Do you have that one employee who shows up to work in a torn uniform most days or forgets their company polo once a week? Then you have another employee who wears one of those glittery tutu skirts with their company t-shirt, even though they're supposed to wear a plain black skirt or black trousers. If you've recently implemented a uniform policy - or have had one for a while - and your employees refuse to wear their uniform or wear it incorrectly, you have a problem that needs a remedy. Here are 5 reasons your office uniform policy isn't taken seriously.
People are creatures of habit. If unexpected policies are sprung on employees, then they are reluctant to change. Sometimes uniform defiance is less a case of backlash and more a lack of understanding of the company's vision. In order for your employees to understand why they must wear a uniform as opposed to everyday clothes, they often need to understand why the policy was implemented in the first place.
Let employees know that there are unmistakable benefits of uniform for the company such as looking smarter, being work appropriate, establishing the company brand, creating unity, increasing productivity, prioritising safety, and ensuring pride in the company.
Furthermore, there are benefits for them in that they save money on replacing everyday clothing for work, they will always know what to wear each day so it speeds up the dressing process in the morning, and they will know who works in each department.
Most importantly, uniforms inherently help build a team's togetherness.
Often employees feel that uniform removes their individuality or may not respect their cultural beliefs and background, amongst other complaints, so it's important to get employees on board with a policy before implementing it. Getting employees involved in choosing the uniform, helping with the choice of colours, the budget (if they are contributing to costs) and the overall look will help them feel part of the company's decisions, making them feel unified. Having employee involvement will make enforcement easier because employees will understand why the policy is in place and why it's important to comply.
If there's no one in charge of enforcing the policy, then employees may be lax in their habits. Employees should understand the consequences of non-compliance and know what they should wear and when. Of course, when dealing with employees some sensitivity, understanding, and care should be taken.
But employees should know what happens when they do not wear their uniform correctly, or if they fail to wear their uniform correctly after repeated offences.
Sometimes non-compliance is a result of not enough uniforms issued as well, so it's important to get to the root of the problem.
When your company expands or you hire new people, do you provide update meetings or training on the uniform policy and what's expected? If not, then your employees may simply not understand the policy in full. It's a good idea to routinely update staff on the uniform policy and what's involved so that they know what they should wear, when, why, and what happens when they don't.
If your workwear is not durable, then employees may not be wearing their uniform for fear of looking shabby. Some job role's uniforms don't last for an eternity and need regular replacements. If it's part of the policy not to wear ripped or torn clothing, but most of their supply is ripped or torn, employees may choose to wear alternatives.
Of course, these issues should have been brought to your attention beforehand, but if they aren't you may find you need to change your uniform. Be sure when issuing a uniform, you consider supplying your workers with a one to two week supply for ease of laundering.
Some companies launder uniforms off-site for employees and employees come to work each day and pick up a fresh uniform and return it at the end of the day, which can reduce non-compliance as well. Although, it's worth bearing in mind this can leave employees feeling a little impersonalised.
When ordering uniforms, make sure you don't make these common mistakes. Here's how to ensure compliance by encouraging and managing uniform responsibilities, and here's how to determine who's responsible for maintaining your uniform policy.
Want a little help ordering a uniform and implementing your uniform policy? Use this...
In our free pack we include a uniform policy letter, a questionnaire, advice on how to choose and implement a uniform policy and a checklist of items you may need. Download your free copy of the uniform policy today.