Earlier this month, New York City-based realtor firm Rapid Realty made headlines by offering their employees a 15 percent raise if they got a tattoo of the company logo. The company’s owner got the idea when a loyal employee decided to get the company logo tattoo without any incentive, and the owner felt indebted to him. Even more surprising is that since proposing the offer, 40 employees have followed through with it.

So, would you?

It’s certainly great publicity, and makes for fantastic conversation around the water cooler. Displaying company loyalty through skin art is nothing new – just ask any Harley-Davidson owner. But employer loyalty is a little different, and in this case, it seems like a hefty price to pay for both sides. Raising the salaries of 40 employees by 15 percent has got to be costly, even in spite of the 15 minutes of fame the company received from the publicity stunt. And for the employees, isn’t this a sure-fire way to jinx their tenure at the company? We all know what happens when you get a tattoo of your significant other’s name – the relationship is guaranteed to fail. As an employer, would you want to hire an employee sporting a tattoo of his or her former employer, shamelessly displaying the shards of a failed corporate relationship? Perhaps “strong decision-making skills” wouldn’t be prominently displayed on that employee’s resume.

I can’t lie – I do feel a certain amount of admiration for Rapid Realty’s inked employees. While many people will say they’re happy with their jobs, Rapid’s employees must be singing its praises from the rooftops. But there MUST be an easier way to inspire employee loyalty than convincing employees to brand themselves…literally. From LinkedIn’s ping pong tournaments, to Foursquare’s free beer and unlimited vacation days, to the corporate amusement park known as Google’s offices, there are a number of ways companies attempt to inspire loyalty among employees. Similarly, as recruiters, our clients benefit from us providing them with candidates who become loyal employees from day one. So the question is, how can we target this loyalty during the recruiting process?

Don’t Recruit Solely on Paper Credentials:

So your candidate’s resume has all the bells and whistles – a degree from a reputable college, solid work experience, etc. But does this mean he or she will excel at the job, or more importantly, truly WANT to excel at the job? There are so many important factors that go into finding the right candidate that can’t be conveyed on a paper resume. Many can be discerned in a face-to-face interview. Has the candidate taken the time to research the company? Are they able to sell themselves and articulate what they can offer the employer? Have they taken that extra step to show their eagerness to excel in the industry? A specific school name, degree or tenure may be important, but an enthusiastic candidate with a passion for learning may surpass all expectations.

Focus on Cultural Fit:

Was the corporate culture of your candidate’s previous employer similar to that of your client’s company? If not, what is causing them to seek a change? If so, did they thrive in that atmosphere? In a recent study published on Monster, it was found that college students were willing to accept an average of seven percent less starting pay to work for companies with cultures in which they felt comfortable. And regarding employee retention, an insurance company involved in the study found that departments whose environments aligned with the company’s stated cultural goals had 30 percent less turnover. Another reason to recruit based on company culture is that despite the ever-changing nature of employer needs and job requirements, corporate culture remains constant. Therefore, an employee who is hired based partially on cultural fit is more likely to remain a valuable part of the employer’s workforce, even if his or her position is eliminated.

Ask for Referrals:

According to research published in Jobvite Index 2012: Employee Referrals, employees who were recruited through an employee referral program were more loyal than those from career sites or job boards. In fact, referred employees showed a 46 percent retention rate after one year, compared to a 33 percent retention for employees from career sites, and 22 percent retention from jobs boards. When your referral pipeline is tapped out and posting on career sites and job boards is necessary, paint as clear a picture of the job as possible. Make sure the ad is concise and provides pertinent information such as job responsibilities, required qualifications and salary info (if approved by the client). Utilize bullet points so it can be easily scanned by candidates only willing to give it a few seconds before deciding if they’re interested. And finally, provide a short company description with a link to the company website so the candidate may conduct some due diligence of their own and determine if they may be a good fit for the company.

Every employee’s goal is to be happy with his or her job. The goal of every recruiter should be to not simply fill jobs, but to provide clients with employees who are happy working for them. A happy employee is a loyal employee. And whether or not that employee bears the company logo on his or her skin, few would argue that more loyalty yields better productivity.

About John Feldmann

John Feldmann is a writer, blogger and content developer for Insperity Recruiting Services in Houston, TX. He has more than nine years of copywriting and editing experience in the advertising industry, as well as recruiting and sourcing experience in such industries as real estate, construction, engineering, accounting and healthcare. He currently specializes in employment branding and advertising. Follow John on Twitter @John_Feldmann or connect on Google+.

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