Corporate Body Tattoos: The Ultimate in Employee Engagement

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By now, most people have seen photos of the Michigan man who got a Mitt Romney tattoo emblazoned on his face. While the man reported last week that he now plans to remove the big red and blue "R", the decision to get inked with his nominee and presidential hopeful was fanatic.

By now, most people have seen photos of the Michigan man who got a Mitt Romney tattoo emblazoned on his face. While the man reported last week that he now plans to remove the big red and blue "R", the decision to get inked with his nominee and presidential hopeful was fanatical.

Getting a U.S. presidential hopeful tattoo is rare, and so is getting one of your favorite brand...until recently. Of course Harley-Davidson was the early adopter of the corporate logo tattoo craze with its customers, but more and more loyal, engaged employees are now getting tattoos of the companies who employ them. Talk about employee loyalty!

CBS News reported last week that some employees at Brooklyn-based Rapid Reality are getting inked with the company's logo to show support for their employer. Intrigued by this development, I researched the realty firm and discovered that it employs 800 agents in about 40 different franchises across the city. It recently struck a deal with Aflac to get its agents a 40 percent discount on health and life insurance benefits.

In a recent article, Rapid founder Anthony Lolli said he hoped the partnership with Aflac, which officially launched in September and comes at no cost to the brokerage, will help breed loyalty among his brokers, who "will appreciate a company that's looking out for them."

Looks like the plan is working.

But Rapid Reality isn't the only one breeding tattoo-seeking brand enthusiasts. In recent years, reports of employees and customers getting inked with tattoos of logos representing such companies as Apple, Rackspace, McDonald's, and even Wal-Mart have become more common.

However, the reality of the state of the U.S. workforce differs greatly from the latest crop of tattoo-loving loyalists. In fact a Gallup poll from a year ago reported that 71 percent of American workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work.

To combat such statistics, companies must invest and deploy long-term employee engagement strategies that lead to personal growth and ultimately optimal customer experiences. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America, for example, encourages employees to share ideas of how the company can improve its services and even offers Six Sigma classes to help train the employees to implement their suggested programs and processes. CTCA's efforts have tangible results, with consistent reports of a NetPromoter Score of 95 or above.

CTCA and Rapid Reality are shining examples of companies that operate under the Golden Rule. Follow their playbook, and you may likely not see employees taking the Kat Von D approach to demonstrating their loyalty to your brands, but you will see something better: productive, engaged, happy employees, whose positive interactions will have the ultimate effect.

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