Curbing Employee Theft This Holiday Retail Season


It seems like the holiday shopping season starts earlier every year. With Halloween barely in the rearview mirror, we’re already seeing bright holiday displays and hearing the first joyful jingles of the season.

For retail businesses, the holidays bring a boom in business – and in theft. While many of us think of burglars in the night, the most common holiday thieves are retail employees. According to the FBI, employee theft and fraud is the fastest growing crime in America, costing retail companies more than $37 billion in stolen products.

That’s nothing to be jolly about.

Luckily, there is plenty you can do to help keep your business secure from employee fraud and theft this holiday season.

Proper Employee Screening and Training
Here are some sobering statistics: 75% of employees engage in workplace theft given the right opportunity, with 37% of all frauds committed by a manager. Given those numbers, it may seem impossible to stop employee theft, but you can make it much less likely through proper employee screening and training.

Given the seasonality of holiday retail hiring, it can be difficult to properly screen employees for financial pressures, but make sure to always call an applicant’s references to ensure they have a valid work history.

Next, do your best to instill a culture of honesty and accountability within your company. Even if 75% of your employees would be tempted to steal, that means 25% will avoid or report illicit activity. Make sure employees know how and when to report suspicious activity.

Physical Security
Commercial security cameras are a common workplace theft deterrent, but every system has its blind spots. Too often, business owners who are unwilling to commit to full security cause those blind spots – many workplace cameras are never hooked up, or are improperly monitored.

Security cameras should be placed anywhere employees (or other thieves) can access inventory or money. Cameras should be placed to cover cash registers, loading docks and all doors. To be truly effective, employees should know that cameras are active and monitored on a daily basis.

Consult With Your Security Company
Many businesses already rely on a commercial security system for protection against burglary and internal theft, and that’s a great start. However, the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season can necessitate a fresh look at your commercial security. While criminal activity is known to increase at businesses during the holidays, few businesses actually commit resources to stopping theft at work.

Security precautions that work throughout the year may not be enough to keep up with holiday craziness, and a consultation from an expert at Crime Prevention Security Systems can uncover new ways to protect your business – whether that entails addressing blind spots in your security cameras or adding new motion sensors to protect your business at night.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to fully eliminate employee theft, but with the right security system, you can reduce the threat. Give us a call today to ensure that your holiday business boom doesn’t turn into a bust.

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