Retail Store Management

Dealing With Retail Employees Who Steal

Retail theft is a big problem. The sad truth, however, is that thieving employees are the biggest cause of retail theft. Here's some excellent advice on how to prevent employees from stealing.

Loss by theft in retail establishments varies by the type of operation and the efficiency of management.

In this article, we take a look at employee theft and what store owners can do to prevent employees from stealing.

Statistics Regarding Retail Employee Theft

According to retail industry experts, dishonest employees account for about two-thirds of retail theft. Shoplifting accounts for the remaining third.

Losses range, for example, from 1.3 percent of sales for a well-managed department store to about 7 percent for a loosely controlled operation.

Protecting Against Dishonest Employees

You'll never stop theft completely. It's all about reducing theft by taking smart steps to minimize employee theft. Here are a few good tips for reducing employee theft:

Hire Honest People. It sounds trite but the best safeguard against employee theft is to hire honest workers. Too many retailers assume that prospective employees are honest. It's imperative to screen employees to make sure they are ethical, honest and have no prior criminal record.

Monitor Employees Closely. Sadly, trusting retailers are the most vulnerable storekeepers. Watch your new employees closely until you are satisfied that you can trust them. It's also important to keep an eye on employees that have been with you for a while. Circumstances can change, and even an honest employee can resort to stealing in dire circumstances.

Treat Employees Well. Employee theft is often revenge for the employee's perception that he is being mistreated or undervalued. Creating a positive atmosphere in your store is the best way to encourage employees to be hardworking, loyal and honest. Always treat employees with respect, and you will find that they will reciprocate. In addition, the owner must never be dishonest in his or her actions because employees will take that as a sign that it's OK to break the rules every so often.

Make It Hard for Employees to Steal. If you make it easy for employees to steal from you, you are partly to blame for employee theft issues. Take steps to crack down on any opportunities for theft.

Punish Employee Theft. When something is stolen by employees, bring the police in. Make sure employees know that you will not tolerate theft by employees. Prosecute any employee you catch stealing. Do not give them a slap on the wrist, or else word will spread that employees can steal from you and there is little downside to their dishonesty.

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