Employee theft is nothing new to the work place.  From the largest retail stores to the smallest boutique businesses, some people will try to take advantage and steal from their employers.  Unfortunately, according to a new report on loss-prevention, the number of employee theft cases is on the rise.  This has been blamed on two specific things.  The first stems from poor pre-employment screening practices.  The second is the decline in supervision.

The study of 23 large retail companies revealed the ineffective screening policies that some companies have at the point of hire.  The first step to controlling internal theft starts during the initial interview process which includes a thorough background check.  Several retailers have lowered the requirements for hiring and are now hiring more questionable employees.  The study showed that one out of every 36 employees is caught stealing by their employers.  With this statistic, and the lowering of requirements for hiring, the employment screening process that companies use is called into question.  Obviously, with the passing of the EEOC guidance on the use of criminal reports in the hiring process, companies are more careful in their criteria for weeding out potential employees.  If a store does not conduct an adequate background check, however, they might miss the possible red flags that would show that a new hire is a risk for theft based on their criminal history.

This study outlines the need for companies to be working to hire honest, motivated and outgoing employees.  When it comes to supervision, employers want to allow for a certain amount of autonomy and in a retail store environment, the need for trust becomes all the more important.  When a hire is made, an employer wants to know that the person hired can function in this type of environment.

Obviously, only so much can be learned from an employment screening and in the end, an employer has to decide based on everything in front of them what the right hiring decision will be.  A background check, however, will provide a lot of pertinent information, and if done correctly, can go a long way to ensuring that the hiring decision that is made will be the correct one and will not adversely affect the company.

Whatever the reason for the rise in employee theft, retail companies are looking for ways to curtail this growing problem.  Theft results in a loss of profits, and in turn causes prices to rise for the consumer.  Every retail company needs to ensure that they are doing everything they can to avoid this problem.  Loss prevention training and awareness programs are tools that are used effectively in retail stores, but attempting to weed out potential problems needs to start at the point of hire with an extensive employment screening program.

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