LP Magazine

MAY-JUN 2019

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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TOOLS AND TRAINING HELP LP TEAMS PUNCH BACK AGAINST VIOLENCE big priority of ours to ensure that our restaurants are safe and secure for customers and safe work environments for our employees." Macy's is another leading retailer that has recently focused on managing conflict, especially the potential for violence during suspect apprehensions. In fall 2018, it started to send asset protection staff in select markets through conflict management training. By the end of 2019, the goal is to have all AP colleagues trained, according to Tara Nutley, Macy's director of asset protection, training, and communication. "Selecting the right facilitators to deliver the class was important," said Nutley. "We had several AP executives from all regions participate in the 'Train the Trainer,' which helped us put together an aggressive training plan for 2019." Like McDonald's, Macy's initiative was sparked less by a specific rise in problems and more by a generalized recognition of today's threat environment. "Although the number of shoplifting incidents remained consistent, the threat level increased," said Nutley. "We decided to find a training program that was geared toward non-escalation and de-escalation strategies. We want our AP team to have the skills in order to safely manage an incident while being confident to disengage if the threat level makes that appropriate." To better manage shoplifting incidents and assist customers, Macy's AP staff is developing a range of skills during training, including using the universal greeting, managing conflict, identifying conflict triggers, and positioning bodies. Although it's too early to gauge specific benefits, there are upstream indicators that training will yield better results. "The AP team has positively reacted to the training program and expressed that they have more confidence when managing difficult situations," said Nutley. One key to the successful development of the program, said Nutley, was a strong commitment to the training program by its vendor and all AP associates. Holm similarly cited the importance of stakeholder support to its successful rollout. Holm said they first tested its training program for restaurant managers on their supervisors. "They got it in advance, so they were more than just aware of it, and so they would support it as well, and we made a few improvements as a result of their feedback," said Holm. "It has to be a cross-functional effort. You need to make sure you're partnering with everyone you need to in order to move the ball across the goal line." Top executive support is clearly critical as well, especially since the natural result of training managers about handling violent incidents is a spike in reported incidents. "The expectation is that once you heighten awareness and have more consistency in who to report an incident to and how to report it, that the incident rate is likely to spike and then gradually plateau," said Holm. "If we don't spike, I would worry that we didn't do a very good job." Although active-shooter events are extremely rare, they too need to be part of the conversation between LP leaders and top management, said Hartman. "We're simply too exposed from a risk perspective to not have an open dialogue about worst-case scenarios." For a retailer that is just starting to formally address violence in stores, a "crawl, walk, run approach" is going to be necessary, according to Todd McGhee, an active-shooter and anti-terrorism trainer at Protecting the Homeland Innovations. In addition to training, a robust program must include incident analysis; a mass communication plan, including a platform for relaying critical information via text or email to sets of designated stakeholders; emergency response planning, including people tracking, reunification protocols, and leadership redundancy; internal and external coordination and planning, potentially including law enforcement, other retailers, and property managers and landlords; and all the way up to drills and exercises. Training is a vital part of that planning effort, said McGhee. He suggests it should be as interactive as possible. "Ideally, get to them in their environments and out of their seats," he said. For employees most likely to encounter potential violence, he said four hours of instruction is probably appropriate. He acknowledges that cost is always a concern but that he's participated in full-day training courses that were free to retail stores through a cooperative effort among property managers, consultants, and local authorities having jurisdiction. "That kind of coordination can be an effective way to share the financial burden," he said. Todd McGhee "People need to be aware of the specic things they should say and also what not to say, and how body language can help a situation or make it worse. The goal, really, comes down to building awareness for situations that they may get exposed to that can put their safety at risk." – Rob Holm, McDonald's Tara Nutley 18 MAY–JUNE 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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