Effective education and training provides retail employees with knowledge of the best practices that help companies achieve key business objectives and remain competitive. Building a corporate culture that motivates associates to engage in the learning process and exhibit positive behavior while on the job is essential. So, too, is rewarding and recognizing retail employees in meaningful ways when they make choices that serve the best interests of the organization, their coworkers and themselves.
For retailers, managing risks, specifically inventory shrinkage, is an age-old and very costly problem. According to the 2006 National Retail Security Survey (NRSS) published by the University of Florida, the U.S. retail industry lost more than $40.5 billion in 2006 due to shrinkage. The retailers surveyed attributed 47 percent of their shrinkage — approximately $19 billion in losses — specifically to employee theft. In addition, poor safety practices by employees can cut significantly into retailers' bottom lines in terms of worker compensation costs and lost productivity. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2006 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses revealed that of the 4.2 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that occurred in private industry workplaces in 2005, nearly 15 percent happened in the retail trade sector.