As a business owner, you have several expectations from your employees. You want them to be committed to their work, and you want them to show how passionate they are about it when handling clients. In other words, you want them engaged.
Can we talk about engagement? What does it mean for an employee to be engaged?
It means that the workers identify themselves as part of the company’s culture. They are happy to work there and they are doing their best to contribute towards positive results for the entire team.
You cannot expect this level of engagement to come naturally to them. Yes; some employees are more motivated and committed than others. But as part of the management, you have a responsibility to spark inspiration and keep it going.
Uniforms are part of those efforts.
What? Uniforms? In the 21st century? You betcha!
A research study called The Effect of Employee Uniforms on Employee Satisfaction showed a strong connection better uniform design and employee attitudes. The survey was conducted among employees at casino-resorts in Las Vegas. In the hospitality industry, uniforms are a standard. But the design of these uniforms had a huge effect on the overall job satisfaction among employees. The participants in the survey had strong opinions about the uniforms they had to wear. One finding was particularly interesting: the uniforms affected their ability to do the job well.
Should Your Employees Wear Uniforms?
If your business is in a niche where uniforms are a standard, then there’s no question about it. But employees from all industries can also benefit from uniforms. When you know that your employees get in touch with clients, you impose a dress code on them. Instead of expecting them to buy and wear clothes that fits in that dress code, you can simply provide it for them.
There are several benefits your employees will gain by wearing well-designed uniforms:
- They don’t have to spend their own money on clothes for work.
- Their personal style might not fit into the organization’s dress code. This is a problem. For someone with a casual style, for example, it’s very difficult to combine pieces that would look elegant and classy, but still comfortable. When you provide the uniform, you solve that style dilemma for them.
- Not having to wear something different to work every day is a huge salvation. There’s one less decision to make in the morning. They just grab the uniform and that’s it. It’s no wonder why we always see Mark Zuckerberg in the same clothes. Although he is not required to wear a uniform, he still has one. So when you think about introducing a uniform, it doesn’t have to be something highly elegant. Simple clothes of high quality will do the trick.
- This is one of the most important benefits the employees get: they identify themselves with the company’s culture. The uniforms distinguish different airlines from one another. The person working for Virgin sees their uniform as a sign of identification. They are part of a specific culture that connects the employees as a family.
The Design Is Important
It’s not just about the uniform, though. You can’t head off and buy few cheap items just because you want to enforce the community spirit in your office.
The wrong design can make your employees frustrated.
Ken Larry, part of the public relations team at UK Careers Booster, shares his experience: “My boss decided we needed uniforms because we represent the company to important clients. It was a good decision. What was wrong is that he made me wear a suit that didn’t fit well and I didn’t feel like myself in it. What did I do? I simply talked to him. We understood each other and he hired a stylist to come up with a uniform that works for the employees and for the expectations the boss has. Now, it’s the perfect blend of comfort and professionalism.”
This brings us to an important conclusion: you cannot impose a uniform that would make your employees feel uncomfortable.
- As a manager or business owner, you know your audience always comes first. When you design products or services, you do it with the needs of your audience to mind. When introducing uniforms, the employees are your audience. So you need to deliver what they want.
- Needless to say, you’ll also consider the image you want to create for your company. The uniform may feature the company’s logo and colors, so your workers will identify themselves with the community and the audience will recognize them as part of your brand.
- Before introducing the uniform, survey the employees to see what kind of design they would prefer.
- The maintenance should be easy. You want high-quality fabrics that are easy to wash and iron.
- Hire a stylist. Yes; it’s an investment, but you’ll greatly benefit from it. A professional will know how to create a look that’s both comfortable and professional.
If you’re not in an industry where uniforms are mandatory, they will look like a burden. However, they will simplify the lives of your employees. Keep in mind that great uniforms will impact the way they identify themselves with the organization. Such an appearance will inspire them to get more engaged in the way they present the brand.
Eugene is an Australian-based blogger for UK Careers Booster, who is into stand-up comedy. His favorite comedians are Louis CK and George Carlin. A good morning laugh is what keeps Eugene upbeat and motivated through the harsh day.