A report from University of Leicester crime research company PRCI reveals that businesses face a massive hit on their profit margins- because employees are ripping them off.
The study reports interviews with dishonest staff and finds they collude with colleagues and join companies specifically because they believe they are a soft touch for theft.
Researcher Professor Martin Gill is calling for retailers to listen to their own dismissed staff to learn key lessons on how to prevent theft.
Professor Gill said staff dishonesty still involves taking money from the till and stealing goods – although cheating on discount cards was common.
And those committing the crimes come from all grades - from cashiers to managers. Some even join firms regarded as being a ‘soft touch.’
Professor Gill said: ‘The findings are striking: almost one third of the 35 interviewees admitted having colluded with colleagues or friends and family in committing offences; and two thirds of interviewees were aware of dishonesty amongst other staff.’
The research reveals that much of the theft occurs early in the supply chain – for example in the warehouse. It also indicates that thieves are motivated by different factors – including having a grudge against their employers.
Professor Gill noted: ‘Interviewees believed their chances of getting caught were low, largely because of poor in-store security; they made use of CCTV blind spots and took advantage of ad hoc approaches to policies and procedures.”
Employee dishonesty is a major problem. The latest Figures from the ‘global theft barometer’, found that in the UK 34% of theft is due to staff, resulting in a cost of £1.3 billion (€1.9 billion). The global costs of retail crime, based on the costs of thefts by customers, disloyal employees and suppliers and vendors plus the costs of loss prevention were £54.5 million, equivalent to £142.85 ($283.61) per household.
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