Awareness is the next principle after prevention. As you develop preventive strategies for your business (using policy and procedures), awareness will become evident as your team will begin to demonstrate how prevention is important across the whole business. If they are not aware of the importance of the principle of prevention, then you have to emphasise it for a successful campaign.
Why is awareness important in the first place?
Consider this. Most business owners and retailers would express that they know about the aspects of loss prevention, especially on how to prevent loss and theft. But does their staff know? There are many industry studies that show that employee theft is the biggest factor of their loss. What does this mean? The employees are simply not aware of their responsibilities to their own company.
How can you make your employees aware?
Giving out brochures and leaflets are not enough, although giving materials is an important factor for awareness. One should check for understanding – and this is a big component of any loss awareness program. Understanding could be checked by having meetings, discussions, store audits or even team building games or contests. Having an indicator will help you understand what needs to be emphasised and redefined to work for your company.
It may be awkward to talk to employees about the subject of employee theft but it must be done. Retailers that have talked about employee theft to their staff (how it is detected, how it is a responsibility of ALL employees, etc.) provides a much higher level of awareness.
Remember: Without employee awareness, one cannot expect the staff to know about loss prevention or what to do when such a thing happens.
Prevention through Awareness: Taking Action
When Awareness has been established, education and responsibility happens. It leads to compliance and (the core of it all) prevention. These are some of the tools you can use to promote awareness in your team:
Awareness-Development Programs – Promote a program that has easily available materials, may it be a brochure, posters or newsletters on a very accessible place. It can be in the staff room, or even on your company website. It can be like this.
Guidebooks – Create a guidebook on loss prevention, with details on accountability, key policies and procedures, and steps on how to prevent theft, loss and shrinkage. This book will be extremely useful for newly hired staff, or for those in training.
Loss Prevention Presence – This will involve your auditor. Conduct scheduled and random audit sessions. Store visits will make your employees aware that someone is involved in preserving the inventory, and is committed to reduce shrinkage. Knowledge (and resolution of problems) in-store helps create a culture of awareness, and can deter future issues. These visits can also be a platform for education and proper communication in case a staff member is not clear on a specific policy or other topics that may be uncertain for them.
Audit Program – Creating and maintaining and audit program in retail locations greatly help in preventing loss. This will ensure that policies and procedures are followed – and opportunities for future losses will be reduced. Highlighting compliance and celebrating positive behaviour are some of the factors that you can include in the audit program to be more effective. However, make sure it is structured and consistent to avoid confusion and distrust amongst staff members.
Reference: Loss Prevention Media EU