If you could make 15 percent more money than you make now just for getting a tattoo, would you?
That may seem like an unlikely scenario, but for employees of Rapid Realty in New York City, it’s a real-life offer. Owner Anthony Lolli has given raises to 40 employees who have inked themselves with his company’s logo, and he has the photos to prove it.
Joanne Cleaver, an executive communications consultant with Wilson-Taylor Associates, says the idea is certainly novel, but it may end up backfiring for a few reasons.
First, she notes, the tattoos might not be in places where people in public can see them, which kind of defeats their purpose.
Second, those might not be the only tattoos employees opt to have put on their bodies.
“Imagine the potential damage to the brand should employees decide to embellish their corporate tattoos with additional messages that are not compatible with Rapid Realty’s positioning strategy,” she says.
Then there’s the liability issue. Tattoos can be risky. They’ve been linked to hepatitis C, for example.
“Will the company cover the cost of related health expenses?” she asks. “What if these employees are actually contractors? That triggers an entirely new set of legal exposure and potentially brand-damaging media coverage.”
Quite a few of the commenters on the Huffington Post article about Lolli’s offer felt similarly.
One commenter, EthicsRIP, wondered what would happen when these employees leave their jobs eventually: “Will the company pay for the laser removal? Pretty sure the answer is no.”
At the workplace-issues blog The Grindstone, writer Ruth Graham called the offer “an egregious abuse of power.”
“It makes employees feel more eager to please, more scared to resist, and more hesitant to paint a hard line between their personal lives—their very bodies!—and their jobs,” she wrote.
However, the blog Scallywag and Vagabond said the offer was smart business.
Readers, what do you think?
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