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How To Deploy A Dress Code Policy For Employees

Posted by Xamax on 16/12/17 11:14

Any organisation that is planning to enforce a company-wide employee dress code needs to understand that missing out relevant and important steps can result in the whole team losing motivation, and the onboarding process can become much tougher if there's a negative reaction. Even though it can be a headache trying to deploy a uniform policy without issues, knowing exactly which steps to take can make the whole process a lot smoother and can be a great way of getting your team motivated for this exciting change. Here's how to effectively deploy a dress code policy for employees.

waiters' dress code policyImage Credit: Flickr

Following a step by step guide makes it much easier for you to cover every base so you know the relevant steps to take, while it also allows you to prepare for anything employees might have to say about the dress code policy and make any changes if needed. The things you need to do to deploy a dress code policy for employees are:

Rather than rushing straight into the deployment of the policy and expecting employees to turn up into work one week with a perfect uniform, consider the above steps to get the best results out of the dress code policy.

1. Communicate With The Team

Perhaps the most crucial step is to actually communicate with the people that are going to be wearing the uniforms that are being provided. Without relevant communication between yourself and the team, they won't remain motivated as they're being left in the dark about key decisions the company is making and won't feel like their thoughts and feelings are being valued. 

So, it's important that you communicate with the team members and seriously take their input on board. The more people you get involved, the more motivated they will be about adhering to the new dress code because they'll feel as if the company has taken their working conditions on board and seriously care about them. It's also important to ask what they want, such as if they'd be more comfortable with short sleeves or long sleeves, or if they'd want the freedom to wear a combination of both - depending on the nature of their work.

Communicating with them and even ordering samples so they can provide constructive criticism is a great way to not only get them prepared about the changes coming into play, but it's also a good way of getting them excited about it and wanting to represent the company in a positive light.

2. Explain Why It's Important

If employees find out a dress code policy is coming into effect soon without them having any input, their assumption is most likely going to surround the fact that it's been done for selfish business reasons. So, it's important to explain that's not the case and outline why the board has taken this decision. Explain that it's to make them look smarter and outline the types of looks you prefer. This might be explaining that you're adopting a business-casual approach, or you'll no longer allow ripped jeans which seem to be the trend.

Explain that the new policy is being implemented to outline appropriateness, without getting into discriminatory territory and focusing on one gender and ignoring implementing rules to the other gender. So, explain the policy in a tactful manner to let them know what's expected without isolating anybody. Explain that you're trying to establish company brand and customers know exactly who to look for when they need assistance. Reiterate that you're trying to create a sense of unity within the company, which all starts with the uniform, and the dress code can promote belonging. If employees feel like they are working towards the same company goals and are wearing a unified look, then they will feel more aligned with company values

That's just scratching the surface. Explain how the dress code can increase their productivity, with studies showing that wearing specific work attire can have a mental impact on individual productivity, and also make sure you emphasise that you're taking their safety into account.

3. Send Out The Policy Letter

Another crucial step in deploying the policy is sending out the policy letter well before time. If you're sending out the policy one week before the date of implementation, then this can cause employee backlash because they simply won't have time to prepare for this drastic change. Instead, plan out the policy letter carefully and cover each area so that there are no loopholes, and the policy becomes a success.

In the policy letter, include an introduction to the dress code and cite the clear reasons for the change before moving onto the next section. Include a section where employees can provide feedback on what they think of the policy. This is an area where you can take comments on board and if there's something important you've missed or there's a point you think can improve the policy, then it gives you time to re-evaluate the policy before it goes into effect. 

business people sitting down in uniform

Highlight the scope, declaring who it affects along with the elements of the policy, such as the regulations on jewellery, piercings and tattoos. If necessary, it could also be beneficial to include a small section on the disciplinary consequences so that employees know what types of punishments are in place if they continue to break the policy. It's important not to go overboard with the consequences, as you don't want to make it all sound like an order from the board. Also, don't forget to include how many uniforms they get, who is responsible for maintaining it and what happens when they need to be replaced. Finally, the policy effect date is crucial so employees know when the change is coming, and when they need to be prepared for it.

4. Train Employees

In the early implementation stages, it's crucial that you remain hands-on and provide training to employees where needed. Without this step, they could fall into previous habits and the policy you've worked hard on creating will be futile. Instead, implement regular training in the early stages which shows employees what they're supposed to wear and how. This is beneficial if there are people of different faiths in the company, so slight lenience and exceptions are necessary, while it also gives you a chance to show how they can wear their uniform if there are a handful of styles available, rather than just one uniform.

Training is also required for any new starters, as they can't instantly be expected to follow a policy they have no idea is in place, or what it is they need to do to follow that. Instead, help them learn what is and isn't acceptable to wear during their transitional period, as you can't discipline newcomers who are still adjusting to life in your company, so give them enough time to learn the policy and get used to it before thinking about taking further action.

5. Evaluate

Finally, the only to successfully deploy a dress code policy and determine whether it's been a success or a failure is to evaluate the results in the early stages. This might be three months into the policy, or six months, but an evaluation stage is crucial in the full deployment process. To do this, further feedback from employees is needed as they're the ones wearing the uniform on a daily basis, so they will be able to explain whether their productivity has increased or decreased, whether the uniform is comfortable, etc.

If a large number are telling you that the new t-shirt is uncomfortable and has affected the way they work and has slowed them down, then it would be wise to change the designs or the manufacturer, as you don't want to make the employees operate in that manner when they're not comfortable or safe. On the other hand, they may be delighted at the changes with no complaints or additional feedback, meaning the policy is in full swing without any issues that need fixing. 

Not Sure How You Can Successfully Deploy A Uniform Policy?

Our latest guide includes everything you need to know about successfully deploying a uniform policy in your workplace. We've designed our uniform policy pack to help you introduce your team to the idea of wearing uniforms, rolling out the policy while keeping your team involved at every stage of the process.

Uniform Policy Document Download

Topics: processes