Training To Reduce Employee Theft May Show You Already Have Some Skills To Deter Theft
I am currently going through a leadership training course at the college where I work and I am struck by how similar some of the tools I used in an employee theft interview match with what we are discussing. I guess it comes down to how people respond to other people in an interaction. In Retail Loss Prevention many of us in management positions are trained on how to identify and investigate suspected theft cases. We also receive training on how to conduct interviews with the dishonest employee when we are ready to finalize our investigation and prosecute. The interviewer must have the ability to control how they speak and even be aware of body language signals of the suspect and their own body language. A keen Loss Prevention Manager can pick up on non-verbal cues during the interview process. These cues can help us discern if the suspect is trying to hide something from us or if they are being open and forthright.
Since many independent store owners will not have a Loss Prevention department they may encounter suspected employee theft but without the proper training they won’t have any idea how to be sure. Still worse, if they do confront the suspected employee but do not have the proper skills or information they could find themselves in a pickle with a smart crook. From all of my interviews I can tell you it was rare for someone to come out and freely admit to what they had done even when all the evidence was presented to them. It took training and preparation before I was ready to confront suspected dishonest workers. I even had to learn about how MY body language could affect an interview in additional to learning non-verbal cues from the interviewee. I am not suggesting store managers should become Loss Prevention Investigators at all. I am saying it is important to go through training to reduce employee theft by someone who has been in the Retail Loss Prevention Field and Investigations and has the experience to teach what you need to know.
Were you aware that your body posture can have an impact on others when you are talking with them? Cross your arms and you give a signal that can be interpreted that you are closed off or unapproachable. Sitting across from someone with legs uncrossed and arms relaxed signals you are approachable and can be talked to. These are signals that we are careful about how we use them in an investigation interview and can also be applied to leadership principles. Appear closed off in an interview and it makes it harder to establish trust with the worker you are trying to get an admission from for suspected employee theft (if you know for certain they were engaged in dishonest activity). Appear to be closed off to employees in a work situation and they will be afraid to speak to you or offer opinions and suggestions. It is also harder to lead people who don’t want to follow a leader they believe to be aloof or standoffish.
Training to reduce employee theft isn’t going to include those cues but you may learn tricks such as how an employee who used to be talkative and suddenly becomes introverted may be a candidate to engage in theft. Employees who avoid eye contact with you or are defensive when having conversations with you may be participants in theft or fraud. Just as active listening is an important skill for successful leaders it is also an important tool when trying to identify potential internal theft concerns. The employee who starts talking about money problems or the inability to pay bills may be prone to engaging in cash or merchandise theft. I started several investigations based on some low dollar cash register shortages and overhearing bits of conversations in the breakroom by using active listening.
Skills can often carry over from one area to another. You may already have leadership skills you did not know could be useful in the identification of or deterrence of criminal activity. Training to reduce employee theft will teach you how to minimize the opportunities for any staff member to steal. You might also find you have a knack for it because of those leadership skills you also possess.
For more information about training to reduce employee theft, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567.