Across the retail industry, we hear loss prevention teams echo the same challenges, “how do we get our store teams to actively prevent incidents before they occur?”.
The prevention model is a dream state, chased by many and achieved at scale by very few retailers in the industry. Briscoe Group Loss Prevention Manager, Nathan Breed, tells us how he employed a simple catch phrase across his stores to help build a ‘culture of awareness’, and how this and a number of other Loss Prevention initiatives has led to their lowest loss in over a decade.
What’s the biggest challenge you face engaging store teams in prevention?
It’s about confidence - for many team members, it’s knowing all their options in any given theft or potential theft situation. It’s knowing what they could actually do safely or what they would be prepared to do to make an impact.
Is that where the “see something, do something” approach comes into play?
Absolutely! A quick phrase was introduced that the team can use in real life situations, to remind each other that any action is helpful. It’s about taking a step forward to preventing crime and taking responsibility for what’s happening in your store.
For example, the store team members could:
- Simply say "hello"
- Make eye contact with a potential subject - It’s a reminder that someone is watching them and is often enough to deter subjects
- Notify a colleague that you’ve spotted a potential subject
- Do a security call over the intercom
- Phone the police
Do something, whatever you choose to do. But do not bury your head in the sand and tell yourself it isn’t your problem.
You talk often talk about a ‘culture of awareness’. What does that mean in practice for store teams?
A culture of awareness means that every person on that store team is invested in protecting their stock, they know what impact they can have on loss whilst carrying out their daily duties and in doing so protect our profits and ensuring their store isn’t an easy target. It’s the belief across the team, that inaction is not an option.
“That’s how our losses have got to where they are today (the lowest in a decade), despite growing our national footprint and potential exposure to loss”
What impact has the cultural changes had on your business?
Our teams have driven our losses down. They’re currently the lowest they’ve been in a decade, even though we’re growing in the number of stores, products, increasing our exposure to loss. That’s how we know the culture of awareness and unrelenting focus on team driven preventions, works. Effective loss prevention never comes just from the in-store Loss Prevention staff alone, it’s from an invested team: a team that cares about their people, their store and their stock. Our teams are invested and passionate about preventing loss.
Nathan’s top tips in creating a ‘Culture of Awareness’ for your store teams:
- Share and promote your approach at all levels of the business.
- Talking regularly about loss prevention at a store level: in daily huddles, in store leadership meetings, make it measurable and always do what you can to keep prevention front of mind. Loss Prevention should be a trusted partner of business success.
- Help stores understand the actual impact for each theft, like sharing the tangible for your business e.g. for X amount of Y product stolen, we have to make $X of sales.
- Recognise stores that do a great job - measure their contributions and let them know exactly how their efforts are making an impact (and show other stores, how they can achieve similar results). There is nothing wrong with a bit of competition.
- Don’t be afraid to share information, doing so spreads the loss prevention culture of awareness. Auror will help you achieve this through the notification to others of incidents and the people of interest. It should become a normal practice and not seen as something you have to do, it is something you want to do.