come to understand that you are watching and take surveillance seriously.  
  • Punish those that get caught. Does “You‘re Fired” mean anything to anyone. Sometimes you can’t afford to have a heart. Even if it costs you, you have to make an example. If you accept an employee stealing, it will only multiply your problems. Sometimes it is painful to let someone go, but there is no alternative to theft.
  • Keep a closer tab on your inventory. Get a POS system that will closely track and easily print reports on what is in the store and what is missing.  Also, have a surveillance camera focused in on the loading dock or drop off area. Some of the theft is not your employees, but people delivering (or not delivering) goods.  Track commonly missing inventory items long-term, it will reveal your problems and will give you a direction in which to look in. You will be able to start seeing trends of when items go missing and how you can fix the problem. Sometimes a different aisle location will help or a new process can be developed for checking in new merchandise.  
  • Surveillance coupled with the POS system is a powerful tool. Stealing employees may not be walking stolen goods out the door themselves. They maybe “sweethearting” items, or ringing up a lower price than marked for friends or family. A good POS system can track returns or the drawer opens and then match those occurrences with video.  

A proactive approach is best or you will become one of the statistics. Remember that being proactive is the key.  For more information about installing or upgrading your surveillance system, contact POS Plus for an analysis and solutions.