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Give an Inch, Get a Mile: Letting Employees in on Uniform Decisions

Posted by Jim Wasserson on 8/25/16 7:10 AM

Company uniform surveys help to gain a better understanding of the uniforms you need.Choosing new uniforms is a big decision for any company. From custom branding to comfort and safety features, it’s important to incorporate everything you need to help drive your company’s success. While executives often know how they want uniforms to represent their brand, the employees are the ones who wear the uniforms while working day-to-day. This makes employees a great source for suggestions when customizing a uniform to meet your business’s needs. Here we’ll go over the benefits of employee input on company uniforms and how you can include employees in your plan:

Benefits of Letting Employees Have Input on Uniforms

Including employees’ opinions on company uniforms can be extremely beneficial to the success of your uniform policy. Giving employees a chance to have an impact on company decisions can make them feel more valued. It lets them know that their opinions are being heard on something that will directly affect them. In return, you’ll be able to better understand what purpose your uniforms should serve. If your employees have to buy their uniforms on their own, they’ll be more likely to follow your policy when they’ve had a say in creating it. If you plan on renting uniforms, including employee opinions will help to ensure you get the most value from your uniforms.

Types of Uniform Decisions You Should let Employees in On

While you’ll always need to meet any applicable uniform regulations for your industry, there may be tasks unique to your business that require additional uniform features. The employees who work directly with the integral tasks of your business are likely to understand the how their uniforms need to function to be beneficial. Recommendations employees may be able to help with include:

  • Breathability of the garments. If the work environment is hot or cold, your employees should have uniforms that keep them comfortable regardless of the temperature.
  • The need for additional layers. If employees are working in multiple environments, they may need additional layers like a jacket.
  • Style of garments. While you may be required to equip your employees with garments like lab coats, you can still offer them the choice of style. Depending on their tasks, they may feel that a longer or shorter coat or something with side pockets will allow them to work more efficiently.
  • The necessity of pockets. Having too many pockets can get in the way or make clothing extra baggy, but additional cargo pockets may be more useful than having to use a utility belt. Depending on your work environment, you may not want pockets at all.
  • Types of buttons or zippers. Regular or snap front buttons, plastic or metal, zippers or velcro? If your industry doesn’t require a specific type, let your employees decide what works best in their work environment.
  • Choice of color. If your company isn’t set on a specific branding color or your employees aren’t working in public space, giving them the option of color is a great way to make employees feel involved.

Ask Company Uniform Survey Questions

If you already have a dress code or uniform policy in place, putting together a survey will help you analyze employee opinions of how efficient their current work attire is. After gathering your questions together, have your department managers distribute and collect the surveys. Here are some questions you should consider asking:

  • Is your uniform comfortable?
  • Does your uniform provide the safety you need?
  • Does your uniform inhibit your ability to complete your job efficiently?
  • What features could make your uniform better?
  • What features does your uniform have that are unnecessary?

These are just a few questions that can be beneficial when customizing new uniforms or updating existing ones. Be sure to ask more than just yes or no questions. Open ended questions give employees the opportunity to reveal the exact problems they’re having.

The Perfect Uniform Policy

Listening to employee feedback while following regulations is key to creating the perfect uniform policy.  As you’re taking employee input into consideration, make sure that if you can’t meet a popular employee request, you should at least give reason as to why. This way employees don’t feel as if their opinions are being ignored. It’s also a good idea to continue listening to feedback as employees adapt to their new uniforms. In the end, working with your employees to decide on uniforms should result in a more readily accepted uniform policy.

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Topics: Uniforms, HR