Recently a former subordinate from one of my previous companies came to me, shattered and frustrated. He had just helped his company with a recovery of merchandise totaling more than $1 million (US) dollars following a thorough investigation that included interviews of persons of interest and concerned stakeholders, CCTV evidence, and information originating from witnesses sharing various process violations. However, after he submitted his investigative report, the response wasn’t what he expected.
I was impressed by his thorough analysis of the case. However, it was the conclusion of his investigative report that needed additional attention. The way that information is presented—and ultimately the way that it is interpreted, can have a profound impact on the way that the entire investigation will be viewed. If not managed correctly, this can potentially erase much of the good work that is accomplished during the investigation.
The report should be about presenting information, not casting blame. While we may discuss mishaps, poor controls and other opportunities that lead to theft and loss, the case report is not the place for judgment. Here we may discuss business or financial implications that have occurred or could result in the future. We may present thoughts and ideas that may lead to solutions to a problem, or other valuable inputs and suggestions to the company.
Being a loss prevention professional, you must understand your role in the business. We are here to minimize the losses and risk while optimizing profits. We must see ourselves as partners and not adversaries. Achieving these goals are an important aspect being an employee of the company. We don’t have to be disliked to be effective, and this should never be our approach. Build respect, rather than animosity. So, to avoid the “Hates” let’s work on few aspects:
- Be a good People Manager – Your attitude and the way you talk to people is very important. When you direct the store team in security awareness meetings, be a good listener. Look for ways to apply your message. Create a platform that others will respect, understand, and reinforce.
- Coach while You Walk – Introduce yourself to other employees in the store. Find ways to talk to them and understand their concerns. Take notes if necessary. Give them the confidence that they are speaking to the right person. This will help you build a better understanding of what’s happening in company and also helps you in building relationships.
- Interact with the Sales and Finance Teams – Loss prevention and the sales team should never be seen as adversaries. Discuss the outcomes of investigations and revenue recovered in ways that they will listen to you. Share your views on analysis of investigations and how it pertains to financial frauds. Discuss ways to improve policies and standard operating procedures. Be a powerful source of insight.
- Be an Active Participant in Store or Office Meetings – Speak, guide, and share stories in the meeting. LP managers should not be silent and calm. This is a time to share your observations, reinforce security awareness, and build relationships. Discuss positive things you found during security or operational audits, and show appreciation for people. Take time to show your appreciation as well as your knowledge. Be an active part of the store all the time and not only when you think it is important.
- Show Respect even to Offenders in the Investigation – Show respect, be polite, and be a good listener during interviews when conducting your investigations.
- Reward & Recognition – Security deliverables should always be both quantitative and qualitative. Give incentives to the security team based on how much profit or loss minimization they provided for the business. Reward those employees that provide valuable information that helps reduce losses. Be an active department.
- Help the Business Operations in Clearing the Gap Raised During Your Audits – Loss prevention managers should do more than check the process loops, and identify gaps and violations. Work with the team, share ideas and provide guidelines.
When loss prevention professionals are willing to apply these steps, you’re more likely to hear them saying, “everybody loves me.”