How Many Retail Employees Would Steal From You?

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Coca-Cola commissioned a study of retail employees about 10 years ago. One of the key findings: given the opportunity to steal from the retail outlet, 7 of 10 said they would do so. Frightening news for most. 

For example, I just went through a McDonald's Drive thru ( the biggest opportunity for theft in this type of configuration) this afternoon, and there is at least a 75% chance that the cashier was trying to pocket $1.00 from my order. The other 25% comes down to poor training &/or selection. 

DT window areas are often tucked away on the side of the building, most likely shielded from view, especially the first booth in a double booth DT. The money is often taken from the consumer in this first booth creating a lot of opportunity. The most commons way people steal in the DT area is by first, overcharging then reducing the order at payment time. That's what happened to me yesterday. 

The order taker/cashier overcharged me $1. for a large drink in a value meal and most likely would have reduced my order amount by that same amount without my knowledge had I not called him on it. The manager can often detect this methodology because the thief will use coins in an empty area of the cash drawer to keep track of these reductions throughout the shift, and they will often wait until they have accumulated a fair amount before pocketing the cash.

Fred Berni's point about the need for a much more robust and effective selection process is right on.

Most retail owners are given a figure by the parent company, as it relates to the cost of turnover.

Unfortunately, a vast majority of retail outlets hire whatever comes in the door vs. understanding that taking a recruiting approach (proactive) is far more cost effective in hard and soft costs. 

Take on an effective recruitment approach to hiring first, while checking out Fred's approach. Once you have a strong pool of candidates, Fred's approach will optimize your time and selection success. The silver lining should you take this proactive approach? The Coke study demonstrated that you get the 7 of 10 down to about 3 of 10. 

And, I can attest to Fred's observation and reference in my own experience. When I first took over my Region, I had my staff do an analysis to see if there was any correlation between store operations and average volume. The findings were definitive: the better your operations, the higher average annual volume experienced. 

Every good retail operator will tell you that their success starts with finding the right people and retaining them.

Far too many retail operators/managers buy into the paradigm that turnover will always be high in the industry. Those who choose to buck this trend, find huge success, and they, in turn, enjoy far superior financial returns and personal quality of life.

The final step is to train, communicate, and provide rewards and recognition, especially a career ladder for the best of the best. Now, you are down to 1 of 10, and your day to day procedures and awareness should minimize any issues greatly.