I LOVE celebrations for victories in stores, be it for a successful retail theft prevention program, a great customer service initiative or some other achievement I truly believe in celebrating accomplishments. I am sold on the power of recognizing individual achievements and group achievements and celebrating them with the entire store. In this article I want to talk about how you can make your store successful and a big part of that is recognition of your store team individually and as a group. As a former Loss Prevention Manager with nearly 27 years of retail experience and as a shift supervisor in a college library I can share with you observations I have gleaned over the years through my experiences.
I will talk at length about celebrations but I do want to stop for a moment and touch on retail theft prevention and what it entails. Retail theft prevention is the ability of a retailer to recognize that theft is going to occur in their store, understand there are steps they can take to stop it and in doing so it will make the business more prosperous. It is the use of anti-shoplifting devices such as electronic article surveillance (EAS) security pedestals at the doors and tags on all merchandise. It is also the training of employees on their responsibilities in regard to proper tagging methods, alarm responses, providing exceptional customer service and teamwork that will stop shoplifting and drive sales. The implementation of all of these factors is what is required for a retail owner or manager to stop shoplifting and keep merchandise in the store for customers and that is what helps drive up sales.
It may seem a bit unusual to be talking about celebrations and retail theft prevention but they do tie together and help to build a strong shortage culture in the store. Additionally recognition is a powerful tool to developing teamwork amongst employees. An example of this can be seen in the store I work in now. For quite some time there has been a program for giving out recognition cards that are used in a monthly drawing. For the most part they were given out by managers to employees for different reasons. Over a period of time there was a slow progression of cards being given out by employees to each other. Recently, employees had the cards removed from a box they were kept in and placed on a door for everyone to see. The participation is pretty amazing to see. Most cards are given out for one employee assisting another on a task or in a work center. If you don’t quite see the power in this consider that for each card someone gives out to a fellow worker it reduces the giver’s chance for winning the monthly drawing. That’s quite a statement about the power of recognition. How does this relate to retail theft prevention? If employee recognition includes recognizing people for going above and beyond expectations in assisting customers it will influence more associates to offer help on the sales floor. That level of service will deter thieves from trying to steal in your store.
When I was a Loss Prevention Manager I made sure I recognized employees who caught hidden merchandise at the checkout stands or those who reported suspicious patrons to me. I also made sure that employees who reported a tip to me about another employee they suspected was stealing had their information submitted to our store hotline number. In this way a couple of employees were rewarded by the company for cases they initiated and were closed by me based on their information. I couldn’t celebrate the individuals due to confidentiality but I could share the win with the store team in general terms. I found that employees were more willing to report suspicious behaviors to me. This included internal and external theft identification.
Recognition is more impactful that you may have realized. Congratulating an employee for closing a large sale, signing someone up for a store reward program, making a recovery from an electronic article surveillance alarm receipt check are all a way to recognize performance. When an associate can stop shoplifting through customer service and notification of management of suspicious people the entire store benefits. Heartfelt, genuine recognition will lead to continued performance that helps to drive up sales and reduce shortage. If you don’t do it already look for ways to recognize and praise your team. You will see a payoff in shortage reduction, profit growth and increased morale.
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