Hiring loss prevention employees and training all of your remaining staff on what to do in certain situations is one thing, but setting up an effective loss prevention plan is quite another. The two must go hand in hand, since a proactive plan — one that’s continually updated as needed — is the key to a solid loss prevention system that truly protects your company. When you begin to build a solid loss prevention system for your location, whether it’s a retail store, a bank, or another business, it’s important to utilize a five spoke program for long-term effectiveness and efficiency. Each of these dynamic spokes makes the wheel (your loss prevention system) stronger and more adaptable to your current situation. Let’s go over each of the five in depth.
1) Setting Up Procedures
Some companies over-complicate their loss prevention policies by combining them with general operating policies. They identify a general overlap in some of them, such as verifying deposits and cash register amounts, and simply combine everything. However, this just makes things way too confusing.
For optimal results, there should be a separate set of loss prevention procedures in place. When developing these procedures, consider things like what your main goal is, how those protocols and procedures are going to be implemented, and who is in charge of procedural enforcement. In addition, these procedures need to work with, not against, all of your existing policies.
2) Emphasizing Physical Safety
The next spoke involves emphasizing the need for physical safety. This goes above and beyond the obvious “don’t tackle or confront a shoplifter; let the professionals handle it” to include things that protect the general safety of your employees. For example, emergency protocols such as what to do if your store or bank is being robbed at gunpoint and knowing where all the emergency exits are located just in case, should be a part of this overall “physical safety first” policy.
Also, it’s important to make cleaning protocols an active part of this section — because employees shouldn’t have to worry about slippery floors or aisle obstacles if they need to exit the sales floor or building in a hurry.
3) Finding Inspiration in Food Safety
One of the main tenets of food safety requires employees to check food temperatures and clean surfaces on a regular schedule. The “schedule” part of this is what matters most here. When you have a schedule in place, your workers must diligently follow it. Making loss prevention measures — the implementation of, that is — a part of your weekly or monthly schedule emphasizes the importance of all training aspects. Consistent review of these loss prevention procedures highlights just how important they are and increases the likelihood that your employees will learn how to properly handle a thief on your premises.
4) Ensuring Employee Compliance
Loss prevention compliance extends to all employees as well as customers. After all, employees have been known to abuse their privileges by giving customers additional discounts, finding ways to take money from the cash register, and more. Training employees to keep an eye on one another to ensure that this doesn’t happen — and if it does, how to report it through the appropriate channels — will keep everyone honest, in check, and in compliance with the rules. While you shouldn’t sow discontent and animosity among employees, you need them to stay vigilant and protect the company’s interests.
5) Continuously Training Your Employees on Procedures
Finally, the last spoke of the program requires companies to keep actively training employees. This is a spoke you never want to get dusty or rusty. Refreshing your employees’ loss prevention skills will only benefit your company in the long run, as it ensures every employee knows what to do in a variety of potentially stressful situations. Additionally, when your policies change, even slightly, your employees need to be updated on them at the next training session. This ensures that everyone stays properly up to date and “in the know.” When you implement continuous training procedures, your workers will begin operating like a solid and effective loss prevention machine.
Each of the five spokes of your loss prevention program are equally important, as they all do their part to keep your wheel turning each day. Shelly Connors said it best, “Employees don’t think losses are important unless the boss thinks they’re important.” Simply put, the success of your five spoke loss prevention program all begins with you.