Apparel just ran a fascinating article on how former federal agents can help solve retailers’ employee theft problems. According to the article, the same practices used in fighting drug dealers applies to tracking down thieves inside the workplace. In particular, professionally conducted interview and interrogation tactics and procedures play a critical role in identifying the prime suspects in inside theft and solving this costly problem.
Given that the employee theft rate, which held steady at 15% from 1969 to 2006, skyrocketed to an alarming 75% later that year, and that employee theft cost U.S. Retailers $18.4 Billion in 2011, this is becoming a critical issue.
So where do you start? First, start with the red flag employees.
The article notes that there are four types of employee thieves actively engaged in stealing time, money, or products from their employers:
- Thieves by Nature
who enjoy stealing
- Employees who feel Entitled
because the world owes them more than what they earn
- Employees Stealing out of Desperation
as they are in extreme debt or have a drug/gambling/other problem compounded by a weak economy
- Theft by Target of Opportunity
where money in plain sight will be taken
These employees can be identified by well trained private investigators, with experience in the right areas of law enforcement, who can ask probing questions, confirm facts, corroborate allegations, and identify the full magnitude of theft in your organization. These interviews should focus on scheduling, accounting and inventory activities, and similar supply management practices where the greatest opportunities for theft occur. And conducted properly, in full accordance with the law, they will identify the perpetrators of theft much faster than if the organization waits until its losses mount to the point where law enforcement agencies take notice.