If a conservative customer walks into a store or business office and sees a Goth loving employee in full costume, he or she may feel uneasy enough to leave the building without utilizing services or making purchases. Customers expect a certain level of professionalism from the people they are trusting with their time and money and employees should show that professionalism by wearing business or casual business attire. No matter how wonderful staff members who dress in a less than formal manner are, small business owners should consider how the bottom line is affected by allowing employees to dress in attire that is not business like.
Implement an Employee Dress Code
A dress code that has to be adhered to be all staff members is a smart way to avoid the perception that the business owner is singling out a specific person’s attire. The best dress codes have a few simple rules instead of a long list of don’ts. The don’ts actually can make it easier for employees to dress inappropriately, since they may think that anything that isn’t specifically spelled out in the handbook is okay to wear.
Of course, a good dress code isn’t useful if it isn’t strictly enforced. Before handing it out to employees, think about the penalties for breaking the dress code and include those penalties in the handout. For example, some business owners may send staff home to change. Others may keep a spare shirt with the company name printed on it on hand for employees who violate the dress code to wear. Repeat offenses may require sterner measures.
Cover up Inappropriate Wardrobe Choices
If an employee is wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt and no one can see it, is he still unprofessional? For a business that employs a large number of young adults or a company that has a staff member who wears necklines that plunge so far south that customers can’t keep eye contact, sometimes the easiest staff management solution is a cover up. Aprons or smocks can make an inappropriately dressed employee look neat and businesslike.
Besides covering up casual clothing, aprons can help boost store sales because they clearly identify employees as staff members. The result is that customers feel confident about approaching the employees with a question, since they don’t worry that they’ve mistaken another customer for an employee.
Keep Staff Members Happy with Casual Dress Days
Of course, the best workplace dress code in the world is useless if the employees all quit because they want to dress down. Having Casual Fridays all year long or allowing staff to wear conservative shorts during hot summer months can keep employees from leaving their jobs for a more relaxed environment without compromising the professionalism of the business.