Running an organization is not just about sales, customer acquisition and profits. It’s also about creating a culture that can inspire people to join hands and work together in a friendly environment. One of the first steps to achieve this is having branded uniforms in your workplace.
A uniform makes employees feel as if they’re part of one large team, where there’s no place for any discrimination or differentiation — a team that has a common goal, wears the same clothes and shares the same values.
If you’re working towards building a strong culture that can inspire not only your staff but your customers too, it’s worth seriously considering and implementing a unique uniform code at your organization. In this post, we run through the reasons why you should forge ahead and introduce a uniform for your business.
1. It takes care of corporate branding
When your employees wear a uniform with your brand logo and/or tagline printed on it, you immediately set yourself apart from your competitors and spread awareness about your business. Whenever your staff leave the workplace to meet potential clients, they become a walking advertisement for your business, which is much harder to achieve without a corporate uniform.
A uniform is a staple of a unified and coherent brand. However, the onus is on your business and your staff to convey a positive image of your organization in society — something even marketing campaigns with spends amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars fail to do at times. Knowing your business and your values well — and sharing and promoting them to your audience accordingly — in addition to taking consumer-friendly action, will result in a healthy dose of brand awareness — which is great news for your business.
2. It improves customer experience
If your organization is retail based, with store setups that receive large numbers of daily visitors, then a unique dress code will ensure your customers don’t face any trouble or confusion when looking for help. Not getting the support they need can be a huge barrier to purchase for customers, and if an individual can’t easily ask their query, they’ll likely leave your store and take their money with them.
As a corporate uniform gives your staff a unique identity — one that should be easy to spot across a busy floor — customers will feel confident reaching out to them. This will not only ensure core competence, but it will also have a positive impact on your sales.
3. It clearly distinguishes work and play
One of the main issues of having a wardrobe that people use for both their work and home life is, ironically, that it can be fairly limiting. If your employees wear the same clothes to work as they do when they relax at the weekend, where is the differentiation between work and play? While it may seem like a small factor, it can be dangerous when the lines become blurred. Employees may feel that they cannot concentrate on relaxing because their minds are preoccupied with work or, likewise, they may find it difficult to get into “work mode” when they enter the office.
Wearing a uniform is a clear indicator to the brain that it’s time to work. Dr Karen Pine, a professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, states that this has a more significant impact than we might at first realize:
“A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it's 'professional work attire' or 'relaxing weekend wear', so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning."
This means that, without often realizing it, we behave in ways that are appropriate according to what we wear.
While there is little research specifically on the effects of what we wear in the workplace, a study conducted on students found that those who wore a lab coat — a piece of clothing associated with attentiveness, care, and focus — performed better in tests than those who were told it was a painter’s overall. Clearly, our perception of what we wear can influence our behavior — either positively or negatively.
What this research indicates is that implementing a uniform code can not only help employees maintain a healthy work/life balance, but it could also actually improve the productivity levels of your workforce.
4. It creates a sense of unity
Employees wearing the same uniform in an organization develop a sense of belonging and solidarity, which is crucial to the success of any business. A collaborative work environment with a team-led ethos can improve morale, productivity and overall job satisfaction, ultimately contributing to improved performance and, therefore, a bigger bottom line.
5. It gives employees more time
Let’s face the truth: one of the biggest struggles for employees working at an organization where there is no formal uniform code is choosing what to wear every morning. In their attempt to look smart and professional — without being repetitive — employees can spend a significant amount of time and money. With a uniform, all employees are equal, regardless of job role, background and personal circumstances. For those conscious about what they choose — or can afford — to wear, a dress code negates potential self-esteem issues or fears that they don’t look good enough.
By having a uniform code in the organization, you can prevent these issues quickly and easily, and ensure your staff stay focused on the task at hand to meet your organizational goals.
As with all changes, some employees may have a harder time adapting to wearing a work uniform, but the advantages for your organization — and your employees in the long term — are well worth the adjustment period. Implementing a uniform can help you take that step towards creating a recognized company culture that will result in increased brand awareness and a positive perception of your business.
Author: Glen Smith is the marketing manager at WISE Worksafe. He joined as a customer support executive back in 2003 and was soon promoted to the role of purchasing manager in 2004. Over the course of the next 14 years, he's handled various roles and responsibilities, such as key account management, IT and website management, and finally marketing management. He has a passion for making brands stand out from the crowd and come up with innovative solutions to support the client-base of the company.