And Our Survey Says…

What do you think about the top issues facing loss prevention professionals or the retail industry in general? If you could change one aspect of what we do in loss prevention, what would it be? Where do you think the industry should be focusing the most attention? If you could ask top leadership a question, what would it be? What is the best way to get results? What should we be talking about, and what do you have to say about it?

Opinions are like noses—everybody has one. They may come in many different shapes, forms, and sizes, but whether we realize it or not, they do have an impact on our voices and the way that we are heard. Your voice is important, and sharing your opinions can make a difference.

LP Magazine Online has recently introduced instant polls to provide a greater opportunity to actively interact with your peers, industry leadership, and the entire loss prevention community. Each week, we have been asking you to answer questions and express your opinions on topics that you want to discuss. This isn’t a complicated or time-consuming process but is simply a multiple-choice format that is intended to provide you with an interactive means to share your views on the topic at hand. If you so choose, you can contact us directly to share a different or more in-depth perspective on the subject. Participation is confidential, encouraging candid and sincere responses. Once we receive your feedback from the polls, we then provide an article that offers a summary of the results, along with any comments or observations gathered as a result of the poll. Here are a few examples of the poll questions and the results that have been shared thus far.

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If you are not attending but were given the opportunity to participate in the NRF PROTECT Conference, would you choose to attend?
Our survey indicated that an overwhelming 84 percent of respondents would choose to attend a conference if given the opportunity. Of the remaining respondents, 14 percent stated that they simply don’t know enough about the conference to make an informed decision one way or another.

Based on these results, we decided to offer our readers a greater opportunity to learn more about the conference experience and get more involved in the conference itself. In addition to our daily recaps and related resources, we recognized that an important aspect of the conference experience is deciding which breakout sessions to attend. We then allowed readers to choose a session to attend in a follow-up poll and provided a summary and feedback on the session to help them share the experience.

In general terms, what do you feel is the number one factor that holds back most loss prevention professionals from reaching their career goals?
A plan for professional development and personal improvement should include a renewed understanding and focus on skills and strengths. But there are many different factors that come into play as we each put together our plans. In the process we should never underestimate the value and importance of developing our skills, improving our productivity, looking for new and creative ways to perform, and striving for professional excellence. Still, these are never the sole factors in building a career. Talent is never the lone driver in our quest to reach the pinnacle of our professional aspirations.

Results showed that our respondents felt that all of these factors can have a direct bearing on our professional aspirations. As life unfolds, plans change. Priorities are revised to fit different needs and personal agendas. As we mature as individuals and as professionals, we will continue to make decisions that will have direct and lasting impacts on our personal and professional directions, and we each have to make choices that we feel are best for us.

What’s most important is that we make informed decisions. Understanding our personal and professional hurdles can give us better perspectives, make us better at what we do, and help us make more informed decisions as we move forward.

At which level of the loss prevention department should we be developing our technological talent?
Respondents firmly believed that developing technological talents should begin early in the career of our loss prevention professionals. While some feel that we should focus our efforts on filling specialized positions and task forces comprised on subject matter experts, a robust 71 percent of respondents believe that we should be developing the technological talents of our teams at every level of the department.

As stated by one industry leader, “The capacity for an LP professional to adapt to technology trends will define their career. Early adaptors will increase their value while laggards will struggle.” Awareness simply isn’t enough, and legitimate efforts must be supported by training and education. This will allow loss prevention professionals to become even more actively engaged in the success of the department and to impact the profitability of their organizations.

Do you feel that your company and your department are doing enough to encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
Looking at our poll results at first glance, it would appear that our respondents believe that our companies are across the board in managing their diversity and inclusion practices. More than a third of respondents feel that their companies and their departments are doing a good job of managing diversity and inclusion, while others believe that their organizations are not doing nearly enough. However, there are also indications of a more consistent response.

Our results indicate that the overwhelming majority (approximately 90 percent of respondents) feel that the subject has merit and is important, yet more than half (approximately 56 percent) believe that there is more that we can do to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This only further underscores the need to modify our way of thinking in order to deal effectively with the issues of communication, tolerance, adaptability, variety, and change.

Do you feel that the Confederate flag should be removed from the shelves and websites of our nation’s retailers?
With the controversy that was sparked after a white gunman, who allegedly wanted to start a “race war,” shot and killed nine people inside a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley called for South Carolina to remove the Confederate battle flag from its perch in front of the State House building in Columbia. Soon after, several retailers including Walmart, Amazon, eBay, and Sears announced bans on Confederate flag merchandise, with related products from the shelves and websites across the country.

Approximately 27 percent of respondents agreed that the Confederate flag should be removed from retail shelves and websites. However, approximately 74 percent of respondents feel that the flag should not be removed from our retails shelves and websites. Of those participants, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) feel that this is an issue that involves freedom of speech. The remaining respondents see the flag as a sign of pride and solidarity in the South—and not a symbol of racism. The flag was eventually removed.

This subject holds interest across retail channels as well as nationwide. It is a topic that many are passionate about and have an opinion on, and one that is relevant to the business of retail. The question was met with some conflicting opinions and active dialogue on social media. As might be expected, it also stirred many to participate in the survey.

Not every subject that we face has a clear-cut answer or provides us with a simple or easy choice. Not every result will turn out as we want or expect. Our intent is to provide a platform for thought and discussion. We want to give the LP community a voice in a way that will give every individual an opportunity to respond and provide meaningful feedback. Whether a poll reinforces an opinion or leads us to an alternative perspective, there is still value when we share meaningful dialogue.

We Value Your Input

This is just a small sample of the polls that have been conducted, and you can review additional polls and results at losspreventionmedia.com. Thus far, the results have been encouraging, with strong participation and strong opinions covering a broad spectrum of topics.

Our goal is to touch on subjects that are relevant, educational, and informative. By the same respect, we want this to be a resource that reflects your ideas and participation. The polls are intended to provide a means to enhance interaction and share information while providing options on how and what information will be delivered. Your input is critical to finding meaningful results.

Moving forward, we will look for additional opportunities for you to get involved and are open to your thoughts and suggestions. We want the polls to be thought-provoking, informative, and educational, but we want to have some fun with it as well. If you have any thoughts on topics or questions, we would love to hear them.

Your ideas and opinions can make a difference, and we want to provide any opportunity that we can to give you that voice. Every one of us has the ability to influence change and help shape the future of the industry. However, it’s still up to you to seize the opportunity and make sure that your voice is heard.

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