Tattoos in the workplace

core values culture team Sep 19, 2019

Tattoos in the workplace 

 
I want to challenge your thoughts and perceptions of tattoos in the workplace. 
 
Legally employers are free to implement their own rules on the displaying of tattoos in the workplace. There is no law which prohibits you from asking workers to cover up tattoos, or even to impose a blanket ban on them throughout your organisation, unless it is proven the tattoos are for religious purposes.
 
However, before making an ultimate decision, employers should consider the detrimental effect it may have on workplace morale.
 
Asking an employee to cover up could result in resistance and ultimately loosing really good team members. 
 
Asking them to cover up who they are, a part of themselves is detrimental to their mindset and ultimately loss of respect for the employer. 
 
I remember back to the days when I was employed 😳 I worked for a large telecommunications company and was customer facing. 
 
I was good at my job, no, I was really good at my job. I had a high conversion rate and great at customer service. I dealt with a large proportion of the elder generation and 95% of these were intrigued. 
 
It was a conversation starter. They approached me to look, ask questions and ultimately start the conversation and sales process. 
 
They wanted to know why a girl had so many, why they were all dark, what they were and what they meant. They actually mean I like the picture, no other reason although they were interested in talking to me because of my art work. 
 
Not one was offended or put off. Some voiced third dislike for them but never have I had any negative feedback other than my own grandma who retches every time she sees me 🤷🏻‍♀️
 
My employer asked me to wear an arm bandage to cover them. Which I refused. The reason I refused is because the guys at work didn’t need to cover up as this was deemed acceptable. 
 
Not the way to engage a member of your team. 
 
I get it, if I had ‘fu*k off’ written on my forehead, that would not be acceptable but who deems what is acceptable? 
 
Imagine you had an employee that had a portrait of their daughter who had sadly passed away. Would you ask them to cover it? Or is it only certain art work that we dislike? 
 
 
My thoughts are, having tattoos should actually be a positive. It shows determination, willingness to continue under pressure and enjoying an uncomfortable process to gain the end result. 
 
What having a tattoo shows: 
 
Resilience 
Commitment 
Appreciative of a deeper meaning 
 
 
All of which are desirable within employees.  
 
You have to ask yourself why you would want employees to cover up? 
 
I understand that it’s a brand image although I challenge you to look at your core values. 
 
What do your core values say? Are you following these with your employees as brand values are not just for your customers. Your core values must run throughout your organisation. 
 
What do we think of tattoos? 
 
Why are they so offensive? 

 

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