According to the Global Retail Theft Barometer, an annual retail industry study, employee theft accounts for more than 40% of lost revenue, much greater than the losses associated with customer theft. Add this to the high employee turnover rates in many segments of the retail industry, and your ability to retain talented, committed and honest employees can mean the difference between a marginally successful business and a thriving enterprise.
Envysion’s managed video solution gives wireless retailers unprecedented visibility into store operations, suspicious transactions, and customer experience. Plus, Envysion is the only managed video solution that integrates with iQmetrix RQ POS. See the full picture of what’s really happening in your stores with data + video integration from Envysion and iQmetrix.
Using operational intelligence
You want to trust your employees, but theft happens. You can’t be in multiple locations at once, nor can you fully rely on suspicion or hearsay. How do you uncover the facts and take appropriate action to mitigate your losses and educate your employees on the consequences?
One of the most reliable tools at your disposal is video footage that shows theft occurring, whether at the point of sale or in the store room. You can watch video in real time or view recorded segments on demand. With remote access via many web-ready devices, you don’t even have to be inside the store to remain informed.
Looking beyond “how” to “why”
While it is essential to know how, where and when theft is occurring in your stores, an equally important consideration is why it happens in the first place. The study cites ineffective pre-employment screening and poor employee supervision as two key factors, suggesting that taking the time to foster a culture of performance excellence, accountability and trust is time well spent.
Consider these tips to get the most from your employees and motivate them to reach their full performance potential. After all, their success is your success.
1. First, set the tone
Yes, you’re busy. With an ever-growing “To Do” list, it may seem like you can’t afford to take time for small talk or other niceties. But don’t underestimate the benefits of a supportive work environment. Make an effort to get to know your employees through informal conversations. In retail, it’s all about having your staff on the floor, visible and available to assist customers. While it isn’t easy or desirable to disrupt this, look for ways to be accessible and approachable when you are on-site. Let your team know that you are open and available to talk. Encourage two-way communication, and follow up on the commitments you make to the team. Establishing a day-to-day rapport will help you build trust, boost employee engagement and promote productivity.
2. Communicate clear expectations
Be sure that all employees understand the responsibilities of their jobs and have the necessary training and resources to carry them out. Be equally clear about behavior that is not acceptable — whether it relates to theft, falsely reporting work hours, or unsatisfactory customer service — and the associated consequences for misconduct. Help them understand the bigger picture of how they, through their performance, influence the success of the business.
3. Be open to suggestions
Often, the most creative ideas come from the unlikeliest sources. While owners and managers set the strategy, in a retail environment your front-line employees are your secret weapon. They regularly interact with customers, giving them insight regarding preferences, frequently-asked questions or requests, and common complaints. Ask your team members what they are seeing and hearing, keep an open mind, and encourage them to share their ideas for improving the business.
4. Leverage strengths
Take a look at your strongest performers. Are you making the most of their skills and talents, or limiting them to the scope of their job descriptions? An experienced associate who has patience and a good rapport with people might do a great job training and mentoring new hires. Perhaps someone on the team is studying marketing or design and can assist with social media outreach efforts or contribute to a website relaunch. They benefit from the opportunities for professional growth, and your business benefits from their expertise.
5. Provide timely, specific feedback
Managing people sometimes means that you have to have difficult conversations. If you are experiencing performance problems with an employee, you owe it to them to be specific about the areas where they are not meeting expectations, including examples where possible. Many retailers find video surveillance footage to be a useful tool in providing clear evidence of lapses in an employee’s performance. You can use the footage to address concerns with your staff in real time. Then, listen to what they have to say, address any training needs, and follow up to evaluate progress.
6. Celebrate success
Did the team exceed its sales goals this month? Was last quarter’s inventory process flawless? Information gleaned from data monitoring tools can help you pinpoint areas of your operation that are running smoothly, allowing you to acknowledge and celebrate successes, small or large. Whether it is a simple “thank you” for a job well done, a pizza lunch, or an unexpected gift card, employees appreciate being recognized for their efforts and knowing that they have played a role in the company’s success.
Leading and motivating your employees may not be the easiest part of your job, but given the costs – in time and in dollars – associated with hiring and training new staff, it is certainly important to your bottom line, and can be rewarding as well.