LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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WOMEN OF LOSS PREVENTION senior vice president of retail operations for the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). "This survey supports that notion, as well. But with that in mind, there is no question that the industry has a long way to go to achieve greater gender equality and diversity within our ranks. We know that those conversations are taking place now at retail companies, and it's part of our mission at RILA to help encourage and facilitate the industry's progress from that perspective. Given these commitments, we're optimistic that the future of retail—one shaped by diversity of thought and inclusion—is in our sights." Recruiting and Developing Talent In response to the survey results, we asked industry leaders if they felt that retailers are doing an effective job of recruiting and developing female talent in loss prevention. While the response was mixed and most feel that significant strides have been made, most also agree that this remains an area of opportunity. In general terms, industry leadership believes that the inclusion of women in loss prevention—and more specifically leadership roles—is a critical aspect in the future of the profession. Several believe their companies are doing a good job of recruiting and developing women but feel this isn't a consistent practice across the industry and others may not emphasize this effort as much as they should. Others believe there is also disparity between policy and practice in many cases. Here are some of the comments offered by industry leaders: "The inclusion of women is critical, but it has to start with the LP leadership. As we take on the challenges in retail today and in the future, we need diversity of thought and a mindset to look for solutions that are not founded in the status quo." "Generally, I think retailers are doing a good job in this area, but there are still some pockets where there is very little female representation. I don't think retailers are doing a great job with developing females beyond middle-management positions. There are still far too few women in senior levels of leadership in retail loss prevention. "The best leaders learn to identify talent, ask the right questions to confirm that talent is genuine, and then take the right steps to secure and develop talented individuals. That's true regardless of gender or any other distinction. I believe this is a skill that many believe they have, but most lack, and that greatly contributes to the problem." The Blind Spot Many women believe that a "good ole boy" network still exists in loss prevention that somehow excludes women and/or others outside of the group. We then asked industry leaders for their thoughts on this issue. While some wouldn't specifically refer to it as a "good ole boy" network, every industry leader who responded stated they feel that while there has been a significant improvement in recent years, a subculture remains that appears to carry an exclusive bias, intolerance, misconception, or misunderstanding of others. There are those who tend to network and interact within their own group, a niche environment that lacks broad acceptance or inclusion. Most also agree that this is true throughout the business world and not exclusive to loss prevention. Reviewing the many comments on the subject that were made as part of our survey, it could be more specifically inferred that most women making these comments simply didn't feel included rather than deliberately excluded. There was a general perception that little effort is being made to change certain habits, rethink some events to make them more inclusive, welcome new faces, or otherwise modify behaviors to create a more inviting environment for women. Are we doing an effective job of recruiting and developing female talent in loss prevention? Yes, but... 45% No 45% Yes 10% "I've seen firsthand that women can find success in loss prevention, and in fact, it's a field with an incredible path for growth. This survey supports that notion, as well. But with that in mind, there is no question that the industry has a long way to go to achieve greater gender equality and diversity within our ranks. Given these commitments, we're optimistic that the future of retail—one shaped by diversity of thought and inclusion—is in our sights." – Lisa LaBruno, Esq., Senior Vice President of Retail Operations, Retail Industry Leaders Association 51 LP MAGAZINE | JULY–AUGUST 2018

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