Do you have that one employee who shows up to work in a torn uniform most days or forgets their company bespoke branded polo once a week?
You may have another employee who wears wholly inappropriate shorts with their company branded t-shirt, even though they are supposed to wear a plain black skirt or black trousers.
If you have 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 may have a problem that needs remedying.
Here are 5 reasons your office uniform policy might not be taken seriously.
- You didn't explain why the uniform policy was implemented
- You didn't get employees on board
- You don't have set consequences for non-compliance
- Your employees do not understand the policy fully
- Your uniform may need replacing
You did not explain why the uniform policy was implemented
People are creatures of habit and 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.
Employees can even get tax relief for washing their own uniform (more about that here)
Most importantly, uniforms inherently help build a team's togetherness.
You did not get employees on board
Often employees feel that uniform removes their individuality or may not respect their cultural beliefs and background, amongst other complaints. If you are creating policy for work uniform, it is important to get employees on board before implementing anything.
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 is important to comply.
You do not have set consequences for non-compliance
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 is important to get to the root of the problem.
Your employees do not understand the policy fully
When your company expands or you hire new people, do you provide update meetings or training on the uniform policy and what is expected? If not, then your employees may simply not understand the policy in full.
It is a good idea to routinely update staff on the uniform policy and what is involved so that they know what they should wear, when, why, and what happens when they do not comply.
Your uniform may need replacing
If your workwear is not durable, then employees may not be wearing their uniform for fear of looking shabby. Uniforms do not last for an eternity, especially in some job roles, so it may need regular replacements. If it is 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 are not you may find you need to change the company uniform for that employee. 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 is worth bearing in mind this can leave employees feeling a little impersonalised.
When ordering uniforms for you business, make sure you do not make these common mistakes. Ensure compliance by encouraging and managing uniform responsibilities, and ensure you determine who is responsible for maintaining your company's uniform policy.