Posted by : Amanda Stein Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Branded employee uniforms – to wear or not to wear? When you consider some of the biggest brands in the world have distinctive outfits for their employees, deciding to adopt the same policy for your business may seem like a no-brainer. Certainly, there are many benefits, as many of the big names in marketing would agree. However, smaller companies need to also consider the drawbacks. This article outlines 6 important points to consider before deciding whether or not to introduce uniforms to your workplace.
There are several advertising and branding positives to your employees wearing company uniforms. While your employee is on their way to work, out for lunch and on their way back home, your company logo and colours are exposed to potentially hundreds of people. This is a local marketing technique in itself, increasing brand retention in people’s minds.
There are many industries where staff interact with customers in public as part of the job – retail being an obvious example. In these situations it would be difficult for customers to find staff members if they weren’t in company-branded clothing. Uniforms therefore establish a certain identity. Also, employees wearing the same company outfits brings a degree of professionalism to the business. Imagine taking your beloved car to an auto repair garage and the engineers looked like average joes in their own clothes instead of company overalls – it wouldn’t necessarily fill you with confidence.
One of the biggest reasons businesses decide to implement uniforms is to create a team spirit. After all, why do sports teams wear the same kits? The theory is that those wearing the same clothing can identify with each other and work collectively for the benefit of the company. The end result? A focused and cohesive workforce, leading to higher productivity and better company performance.
If a piece of uniform is badly designed or inappropriate for the job at hand, your employees are likely to get fed up quickly. Entrepreneur.com mentioned a case where a waitress’ baggy sleeves constantly dipped in customers’ food. As a result, her clothes were always getting stained and she became self-conscious. When implementing a uniform policy, business owners really need to think carefully – it’s not just about picking a garment and getting the company logo embroidered on it. At the very least, employees must be allowed to do their jobs properly!
In many industries, simply giving your employees one type of uniform for the whole year isn’t enough. Consider those who carry out a lot of work outdoors – delivery drivers, repair engineers and retail staff to name a few. A branded polo shirt is usually fine in the summer, but certainly not in the winter. Sure, you could ask them to wear their own jumpers or fleeces, but then you’d be missing out on the benefits of company branded uniforms mentioned above. So the solution would be to spend more money on different clothing for different work conditions. Of course, this could get really expensive, especially for smaller businesses that can’t always benefit from bulk buying discounts.
Lack of individuality
For some people, having to wear the same clothes as the people around them is seen as supressing their individuality and right to express themselves. Adopting a uniform policy may even cause adverse results in employees – some people’s desires to remain totally unique may lead them to push the boundaries in relation to their jewellery or make up, for example. This would often lead to friction between staff and management, which is never good for productivity or morale.
Author bio: Louise Catterall is Director of Marketing & Design at Krowmark, a UK based workwear provider.