How to Develop an Employee Dress Code Policy
No matter the industry, the way employees look matters. They act as a face of your company when they make contact with potential partners, clients and customers. Therefore, leaving a positive impression is essential to generating business.
If your employee walks into a meeting wearing ripped jeans and sandals and clearly hasn’t showered in a week, then chances are, you are not going to hear from that potential partner again.
That’s why companies often end up going down one of two routes (or even both): they end up installing employee uniforms so they have more control over what their workers wear, or they develop a detailed employee dress code policy to remind employees of what is and isn’t appropriate.
We recommend both working with a uniform service company and developing an employee dress code policy that details what is appropriate to wear with the uniforms.
Here are the things you should consider when developing an effective employee dress code policy:
1. Industry & Legal Requirements
Employee dress code varies by industry. For example, what a restaurant employee is expected to wear for food safety purposes is going to be much different from what a salesman is expected to wear. So, when you are developing your employee dress code policy, consider your industry requirements if applicable and any local, state or federal laws.
Wearing industry PPE and a mandated dress code are not the only legal considerations you need to make when creating your employee dress code policy. Information in your policy could be misconstrued as discrimination if it goes against religious beliefs, race, disability, gender and more. So, make sure you have a professional look over your policy before you distribute it to your employees.
2. Employee Comfort
No one likes to be told what to wear. While uniforms are a necessity in many industries and can be beneficial to employees and the business, there is still room for personalization. This includes wearing their hair a certain way or wearing their favorite shoes or accessories. This can also simply include what they are most comfortable wearing.
When developing your employee dress code policy, consider this desire for originality and comfort. But also, of course, consider the customer experience. Have your employees dress appropriately for customers, while still getting to maintain their own well-being and individuality.
An example for how to do this is if you have employees that work outdoors during the hot summer. To require them to wear long pants as they sweat and experience discomfort is not fair to them as individuals, if they are not working with machinery that could injure them if their legs are not covered up. If possible, it would be better to allow them to wear shorts during the summer months as long as the shorts are of an appropriate length. Have some flexibility as long as what they wear is considered appropriate for clients or guests.
Certain industries may have very specific requirements with regards to hygiene, such as medical practices requiring employees to bathe daily in order to prevent the spread of pathogens. Showering daily though is not necessarily the best for one’s health, so, if possible, other industries may leave the topic of hygiene more vague, allowing employees to decide for themselves how to maintain their smell and appearance so as not to offend others.
4. Jeans or No Jeans?
There are different categories of workplace clothing: business, business casual, semi-casual and casual. It is important to identify for your workplace which category each position falls under and then define what that category means.
To decide what type of clothing would be most appropriate, similar to the other points we’ve made so far, find that medium between employee comfort and customer interaction.
Shoes are absolutely essential to clarify with your employees what is and isn’t allowed. This is because certain types of shoes either may not be safe for the job or just may be inappropriate.
For example, in a restaurant, flip-flops may not be the best selection for wait staff to wear. This is because exposed feet may not give the best presentation for your establishment and flip-flops could also put the wait staff at risk for slipping and falling. But if employees spend Fridays in the office with no customer interaction, then maybe you can let them get away with wearing sandals or sneakers for a “Casual Friday.”
6. Where Employees Can Wear Uniforms
If you have uniforms in place, it is essential that your employees only wear their uniforms for the job and not when they go out on their time off the clock. This is because if they are seen repping your uniform anywhere else, whatever behavior or action they are doing outside of work hours may then be associated with your brand.
For example, if your employee is seen dancing on the bar at their local club and they happen to be wearing your company’s shirt, this could potentially give individuals a negative connotation of your establishment.
The way you develop your employee dress code policy is ultimately going to depend on your specific industry. But trust us when we say that having uniforms in place while developing your policy will give you one less thing to worry about.
At Service Uniform, we know all things uniform and employee appearance. With our uniform rental services, you can trust that you are putting one essential aspect of your employee dress code in good hands. Contact us at 303-936-4701 to learn more about how we can help with your employee uniforms today.