Is It Time to Rethink Your Company’s Uniform Policy?

Is It Time to Rethink Your Company’s Uniform Policy?

Your company has had the same uniform policy in place for as long as you can remember. You have copies of employee manuals published years ago, manuals that still include the same uniform policy today’s workers are being required to adhere to. Is it time to rethink things? Could your company’s uniform policy be updated without violating the spirit or intent behind it?

These are questions that a lot of companies are asking themselves as the economy rebounds and they are bringing on more employees. Ownership and management certainly want to be up-to-date and relevant, but many worry that any adjustments to uniform policies could prove detrimental. As such, there are plenty of companies that kick the uniform policy can down the road in hopes that any issue will resolve themselves.

Hearing Worker Complaints

There are many different signs that suggest it’s time to rethink a uniform policy, beginning with routine worker complaints. Workers are the ones who have to live with management uniform choices, so their concerns need to be acknowledged. Unhappy workers make for an unhappy company.

The key here is to listen to what employees are saying. Maybe their only concern is the fact that current uniforms are no longer fashionable. That’s a legitimate concern, but it’s not necessarily cause for revamping an entire policy. Perhaps a simple uniform upgrade might do. On the other hand, worker complaints may center around safety. That is a serious enough issue to cause at least a review of uniform policy.

  • Policy Relevance to Certain Jobs

A big problem for a lot of companies is that their uniform policies have not evolved with their businesses, explains Utah-based Alsco. As such, outdated policies may not fit modern job descriptions. How jobs evolve is something that needs to be carefully considered as a company grows.

Let’s say you run a company that started offering office coffee delivery 20 years ago. Back then, your drivers dealt mainly with cardboard boxes filled with coffee, creamer, and sugar. Now they are delivering 5-gallon bottles of water along with breakroom and janitorial supplies. Not only are they dealing with heavier items, but there are also chemicals involved as well. Your company uniform policy might need to be updated to address safety concerns.

  • Lack of Enforcement Procedures

Evolving companies tend to run into trouble with enforcement policies as well. For example, it is not uncommon for a young company to draft a very good uniform policy but not put any real teeth into it. They have just a handful of employees that all think of the company as a family, so enforcement is not a real worry. Things could look a lot different 10 years down the road.

A uniform policy that lacks enforcement procedures is one that absolutely should be revisited. A uniform policy that is not enforceable is worthless in the event employees decide to do their own thing. If nothing else, enforcement is a good reason to revisit uniform policies at least every couple of years.

  • Lack of Policy Consistency

Lastly, it may be time to revisit your company’s uniform policy if it lacks consistency in application. Yes, there may be differences in uniforms among employees in different departments, but in general policies applying to all workers should be consistently applied. Likewise, policies directed at specific departments should be consistent within those departments.

The fact is that a lot of U.S. employers require workers to wear uniforms. As such, uniform policies should be established and written down. Those written policies should be modified when changing circumstances call for it.