Recognise This! – While few employees will choose to permanently ink their skin with your logo, far more will indelibly tattoo your values and ambitions on their hearts and minds when recognised for their efforts, contributions and achievements.

I’ve heard a lot of tremendous stories of employee engagement over the years – both at a corporate wide level and the very personal, individual level. And then I hear stories like this one in which a real estate agency gives employees a 15% pay increase for getting tattooed with the company’s logo. (Forty out of 1100 employees actually did it so far.)

To me, that’s not so much engagement as bribery, but even for a 15% pay rise, you must have some level of loyalty to the organisation to permanently etch the logo on your body. Then I read this story of tech employees in Bangalore, India, who work for some of the best known brands in the technology industry (IBM, Apple, Microsoft) and are voluntarily, and with no incentive, tattooing the company logo on their bodies.

Think what this says about employee loyalty and commitment to the company. But beyond that, even if the employee were to separate from the organisation, think of the pride they must carry forth for their time with the company. That’s an employee value proposition most employers only wish for, especially in high attrition industries like technology and energy.

Of course, this is an extremely limited pool of people who are willing to permanently ink themselves with the company logo. But we as leaders in our organisations must be focussed on tattooing our culture and values on the hearts of our employees. How do we do that? By making the foundational elements of our culture – our core values and strategic ambitions – meaningful and personal in their daily work. The most effective way to accomplish this is by recognising individuals in a very specific and timely way when they demonstrate the values and contribute to achieving the ambitions. Even better, entrust them to do the same with their peers and colleagues.

Would you get a tattoo of your company’s logo? Would you do so for a 15% pay rise or simply because of the enduring pride you have in being associated with the company brand? Do you want your employees to smile when asked where they work?

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