The success of any organization is determined by the talent of its people. In his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, Jim Collins put it this way: “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”
Whether it’s a company, a loss prevention and safety department, or a sports team, the more talented people within the organization, the greater chance it has to succeed. Loading any organization with talented loss prevention professionals requires a comprehensive five-step people strategy.
Recruiting. The first component of this strategy is recruiting. It all starts with a sound recruiting strategy to ensure there is a sufficient pool of applicants.
Selection. Next, a standardized, competency-based selection process will ensure only the people who are most likely to succeed are hired into the organization. Selection tools should be based on core competencies that are essential to the job. Also, the selection process should be weighted to favor selection based on loss prevention skills and professional traits that are more difficult to train and develop. Some skills are easier to develop in an employee than others, such as how to use business inventory software, how to research a cash shortage, and how to apply interview and interrogation techniques in an investigation.
On the flip side are traits much more difficult to develop, such as integrity, intelligence, work ethic, drive for results, and a positive attitude. Therefore, selection tools should measure all relevant skills and attributes in a prospective employee, but should be weighted to select candidates who are stronger in the essential traits that are more difficult to develop.
Placement. Once you determine a candidate has the required skills and abilities for the job, the next priority is placement. Whether we are talking about store, district or regional level, or even corporate positions, placement is critical in positioning the person to succeed. Matching the strengths and weaknesses to the loss prevention position will help determine their success. Hiring managers must consider the background and abilities of the new hire as well as the needs of the stores and the management team they will be working with in making selection and placement decisions.
Onboarding. This brings us to the next step in the process, which is onboarding and initial training. For most new hires, depending on the complexity of the job, it takes somewhere between two and six months to fully grasp all the nuances. Also, during the first weeks and months, there will come a time when the new employee’s perceptions of the job meet the reality.
The purpose of the onboarding process is to get the new loss prevention professional through the first months on the job without overwhelming them. This process should get them to the point that they are aware of expectations and have a basic understanding of how to fulfill these expectations.
Development. Training continues beyond the initial onboarding period. Once the person is fully trained and knows how to perform his or her current job, the last step is development. For long-term success, focusing on developing additional skills will not only help them in their current position, but will ultimately prepare them for a position of higher responsibility in the organization. Continuing to train and develop employees is an essential strategy for retaining talented people long term.
Filling the Pipeline with Quality Candidates
A significant challenge facing any organization, whether you have one position to fill or hundreds, is how to attract highly talented and diverse candidates. This is important because the first step in the people process—recruiting—will eventually affect the subsequent steps. The better the candidates, the better choices you can make in selection and deployment and the more effective your training will be.
Recruiting is also the first step in building a diverse team. The best way to ensure you have a diverse team is by recruiting a diverse pool of applicants. The goal should always be to hire the best candidate for the job, based on their skills and abilities. The diversity mix of the candidates you recruit will ultimately be reflected in your staff.
This article was excerpted from “Recruiting Safety and LP Professionals at Lowe’s,” which was originally published in 2004. This article was updated December 20, 2016.