One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is “a problem cannot be solved on the same level of consciousness that created it.” This keen observation allows us to consider different perspectives in the loss prevention industry, especially when confronted with a client’s confusion over the unexplained reduction of revenue, profits, or inventory. Often, the client is frustrated by repeated attempts to solve the issue, only to find that the perpetrators have circumvented their prescribed solution. In other words, to be effective, we need to understand the level of consciousness in which the problem was created to design sustainable solutions. A more profound and more systemic challenge is usually where we begin to turn the trend of these issues.
An excellent example of this is when we are brought in to solve a “shrink” problem or identify activities that support internal loss, whether from single employees or employees in collaboration with outside customers or vendors. It is usually the first option to install procedures that are designed to apply control right where the leak(s) may be occurring. The disappointment is felt when the stakeholders realize they have not elevated their consciousness to support the process changes adequately and surely install the fix, instead they have just treated the symptoms of the problem. Soon the losses start adding up again
Before we can expect any new device or process to have any impact on internal crime, we must consider the view of the enterprise’s culture from the employees, vendors, and customers. Culture is not something that can be directly created. It is a by-product of something more powerful, the emotional ownership of those who are tied to protect and defend the brand. To expect any process or procedural change to have an impact on the level of internal theft, a sense of honor to the autonomy of the employees and those of their fellow teammates is required. Nefarious minds will find ways to take what they believe they are entitled to. It is our experience that creating a sustainable culture of honesty at the talent vetting process, followed by reinforcement through process, training, and recognition, will make bad behavior the exception to the rule and begin to establish a culture of honesty.
Pre-screening employees as to their past criminal acts or even looking into their credit history is only the beginning. We recommend administering some simple test before the initial interview first to determine if they possess the behavioral tendencies to fit the position. This allows alignment for the employee so they can reach their optimum feeling of value to the team sooner rather than later. The culture of honesty you seek has its foundation in employees feeling valued and a sense of belonging.
As in most cases, getting the right solution offers no quick path to cure. The losses you are experiencing probably did not start occurring overnight; hence, they will not be fixed overnight. Change your consciousness of what brought you the challenges in the first place, and you will find the solution not just more satisfying, but perhaps more sustainable throughout your business enterprise