THE MAGAZINE

Using Culture to Cure Theft

By Millie Kresevich

Results
The reviews from within the company have been excellent. The program has been embraced by employees and management alike as thought-provoking and informative.

Some regions are already reporting better communication and increased teamwork as a result of going through the training. The results for this type of program are difficult to quantify in dollars, but my company has seen lower turnover, a downward trend in shrink, and fewer calls to the anonymous hotline—all of which has also meant fewer investigations.

You may ask yourself if this type of integrity-awareness training is the right thing to do for your own organization. The answer is “yes.” Although this program was created in the retail environment, it can be effective in any type of business. And it is definitely needed in every company, because every company has employees, who are its lifeblood.

Employees are human beings whose behavior will be affected by how they are treated and the environment in which they work. In the end, that simple idea can be more powerful in management’s hands than any amount of antitheft or surveillance technology. By educating managers about how their own behavior can engender employee honesty, companies can help to reduce theft, improve morale, and secure a profitable future for everyone with a stake in the organization.

SYNOPSIS
Any company can make itself an incubator for disgruntled employees primed for crime, or it can recognize the problem and proactively create an environment in which employees thrive and business prospers.

Through interviews with hundreds of employees caught stealing, I learned that it did not matter what policies and procedures a corporation espoused or put in its handbook. Workers react to how they are treated and to the prevailing culture.

To combat counterproductive behavior that encourages a lack of integrity in the workplace, I developed a core curriculum for a training program. It’s objective is to foster a culture in which employee honesty would be likely to flourish. The program teaches employees how to communicate with one another effectively, comply with ethics policies, address specific situations, and build a foundation of integrity.

The reviews from my own company have been excellent. Some regions are already reporting better communication and increased teamwork as a result of going through the program. The results for this type of program are difficult to quantify in dollars, but my company has seen lower turnover, a downward trend in shrink, and fewer calls to the anonymous hotline—all of which has also meant that the company has to contend with fewer investigations into employee theft.

Millie Kresevich is the regional loss prevention development manager for Luxottica Retail in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

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