Employee Uniforms – Are They Right For You?

A lot of small businesses tinker with the idea of having employee uniforms. But is this the right decision for your establishment? Does having employee uniform shirts make sense for what you are trying to convey to your customers and clientele? Let’s quickly explore this idea.

Having employee uniforms for a place of business always seems like a great idea. Your customers or clientele can easily pick out of the crowd who is there to shop and who is there to help. For instance – you are at your local grocery store. If the grocery store employees were not in an employee supplied apron or company polo shirt, how would your customers be able to determine who would be able to assist them in the right direction of the bread aisle? In this situation, having uniforms for your staff is helpful in your establishment.

In addition, by having employee uniforms, a business owner can initiate and implicate an uniform policy to which everyone has to abide. I’ve heard plenty a complaint from owners that they are tired of employees showing up to work “unkempt”. When an employer issues a uniform, it somewhat keeps this problem at bay (most of the time).

Not to mention, one does not have to think about what he/she has to wear to work that day. Sometimes just trying to figure out what to wear is the battle of the century. At least for me, I know that some days I simply cannot get my wardrobe together. With a supplied employee uniform, one does not have to wake up with such hassles.

However, on the adverse side of this issue, is the issue of personal style being stripped away with the wearing of a employer supplied uniform. Some employees feel that personal style is very important to how they function on a daily basis. Like writing or playing an instrument, having your own sense of fashion is an expression of ones self. When one supplies their employees with a uniform, some may feel like their personal style is being “invaded” or stripped away. This attitude towards a supplied uniform can leave your employees feeling uncomfortable, which may or may not effect the productivity of their work day.

For some establishments, personal style is what sells to your customer base. For example, say you own a small fashionable boutique on a busy strip downtown. The boutique is full of the trendiest of fashions, and yet your employees are in a polo shirt and khaki pants. It just doesn’t fit. In this instance, having a uniform may not be the best option as personal style is really the main focus of your business.

But there is a way to implicate a uniform program without having to sacrifice personal style. An employer can implicate a uniform policy to where all of the employees must wear a particular color, or pattern, or even an accessory so that the customer can easily recognize them as an employee (see our blog on Position Identification and Color Coding).  For instance, let’s take the same concept of the fashionable boutique. A uniform policy can be put in place that all employees must wear a black ensemble – no brand or style limitations, as long as everything they are wearing is black. An employee can explore this uniform program without having to sacrifice personal style.  Where one employee would wear a black pencil skirt with a black cardigan, the other can wear a black pant suit.

So really, when it comes to employee uniforms, it is like anything else…potentially not for everyone.  BUT there are still ways to implicate a uniform policy!

But if you find yourself in a bind where “something has to give”, feel free to contact one of our Uniform Specialists today and let us help you weigh out whether or not an implemented employee uniform program is a right fit.