According to a report produced by loss prevention consultancy Jack L Hayes International, employees steal 5.5 items more than shoplifters. This figure may be alarming to some business owners, but highlights the importance of clear communication and implementation of effective measures to reduce internal shrinkage. Here we’ll be addressing the use of CCTV, and the importance of communication with staff, to reduce theft.
Using CCTV to combat internal shrinkage
Installation of CCTV throughout your premises, including in target areas, is an effective way to catch employee stealing and reduce employee theft. The physical presence of a camera in a stock room, in the office, or on the shop floor, can be enough to deter staff from stealing, but you should ensure your use of cameras is clearly signposted and employees are informed.
Legally, when using security cameras within the workplace, there should be clearly visible signs to let people know that a CCTV system is being used, and why, plus the name of the operating company.
CCTV should only be used in exceptional cases in areas where people can usually expect privacy, for example changing rooms. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recommends employers use CCTV responsibly to ensure that there is a balance between preventing internal shrinkage and protecting privacy.
Communicating with employees
Though installation of CCTV cameras will reduce your internal shrinkage, business owners and managers should also communicate with their employees to reduce theft. We suggest the following ways:
Raise awareness of the problem, including the full cost to the company
This should be done regularly, for example at induction, through annual appraisals, and weekly and monthly staff meetings. Dependent upon the size of the company and resources available, use video, the intranet, newsletters, noticeboards, posters, competitions and rewards.
Get a better understanding of the problem through employees’ eyes
Find out why it’s happening, and address any underlying issues. Theft is more likely to happen where employees feel divorced from the interests of the company and management, or feel underpaid and undervalued.
Ask employees to be part of the solution
Staff members can come up with creative ways to communicate the problem effectively. Increased ownership of the issue by employees, will improve the initiative’s success. A tipping off campaign, developed alongside staff members, is likely to have better results than one imposed by management.
Provide regular updates on progress
It’s important to ensure that campaigns to reduce internal shrinkage are not seen as one-offs. They need to be sustained and have support at the highest level. Successes need to be recorded, shared and celebrated.
And it’s not just what you do – it’s important to consider the use of imagery and your tone of voice. Energy and innovation are also necessary to ensure that messages don’t go stale. By using communication to reduce internal shrinkage, alongside effective security measures, you‘ll also improve your company culture, staff morale, and long-term profitability.