You Have to Know When to FREAK OUT

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    Years ago, I worked in the retail industry as a multi-unit manager. During that time, I worked with a Director of Loss Prevention that would spend hours educating supervisors and managers on preventing store loss. Some of the most important things I learned during this tenure were things I learned from him. Some of them were the common Loss Prevention Messages:

    • Only a very small percentage of shrink is external (less than 10%)
    • The majority of shrink is caused by paper or operational fails
    • Everyone is a suspect
    • Complete your audits in an irregular pattern

    However, the most important message he sent was, “When the store employees fail to do this one thing (insert most important loss prevention topic), FREAK OUT, but don’t FREAK OUT all the time. Only on the big stuff.”

    I find myself going back to this sentiment often. It is applicable nearly daily in HR and management. The key to doing it successfully is knowing the difference between the little things and the “Freakoutables.” (yes, I made up my own word). Now, I am not suggesting ignoring the little things. If it is important enough to have a policy around it, support the policy, just don’t FREAK OUT. If it isn’t, don’t waste time creating the policy, to begin with; let the grownups be grownups.

    Understanding what warrants a FREAK OUT requires that HR knows the business and also requires that HR communicates the HR stuff to the business folks. The business folks can’t make good HR decisions if they don’t know why their important and HR can’t make good business decisions if they don’t know the business. So if you want somewhere to start, start there. And STOP FREAKING OUT about everything. Who has the time or the energy?

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    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is available to help you with your Human Resources and Training needs on a contract basis. For more information send an email to or visit Follow me on Twitter @Sherimaz.