Because of the high value and highly portable nature of the merchandise, a jewelry store can be a tempting place for both prospective and current employees in need of quick cash.
And technology makes it easier for unscrupulous staffers to leverage transaction loopholes or nick a jewel or two. Common employee crimes include under-ringing tickets and keeping the difference; transferring false merchandise returns or layaway plans onto gift cards; re-directing company funds online; capturing funds from payments of fake invoices; and simply pocketing merchandise when no one’s looking.
Ideally, you’d only employ morally upstanding individuals who’d never steal from your business. But unfortunately, you never really know who might take advantage of an easy temptation. So, here’s how to keep an eye out for employee theft:
Make Your Associates Feel Valued
Employees who steal often think they deserve what they’re taking because they feel underpaid, overworked, undervalued or all the above. The holiday season can aggravate the problem because many people feel strapped for cash and pressured to buy gifts. Make sure your working environment and salaries reflect how you value your associates. Paying a little more up front could help create an environment that saves you money in the long run.
Make sure your store isn’t an easy target, from the inside out. Monitor all associates who handle jewelry merchandise, engage in financial transactions, or have access to computer systems or financial records. Make it known that you are periodically and thoroughly checking their work in general, and that doing so is consistent with the sound financial management of the operation.
Rotate Your Staffing Schedule
Avoid scheduling the same associates working together all the time. When you mix your assignment teams up, you make it harder for criminal collusion when potential associate thieves could team up or cover for one another. Varying your schedule can also give you an opportunity to more quickly uncover a theft. While one associate may look the other way, another staff member may be more inclined to report it.
Reconcile Your Sales Daily
Check your receipts daily, and price jewelry merchandise by stamp or machine, rather than by hand. Allow only authorized employees to price jewelry merchandise to avoid intentional underpricing. Having a disciplined system for pricing and inventory control doesn’t just help prevent internal theft, it’s also helpful in the event of a covered insurance claim, when your insurance carrier will ask you to substantiate your losses. —Jessica Thomaschefsky