Openness To Suggestions Can Stop Shoplifting, Improve Safety And/Or Operations
When I was a Loss Prevention Manager I balked at some things I or my team were required to do that I felt had minimal impact on efforts to stop shoplifting. By nature I don’t like to do things that I perceive as a waste of time at work. I did not care for audit lists created by headquarters that my team had to research every single day. I may have recognized that some of the items should be on the list for every store and the list may have been a company top theft list but I believed it could have been reduced. I would have been agreeable to a shortened list with a store specific Top 5 list added on. Unfortunately many times a program is rolled out or a decision is made and as a leader you have to implement it. This is not meant to say that every program rolled out was a bad one. When directed to use Sensormatic tags on specific items that are a company-wide theft item it makes sense to require all stores to use the same measure of protection. On the other hand managers, you have to have the skills to know how to disagree with a program or policy, challenge it and have reasons for your disagreement but still get your team on board to support it. It can be a tricky balancing act but a necessary one for low and mid-level managers.
As a store owner or store manager are you open to feedback from your employees? I don’t mean a scowl and nasty look with a response that you will take something under advisement. I mean are you willing to listen to suggestions and give thoughtful consideration to what someone is concerned about? For example, what if one of your employees reads that liquid detergent is becoming a target of thieves and suggests you protect your detergents with Sensormatic tags, will you give it serious consideration? Ignoring the concern may cost you a lot of money before you find out they were right. Maybe a suggestion can save your company money in preventing an accident or it just eliminates a time waster. It can be related to how to better stop shoplifting or it may be operational in nature. For example recently at my retail job I was filling an empty pallet with cases of paper. I had to take the cartons from stockroom shelves, one carton at a time. I was annoyed at the safety issue of lifting these heavy boxes while on a ladder, having to haul them down then refilling a pallet that the cases were being sold from. The productivity issue was that the cartons had to be removed from a pallet they were received on, toted UP the ladder and stored in the stockroom shelves. The process of refilling the pallet took me at least half an hour. I have to assume it took someone that long to store those cases of paper on the shelves. I voiced my concern to the Manager on Duty about the safety concern and the waste of an hour of payroll. The Manager took a picture of the shelves that still had paper on them and sent the picture to the Store Manager and the rest of the management team. That demonstrated he took my concern seriously and my suggestion that paper simply be left on pallets in the stockroom.
You might be surprised by the knowledge some of your employees possess. Maybe you have someone working for you who had Loss Prevention experience and could share suggestion on how to improve efforts to stop shoplifting. As a Freight/Stockroom Manager my job dropped when I learned after almost a year that one of my stockroom employees had once been a stockroom manager in our company! There were many times I could have called upon his experience to get projects done much more quickly had I known of his background beforehand. When I asked him why he hadn’t told me he said he didn’t think it was important. I did walk away from that experience resolved in the future to know more about the people who work for me and use their knowledge to help in the future.
Not every suggestion is going to be a good one. If an employee suggests tagging checklane candy with Sensormatic tags I would be skeptical. If they provide a suggestion to tag all of the cosmetics, because they are seeing a lot of empty shelf spaces that may be something to look into. In the end what I am saying is don’t waste energy, time and resources on tasks that don’t make sense. I also urge you to be open to suggestions offered by employees that can prevent accidents, save money or save time. You might be surprised at what they can offer.
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