Tattoo Hiring: A Management Philosophy That Is Bound to Fail

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Apr 30, 2014

A tattoo is basically forever.

I know, I know; you can get them removed by laser now. But most people don’t go into a tattoo proposition thinking, “I can’t wait to pay a couple of thousand dollars to get this removed!

It’s permanent baby. Like a Sharpie, but better!

Most organizations do Tattoo Hiring. They believe they are going to hire this person for forever.

How it works with “Tattoo Hires”

In fact, go ahead and tattoo the logo on their butt while they’re in orientation. But, the life cycle of most hires is similar to that of your tattoo you got on Spring Break back in 2001.

Here’s how it goes with Tattoo Hires:

  1. Day 1 – it’s a little painful, but your so excited to have the person on board.
  2. First couple of weeks – the pain has gone away and it still doesn’t look right, but you can tell you’re going to love them. And, you keep showing the new hire to everyone you see that has yet to see them.
  3. Years 1-3 – Tattoo Hire is awesome. You’re proud of your Tattoo Hire. People comment on what a great hire they are. You couldn’t be more proud of your Tattoo Hire!
  4. Somewhere past year 3 – the first Tattoo Hire went so well, what the heck, time for another Tattoo Hire! This time we’ll go bigger and better!
  5. Sometime in Tattoo Hire #2?s first year, you begin to notice your original Tattoo Hire doesn’t look as good anymore. They aren’t performing as well. You think it might be time to change your original Tattoo Hire, while Tattoo Hire #2 is more awesome than you can imagine!
  6. Time to remove Tattoo Hire #1 – You’ve finally made the decision that Tattoo Hire #1 has to go. It’s going to cost you thousands of dollars to remove, but Tattoo Hire #1 just isn’t what you want anymore.

That’s all right; you’ve still got Tattoo Hire #2! I mean, what could go wrong? A Tattoo Hire is forever, right?

A philosophy that’s bound to fail

Organizations that hire with a Tattoo philosophy are bound to fail.

It’s not that you can’t expect, or want, employees to stay with you their entire career. You can. The problem we face is when we don’t set up our organizations to support forever hires.

The new tattoo always looks better because it is usually more defined and brighter, and you put more thought into it. An employee is no different.

You can’t let a more tenured employee fade. You must keep them vibrant and up to date. Or, many times you will spend a ton of money replacing them.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.