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 Security Solutions. "And statistics are starting to show that if people knew better how to communicate with others, the amount of workplace violence would substantially decrease." The risk rises the farther one goes down on the organizational chart, suggested McGhee. "On one hand, you may have a long-time store manager who is very invested in the success and growth of the company and will be focused on responding to be people in a very professional manner. On the other hand, you may have a minimum wage employee who feels no investment, and so when faced with a problem person, they can quickly become irate themselves and quickly become part of the problem," said McGhee. A new study by researchers at Eastern Connecticut State University shows that workplace shootings increasingly have these types of disputes at their genesis, as opposed to robberies. Analyzing 1,533 workplace homicides from firearms between 2011 and 2015, researchers found that, compared to historical data, these crimes were increasingly in nonrobbery events. "This includes things like arguments, both arguments between employers and employees, arguments between customers and employees, as well as other types of crimes [like] intimate partner violence, mass shootings, and other types of circumstances," said Mitchell Doucette, health sciences assistant professor, in announcing the results of the study. William Singleton is a partner at Vistelar, a provider of conflict management training that has worked with several retailers to enhance the skills of asset protection staff. The method of training has varied to fit the organization. As noted, Macy's utilized a train-the-trainer model. REI chose to deliver training online. Kroger-affiliate Pick 'n Save used Vistelar to deliver four-hour live-training blocks directly to LP staff. Regardless of the instruction method, content should be founded on treating people with dignity by showing respect, according to Singleton. "I think across all professions there is a sense that the level of aggression is going up. Things are more volatile," he said. "Our 'non-escalation' training program emphasizes setting context and treating people right, so the situation doesn't escalate." Empathy is at the core of its training philosophy. In addition to improving outcomes, that focus has the added benefit of being popular with human resources departments and retail organizations. "They love the whole foundation of treating people with respect," Singleton noted. Specifically, with respect to customer management, empathy focuses on acknowledging their perspective, seeking to understand, and anticipating their needs. "By using the 'empathy triad,' employees gain confidence in this skill," said Singleton. "And if you do happen to come late and the situation has already escalated, our proxemics—body positioning, hand positioning, and situational awareness—coupled with our redirections and persuasion sequence are popular tools that provide staff with more confidence to handle the situation." When private facilities devise a perimeter protection strategy, it is a best practice to clearly identify the property boundary, so that individuals have no excuse for trespassing onto it. It's similar in person-to-person security, said several experts. Store associates should create boundaries when dealing with threatening individuals, by holding up their hands to indicate they shouldn't come any closer or asking them politely to lower their voices. "You need to set a boundary so that you know when people cross it," advised Hector Alvarez, president of Alvarez Associates, in his 2019 ISC West conference presentation, "Workplace Violence Prevention and Response." A strong level of confidence among staff is key to tamping down situations that have the potential to spiral out of control. Active listening, offering options, and giving people time to reconsider are learned skills that give staff options for keeping situations on a path of non-escalation. "But if you don't have that confidence or a structured framework you can refer to in the heat of the situation, situations can easily follow the 'red brick road,'" warned Singleton. Jesse Stanley, CPP, CFI, is principal and consultant at Strongside Principles, a business training and consulting firm, with more than a decade of experience directing retail investigations and loss prevention teams. He suggested that while training builds on a client's existing programs, it can also mean revisiting some very basic aspects of loss prevention. "One of my clients wanted to redo the way they dealt with Jesse Stanley "People don't know how to talk to people, and it's not just a matter of telling people to listen. There are specic techniques to it and tools you need to give them. And statistics are starting to show that if people knew better how to communicate with others, the amount of workplace violence would substantially decrease." – Ben Scaglione, DVS Security Solutions William Singleton 20 MAY–JUNE 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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