How Can Retail Store Owners Guard Against Dishonest Employees

If you own and operate a retail store, dishonest acts, including shoplifting, sometimes comes along with the territory. This is sometimes an inevitable part of doing business. But when it is your employees who are being dishonest, it can be even more frustrating — and sometimes harder to catch because they are familiar with the way the store operates. According a retail store survey done by Jack L. Hayes Internationalin 2011, more than $6 billion was stolen from dishonest employees and shoplifters. In order to avoid being added to this staggering statistic, there are some additional measures you can take to avoid such thefts or shoplifting acts stemming from your employees.
Hiring Practices

Safeguarding your retail store form dishonest employees starts from the hiring process. When you’re looking to hire a new employee, pay close attention to their application for inaccuracies or irregularities. Large gaps in work history and not wanting to list previous employers as references can be cause for suspicious, along with having multiple jobs in a short amount of time. You should always run checks of your employee’s before hiring them, including a criminal background check, drug test, credit check, and even psychological testing. Always call an employee’s references to double-check their validity.
Anti-Theft Policy

Create an official anti-theft policy for your retail store, and be sure your employees are aware of it. This includes showing the consequences of being caught stealing goods from the store, as well as losses in general effecting employees’ job security. In the policy, state that you will do regular audits, start an employee bonding program, offer limited access to the storage and supply areas, install security surveillance equipment throughout the store (including the storage room), and other details pertaining to your store in particular.
Checks, Balances and Controls

There are some other ways to avoid employee theft, or at least stop it in its tracks to avoid it from getting out of control. One way to do this is through the controls of your company. You should careful monitor your inventory and regularly check your inventory compared to actual inventory in the store, preferably an electronic point-of-sale system that will track products by barcodes and inventory tracking numbers. Establish a cash management system at the registers, requiring employees to get approval from management when there is a void, refund, or exchange. These are some of the ways employees use to be dishonest and it should be avoided. Covert and overt audits are equally important as re these other safety precautions.
Fair Compensation and Benefits

You can minimize or mitigate dishonesty acts from your employees by treating them fairly, giving them benefits, and being sure they are properly compensated. The happier your employees are about their pay and benefits, the least likely they will be to steal from your store. Improve your work environment in order to make it rewarding and beneficial for your employees. You can also set goals for employees that will offer them additional rewards or benefits to encourage fair and honest practices by both you as the business owner, and your employees. Keep the line of communication open with your employees and treat them with respect.   Your retail business can never avoid theft completely, although these tips can decrease the likelihood. Because nothing is 100% unavoidable, business insurance policies will ensure your business assets are protected from the financial implication of theft and shoplifting by your employees.