An article by Michelle T. Johnson at HumanResources iQ discusses the question of how, all too often, employers and hiring managers judge job applicants by their body art rather than their qualifications. The article discusses how many times employers see the issue of body art as one of judgment rather than personal expression and perceive that job candidates who display numerous tattoos or piercings are showing poor judgment, thereby making them less appealing as employees.
There’s a lot of merit in what Johnson says. In fact, when taken a step farther, considering the issue from your customers’ and clients’ point of view may affect your business profit over time. That’s why it’s important to consider your stance on the issue of body art and ensure you have a company policy in place before the issue arises.
In her article, Johnson states that about “25 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 50 have at least one tattoo.” Whether or not that number is fully accurate, it only takes a short walk down a busy city sidewalk to see that tattoos are certainly more popular than they once were. And while it’s unfair to judge someone’s personal hygiene or habits based on whether or not they have a tattoo, the fact remains that many of the people who frequent your business will do just that. There is still a stigma in much of society regarding tattoos and body piercings.
Since tattoos are a matter of choice, as Johnson also points out, rather than something beyond an employee’s control such as a birthmark, many people still believe they’re inappropriate in the business arena. This is especially true where personal services are involved such as in restaurants, law offices, medical centers, etc.
Knowing what your business stance is regarding tattoos and other body art will help you and your team members to more effectively address issues that could arise from customer concerns or complaints about employees with tattoos or piercings. And it can allow you to set a precedent in your hiring procedures before the issue goes that far.
If your business caters to an older crowd, in particular, or a more conservative one, it’s likely their attitude toward personal body art will be much more negative than that of a younger or more contemporary demographic. That’s not always the case, of course, but it’s a general rule of thumb to be considered.
Only you can know whether your customers are offended by employee tattoos. And one customer out of 500 who is probably doesn’t warrant revamping your policy. But if you discover that your employees’ artistic expressions are driving your customers away by the droves, the issue is one that definitely needs to be considered for the sake of your business.