Many professional companies do not allow their employees to have tattoos, unless if an employee works within an artistic environment or behind the company’s scenes where no direct contact is established between such an employee and customers. However, in a managerial position or supervisory, you must be prepared to face a situation where at one time you will be compelled to counsel an inked employee. While the large tattoo on Alex’s forearm may be offensive to customers, you should not just bump on him or opt into firing decision. Instead, I highly recommended that you first review your company’s policy concerning the dressing and appearance codes of employees at the workplace. If the issue of tattoos is well covered in the company’s policy or the employee handbook, then, refer to them when counseling Alex other sales clerks about their exposed tattoos and their repercussions. Explain to them that the company policy requires all employees to cover visible tattoos at work to avoid upsetting clients or uphold the professional image of the firm. On the other hand, if you notice that the company has no established policy concerning tattoos regulation, then, use this observation to recommend to the human resource department in your firm that they need to update the company policies to the tattoo regulations at work.
Have a private conversation to Alex and other tattooed sales clerks. Indeed, show support to their right of expression, but explain to them that a sales business requires a more conformist reputation while at work. Inform them how they can use clothing to cover their exposed artworks to uphold workplace standards. If you reach to the extent that you feel overwhelmed with their claim on “freedom of expression,” you may remind these employees that the latest legal precedent does not regard the “free speech defense” while dealing with tattoos in the professional workplace. Here, emphasize all the consequences for not keeping tattoos under covers when at the workplace. Company policy does not only need to be clearly understood and well-published but also need to stipulate all consequences for the failure to comply.
The consequences of the failure to comply should have a varying degree. The first consequence of an offense might warrant an oral warning. The second violation might warrant a written scolding, and so on until lastly, an offender is issued with a dismissal letter. As a company, you will also need to track “keeping tattoos covered” policy and their outcomes relative to policy related to the use of vulgarity in the workplace or things associated with the violation of standard dressing codes.
A key aspect when handling your tattooed employees is empathetic. Do not allow your personal feeling obsess your discussion on tattoos. Let your conversation remain focused on the firm’s policy, the reason for its implementation, and the organizational culture. Make sure that how you apply the policy that concerns visible tattoos does not portray any form of discrimination among employees. Let the focus of your conversation be towards establishing solution and not laying blame. You can openly brainstorm with these employees on relevant changes if any. Sometimes, it would be wise to advisable to minimize excessive defenses which could depict personal prejudice and prioritize on listening during your discussion. While maintaining focused on other people and the topic, also, be open to receive relevant feedback
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