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Stop Employee Theft

money on the table

A scorpion asks a frog to carry him over a river. The frog is afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, both would sink and the scorpion would drown. The frog then agrees, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion points out that this is its nature.

--Fable of the Scorpion and the Frog

In the story above, the scorpion violates trust by stinging the frog and dooming them both. While the frog trusted the scorpion, the scorpion stung him anyway. Blind trust isn’t smart and it can be catastrophic for an organization. If you blindly trust that your employees aren’t stealing because you like them and believe that they like you, the reality might surprise you. Someone is likely stealing from you.

Over the years, I have learned that to be successful, we must develop a regiment of smart trust policies and procedures that keep honest people honest. That way, no one gets stung.  Here are four things that you can do to protect your organization from employee theft:

Use Surveillance.

Surveillance cameras are a good deterrent for theft but only when there is someone on the other end who is watching. I remember sitting in the investigator's office at Luxor one day and watching how the cameras which were positioned above the buffet employees and their tills. They had superimposed an overlay feed from the Micros POS system so they could monitor No Sales and identifying when employees would accept cash payment, press No Sale to open their till, and fake a transaction. They would later pocket the money. Luxor's security team had identified the scam and was proactively looking for such theft.

Run Exception Reports.

These are reports that flag unusual activity like one employee hitting the ‘NO SALE’ key way too frequently or another accepting an abnormal number of coupons for the number of guests they’ve processed. Recently, one of my clients had an employee who was flagged as accepting a much higher percentage of one type of coupon. You might ask how ringing up too many coupons would be considered stealing? The cashier is stealing because the guest is paying full price but being sold a discounted ticket. If they are paying with cash, the employee does not provide the guest with a receipt and pockets the difference between full price and the discount. Look into your own coupons and the controls that surround them. Are your employees stealing from you?

Hire Secret Shoppers.

Guests don't necessarily know what our organizational controls and policies are. They don't know when our employees are violating them. I shared in the example above, our employees don't always follow procedure. In fact, they're looking for ways to steal. Secret Shoppers can be trained to look for signals that your employees might be stealing. You can ask them to look for things like:

  • Did cashier provide receipt?
  • Did cash drawer open?
  • Did my receipt list the correct product?
  • Did I pay with discounts and were they applied properly?

Participate in User Groups.

Joining your point-of-sale system’s user group is a great way to keep up to date with best practices, trends and challenges. Be active. Post your concerns, ask questions, attend (or facilitate) forums. Networking within these groups helps you to think about your own controls and to think and act in a proactive manner rather than reacting to what could be a catastrophic loss of revenue.

Find out more about how you can transform your front gate sales culture. Click the link below to contact us for a FREE consultation.