Retail Theft

Increased Retail Theft And Temporary Seasonal Hiring


When you own a retail business, you’re well acquainted with the highs and lows of busy seasons. Hiring temporary staff is a smart way to have the extra help you need in a retail rush — but that’s not to say seasonal help comes without downsides. When new employees are in and out in a short period of time, it’s all too easy for things to go missing without anyone realizing it. So how can you protect yourself from retail theft when you’re relying on temporary staff? To help answer those questions, here’s a look at specific tips for vetting potential hires and reducing retail theft. By taking these precautions, you’ll better insulate yourself from unexpected business losses.


  1. Tighten Up Your Hiring Process: Filtering out unreliable employees starts with the first interaction, so don’t delegate this task to a low-level staff member. Likewise, when you need extra hands, it’s tempting to rush the hiring process, but be sure to call references, check work history and verify records before taking someone onto your team. When anything is not actually as the applicant said, take note and be extra cautious before hiring. Always run background checks on any potential hires, too.
  2. Explain Your Loss-Prevention Policy to New Hires: There’s nothing wrong with letting temporary staff members know how seriously you take internal theft. Educate them on the ways that you are checking records and employing security measures, and make it obvious how you respond to breaches in internal security. Every person hired should be keenly aware that if he or she steals, he or she will be caught.
  3. Equip Your Retail Space with Security Cameras: Once you’ve hired temporary staff members, it’s up to you to monitor them properly and stop thefts before they can occur. Install a security system that picks up all areas of your shop. If there are blind areas or spots that would be easy to hide in, reorganize your space so that these nooks no longer occur. Let your entire team know that you are monitoring operations so that they’ll be less tempted to try and steal.
  4. Limit the Amount of Cash on Hand: Keep large amounts of cash on hand, and you create unnecessary temptation for workers. Instead, limit the amount of money you keep at your store, and create a set procedure for where cash goes and how it’s documented.
  5. Run Spot Checks on Inventory and Cash Drawers: At random times, run spot checks on product inventory or drawers. If it’s possible, run a drawer reconciliation and see if things are adding up. While there may not be anything strange in the spot check, you will communicate the message that you’re paying attention and checkups can happen anytime. This may be enough to deter would-be thefts from occurring.
  6. Carefully Track Inventory: Nowadays it’s easier than ever to automatically track inventory, so enlist the help of a quality POS system and monitor your inventory accordingly. With a good POS system, you’ll not only have a way to know when products are missing, you’ll have a way to deter employee theft.
  7. Empower Employees to Report Theft: Most of the time when someone is stealing, someone else knows what’s going on. But if the other employee(s) doesn’t think his or her voice will be heard, it’s unlikely a report will come in. Likewise, he or she may fear retaliation from the offender. With that in mind, make it easy for your staff members to report breaches in security. You might set up a confidential business line where reports can be made and later investigated. When people know they’re listened to and that they can report without fear, they’re much more likely to tell you what’s going on.


Ultimately, you can never guarantee that thefts won’t happen in your business. You can, however, take appropriate steps to ensure that stealing from your company is hard for employees. Use the guide above as a list of basic steps to prevent retail theft, particularly from seasonal workers.


About the author:

Wes Wernette oversees marketing at FireKing Security Group ( in New Albany, IN. FireKing offers products and services for retail security, including cash management products and video surveillance equipment. Their products are available from dealers all over the world.

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