Employee theft in the retail industry has increased drastically over the past years. Here are the 4 secrets of how to stop employee theft in your convenience store.
#1: Develop A Great Working Relationship with Your C-Store Employees
C-stores with happy employees have the lowest turnover and internal theft rates. Consider the following to help develop a stronger relationship with your employees:
- Reward your employees with bonuses, gift cards, time off, and store discounts for doing their jobs well.
- Provide good career opportunities and additional training where possible.
- Listen to your employees and implement ideas they may have to improve operational efficiency or customer service.
#2: Issue Access Control Cards to C-Store Employees
Replace your c-store keys with access control cards for each employee and keep a careful record of who uses them and when. Follow these practices to maintain control of access control cards:
- Deactivate missing, lost, or stolen control cards immediately.
- Check that all employees have their own control cards at least annually.
- Do not allow contractors and cleaning services to keep temporary control cards — ask them to sign out and return cards each day.
- Require access control cards to open parking lots or structure gates (if applicable).
#3: Closely Monitor C-Store Bank Deposits and Train Employees on Correct Procedures
Implementing simple procedures at your c-store can make a big difference in the fight against theft:
- Provide a receipt for every c-store transaction. Encourage customers to expect a receipt by posting signs at each register directing customers to ask for a receipt if they did not receive one.
- Assign one employee to oversee setting up cash drawers. Assign another employee double-check the cash count.
- Make each employee responsible for his/her cash drawer. Issue one cash drawer to each on-duty employee. Do not allow another employee to open or use another’s cash drawer at any time. At the end of each shift, each employee should balance the cash drawer, with another employee double-checking the calculations for accuracy.
- Mandate employees to close the cash register drawer after each transaction. And they should never leave a register unlocked when unattended or leave the register key in the register.
- Identify each over-ring and under-ring. Managers should sign off all voids and over-rings.
- Limit the amount of cash accumulated in any register. Use a drop-safe to house excess cash that is over the determined limit.
- Check cash-to-sale ratios daily. In most instances, refund transactions can quickly indicate employee theft.
- Keep tendered bills on the register until the end of the transaction. Short-change artists frequently pay with large bills.
- Encourage employees to conduct only one transaction at a time. Be sure they understand the importance of being thorough and not intimidated by a long line of waiting customers.
- Perform cash reconciliation every day. Invest in an affordable c-store back-office system to accurately track sales and help you reconcile correctly.
- Train employees on how to spot counterfeit currency. The look of the paper and its “feel” are usually the most obvious signs.
- Use an armored car service to make bank deposits, if possible. Otherwise, assign two employees to make deposits at different times each day to limit patterns and discourage theft.
Despite your best efforts, dishonest employees can usually find ways to steal. If you suspect theft, call your security or loss prevention personnel or your local police department. Don’t play detective and try to solve the crime yourself.
Warning: Avoid the trap of jumping to unwarranted conclusions. Falsely accusing an employee or customer might result in serious civil liability for you and your convenience store.
#4 – Use Technology to Spot Convenience Store Employee Theft
Invest in technology to monitor your c-store point-of-sale (POS) analytics and integrate your POS with security cameras. You can aim cameras over the cash register, or facing the customer at the counter (or lotter counter). Then use your transaction data and video camera footage to pinpoint any theft that occurs at your c-store.
Example: Cameras can show whether a cashier repeatedly gave refunds to the same friend or relative or whether a cashier failed to run merchandise over the scanner.
Warning: Employee theft involving gift cards is growing because the cards are like cash, and it is a lot easier to leave a store with a card than merchandise. Cashiers can fake refunds and then use their registers to fill in a gift card, which they take. Or, when shoppers buy a card, they give them a blank card and divert the money into a card for themselves. However, the most common type of employee theft is “sweethearting,” where cashiers fail to ring up or scan goods their friends or relatives bring to the register.
Learn how to stop employee theft at your retail store with affordable convenience store theft prevention technology, and schedule a demo here: Loss Prevention Analytics.
Article sources include City of San Diego local government website.