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So, you've ordered a line of custom embroidered clothing for your company. Now what? Can you just send out a company-wide email and expect all of your employees to show up to work the next day looking sharp and professional in their new uniforms? Well, maybe. A lot of it depends on the nature of your business. Some employees take the company dress code very seriously, while others tend have a much more lackadaisical approach. So, how can you ensure that your employees always follow the dress code?
1. Make Sure It's Legal
This one is a no brainer. If you force your employees to dress a certain way and then later on down the road one of your employees finds out that the requirements are illegal, then you're in for a whole world of trouble. Double and triple check with your industry regulations to make sure that everything is acceptable -- steel-toed boots for construction workers, hats for chefs, etc.
2. Be a Good Role Model
Nobody likes a hypocrite, so the "do as I say, not as I do" mantra isn't going to fly with a lot of people. If you really want your employees to respect your decision to implement a dress code, then it's imperative that you represent that decision in the way that you dress. Obviously, I'm not saying that you have to wear the same uniform as your employees -- it would be a little bit silly if Steve Jobs drove into work every day wearing that iconic blue Apple t-shirt. What I am saying, though, is that you need to take care of your appearance and dress professionally. This will show your employees that you're taking the dress code seriously and they should too.
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If you expect your employees to shave, then you should use a razor every morning. If you expect your employees to cover tattoos, then you shouldn't walk around your business with your "I love Mom" tattoo showing. Consistency is the hallmark of a great leader.
3. Write it Down!
This one is pretty simple. Writing down the dress code regulations all in one spot gives your employees an easy way to check the dress code if there's any confusion. It should also cut down on the number of scenarios wherein a worker says, "So-and-so told me it was OK to wear flip-flops."
Nope -- don't buy into any of that he-said she-said stuff. If you write down the rules of your dress code in one easily accessible spot then your employees won't have an excuse when they show up to work looking like death warmed over.
A dress code will only matter if you make it matter. Little things like dress code infractions have a tendency to snowball out of control until everybody in your office is ignoring a certain rule.
Nobody wants to wear a tie, so if Joe Blow employee sees his cubicle buddy get away scot-free for wearing a polo shirt, then you can bet your bottom dollar that Joe Blow will show up to work tomorrow in a comfy polo shirt.
Be firm with your punishments, but at the same time don't go overboard. Create appropriate punishments so that all of your employees will know beyond any shadow of a doubt that there's a consequence for dressing badly.