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10 Common Uniform Complaints and How to Answer Them

It does not matter how regularly you update or propose new workwear, there will always be the fear of a backlash from your employees with initiating change.

You might need to deal with some employee uniform complaints - but here is how to answer them.

By accounting for these 10 common uniform complaints, you can plan a uniform policy that addresses employee concerns and your company’s core values. All of your staff will be happy with their new workwear.

  1. My Uniform is Uncomfortable
  2. I Cannot Express Myself
  3. The Uniform does Not Respect my Cultural Background and Beliefs
  4. I Have an Insufficient Supply of Uniform
  5. I Feel the Uniform Creates the Wrong Message
  6. The Uniform is Outdated
  7. It is Expensive to Maintain
  8. It is Poor Quality
  9. Others Do Not Wear a Uniform
  10. I Do Not Want to Wear a Uniform

1. My Uniform is Uncomfortable

One of the most common uniform complaints made by employees is that the uniform is uncomfortable and/or ill-fitting.

Having poor fitting uniforms can cause limitations to work performance and productivity, harming the level of company output and staff morale.

As departments grow within the business, uniform is often bought in bulk so as to be more cost-effective. This can create a "that'll do" ethic from the buyers, but it is ultimately a false economy if poor fitting work clothing affects the business's bottom line.

A company re-brand can be even more difficult to complete if uniform is taken into account and getting the correct size of each of employee is not easy - but it is worth taking the extra time.

Make sure that the next employee uniform has adjustable features. Also, by choosing a polyester blend, this can better suit different body types as the fabric will have plenty of give..

Avoid fitted workwear and pick a brand that can cover additional sizes, such as XXS to XXXL - or even up to 6XL.

2. I Cannot Express Myself

Some employees see a work uniform as one appearance and think this will remove their ‘freedom’ at work. If you are moving company policy from a "dress code" to a Uniform. you might find this

A common argument from your staff is that the uniform restricts them from expressing themselves and can be seen as unflattering to wear in the work place by those employees.

If your staff find the uniform you have provided unflattering, this can affect their confidence and productivity within the work place. Communication can be affected because your employees are worried about being judged by clients, customers, and/or colleagues.

By creating a uniform policy that is flexible, you can create a happy but professional atmosphere. You can do this by allowing your staff the choice of wearing skirts or shorts instead of trousers or choosing the colour of their tie.

3. The Uniform Does Not Respect my Cultural Background and Beliefs

Whilst making sure your company’s image is the best it can be, you can only be as good as your employees perform.

A failure to recognise those employees with particular religious and ethnic concerns within your workwear can transmit a lack of thought. Also, it will put the company in breach of The Equality Act 2010.

On a personal level, this also can lead to feelings of guilt on the employee’s part. If you force them to choose between practising their faith or their adhering to the rules at work.

Make sure your uniform policy is flexible and you embrace diversity within the workforce. Doing this will present your company positively and you will be seen as an equal opportunity employer. 

4. I Have an Insufficient Supply of Uniform

A reliable workwear supplier can offer lower unit costs when ordering higher quantities, therefore getting better value for your money than when ordering on an as and when basis.

This will mean you can issue employees with a substantial enough amount of uniform to rotate between wearing, dirty, and washing and drying.

If you do not charge for your workwear, make sure you keep the uniform when employees leave your business. This will reduce the cost of ordering new workwear.

You can reuse it and cover any sudden replacement needs for added value for money.

5. I Feel the Uniform Creates the Wrong Message

This occurs when businesses have not rotated their workwear enough to find out what works for their business. However, they are also susceptible to this when a company rebrand goes wrong.

The complaint that sends the wrong message is common and can be argued as subjective. But many businesses with low budgets have a “one uniform suits all” mentality to promote equality.

With company growth, there may come a time when you need to override this as new departments and/or roles are introduced.

A Sales Representative should be in business workwear as opposed to the printed polo shirts your logistics team are wearing. Not only will this represent the company’s image but also achieve their targets.

Ensure you involve the employees in the decision process when kitting out a new department. Not only does this have to reflect the company’s core values, but also the person who is wearing the workwear.

For example, a sales role wearing a printed polo shirt may transpire a laid-back office approach. This may not be too successful in a client pitch who has time-sensitive deadlines to deliver.

Order purpose-orientated workwear as opposed to company-orientated workwear to maximise the benefits.

6. The Uniform is Outdated

Workwear can become less of a priority because focus shifts towards meeting targets and other day-to-day tasks within the company.

It can be difficult to monitor your employees’ happiness because trends shift and competitors can change their workwear. This then leaves your staff feeling out of place when meeting customers and/or travelling to and from work.

Monitor your competitors and wider market with workwear, just like you would with other marketing efforts. Your workwear forms a large part of your branding so stay ahead of the curve, not behind.

As a result, your employees will be proud to show off your brand and will be more confident in doing so.  

7. It is Expensive to Maintain

The general theme with most companies is to provide the best workwear possible, but often that is not in their employees’ best interests.

By providing your employees with top quality uniform, you risk costing both the company and your employees more.

The argument often arises where employees cannot dry-clean/iron/press some uniform items daily to meet with a company’s strict uniform guidelines.

Avoid causing unnecessary stress by cutting into your employee’s personal time with impractical workwear. Ensure what you offer is needed to look presentable but do the job in the hours specified.

If you want to ease employees over monetary concerns whilst maintaining your policy, emphasise the fact that most workers are eligible to claim back tax on washing uniform.

Be practical, not luxurious.

8. It is Poor Quality

On the flip side of the previous point, as more companies attempt to source workwear on a limited budget, this can lead to poor, short-use workwear. Often tying in with the uniform complaints being “uncomfortable”, but this can contribute to an employee not being able to perform their job.

One cause is often sourcing cheap workwear with low quality stitching that can lead to tears and breakages after minimal wear.

Ensure you factor this in when putting together your next workwear order and determining which supplier is best for you.

By proposing an increased budget on your initial workwear, you can live with the confidence that the workwear will last longer and give your company the best return on investment.

Avoid spending the minimum as, more likely, this leads to spending more in the long run.

9. Others Do Not Wear a Uniform

If individuals have different flexibility on the uniform, this can lead to a complaint of inequality or favouritism.

It is important to reiterate that we assign the workwear to the person who requires it to perform their job effectively rather than just through a boss’ wishes.

By possessing a uniform, the company takes great pride in promoting who works for them. Also there are lots of other benefits.

10. I Do Not Want to Wear a Uniform

This is one of the most frequent uniform complaints you will tackle. Employees often fear change.

Highlight the benefits of the change whilst understanding their viewpoint, highlighting benefits such as, by embracing the change, we can improve team unity as we work towards a common aim.

Emphasise this is more than just an “employee uniform” but part of communicating a message. This not only advertises the company but also to shows they are part of something much bigger than their everyday duties.

Conclusion

Remember, you cannot please everyone. As hard as it is to accept, uniform complaints will always end up being lodged.

However, by doing appropriate risk analysis regarding employee concerns and happiness, you can limit the amount you receive and ease the transition along as smoothly as possible.

Stay organised and conduct reasonable research into what your employees want from their workwear and what your budget is. In doing so, you ensure that you get the best return from your investment and that there is not a frequent need for placing workwear orders.

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