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Hiring Loss Prevention Associates: It’s a People Business

Proactive loss prevention leaders have recognized that their success or failure will almost always fall on the shoulders of the people they attract into their department. Those who have been truly successful have not only managed to attract top loss prevention associates, but have been able to keep the talent in-house by growing and cultivating it.

It is not accidental that the first thing on the to-do list is “loss prevention department reorganization.” Whether reinventing a loss prevention department, building a startup program, or taking over one that has been ineffective, everything seems to evolve around the organizational structure of the department. Once finalized, the focus will shift on people and the need to hire them.

Smart, confident executives will always strive to hire people better than they are. They search the industry to hire individuals who are so extraordinary, that if they bring them into the organization, they will most likely be creating the day-to-day challenges, rather than responding to them.

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These same executives look for world-class learners who are professional, have a track record of success, and above all have an insatiable desire to become smarter in all areas of the business, not just loss prevention. They have the ability to figure out what needs to be done better, quicker, and more efficiently than their predecessors, and they can clearly communicate this message to their immediate supervisor or their operational counterparts. Unfortunately, those executives who are insecure tend to hire just the opposite types of people, and it shows in their department’s performance or lack thereof.

Preparing a loss prevention organization chart, although challenging, is not difficult. Attracting and developing the talent needed to reduce retail shrink and execute the department’s strategic plan/vision is. How does this get accomplished?

1. Set extremely high expectations and standards for the people in the department.
2. Set the expectation that professional development is not optional; it is a necessity.
3. Place a strong focus on cutting-edge technologies and programs.
4. Encourage diversity in the workplace from within the organization’s talent base.
5. Develop a succession plan that focuses on promotion from within.
6. Hire one, work them like three, and pay them like two.

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Exceptional loss prevention associates at any level want to work for organizations or leaders that set extremely high standards, promote professional development, place a strong focus on cutting-edge technology, encourage diversity, and promote from within. It also doesn’t hurt to pay higher salary and bonus than your competitors. Those that follow the six points above can afford to pay their people more — much more—because they will have attracted the best people in the industry who will do twice the work as a marginal performer. They will also have fewer of them, which will be noted by everyone in the organization, especially at budget time. Simply put, exceptional talent will do more with less and achieve incredible results.

I am continuously amazed at how many talented individuals are in our industry waiting to be recruited or promoted from within. They possess all the skill sets described above, but for whatever reason have been overlooked and never given an opportunity to be successful or take on added responsibility. For the record, most of my personal success has come from identifying these individuals, especially those in stores whom I could promote into positions of more responsibility. Once promoted, they become extremely loyal to the department, its mission, and, more importantly, the company. In the end, if you hire good people they will not push you out, they will push you up.

This article was excerpted from “Managing Retail Shrink Through Program Development.” The original article was published in 2005. This article was updated December 5, 2016. 

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