(Editor’s Note: This article is by the late Brad Kelsheimer who worked with Hayes Intl for many years.)
Do confidential LP reporting programs really work? In more than 25 years in the loss prevention industry, I can honestly say AYes@. But keep in mind that a program is only as good as you make it. This type of program must be marketed to your associates just like your company=s products must be marketed to be successful. There are several confidential reporting programs out there, as well as various loss prevention and safety awareness programs.
I can honestly say that from an investigative point-of-view, approx. 10-15% of all employee theft cases over the past 25 years have come from company-wide confidential reporting programs. If this shrink reduction tool is used properly, it can become even more effective than the above percentages. In most organizations, a call-in type feature is used to obtain information on possible theft/abuse activities taking place inside an organization. These calls usually concern some type of employee misconduct or theft activity. Over the years I have investigated a few large employee theft cases which more than returned their investment for the confidential reporting program.
The confidential LP reporting program can consist of flyers, posters, etc. all containing information on the program and a confidential call-in number. The main part of the program is getting the word out. This must be followed-up with monthly or quarterly meetings as well as some type of reward/compensation program for reporting the suspicious activity. Over the years, nothing seems to work better than a cash reward.
As a Loss Prevention Professional when attending shrink meetings one item from the program is always a little misunderstood by employees. Many employees seem to think that they need to be able to prove the theft/abuse occurrence before they will make a call to a hotline system. This should not be the case. The call is just information that could lead to an investigation or be helpful in determining if any wrongdoing was occurring. Now it is always wise to ensure that the person receiving the call gets as much information as possible and re-assures the caller that the information provided is extremely confidential. A follow-up call to the original caller should be done at the end of the investigation only to provide a brief update on the case. This will re-assure the employee that the information is both confidential and is actually being researched and investigated.
So, in closing, your confidential LP reporting program is only as good as you allow it to be. These programs do work, and will pay dividends in the long run. This is just another tool for the investigator to use to ensure a successful conclusion to an investigation. $