Ed Grigg, of UK corporate clothing supplier Incorporatewear, explains why organisations should provide staff uniform.
What are the benefits of supplying uniform to staff? For some organisations, the main objective relates to occupational health and safety. For others, uniform strengthens brand identity, and that is their primary goal.
A good uniform design, well made garments and professionally managed distribution produce visible and measurable benefits, including a clear return on financial investment, as well as more intangible benefits.
Bringing together a wide body of research on the subject, we have identified six principles.
Principle 1 – Brand
- A well-designed uniform promotes employees as “brand ambassadors” of the organisation.
- Each attribute of a uniform, such as colour, fabric, quality and style symbolises the values of the organisation.
- Uniform acts as a non-verbal cue, communicating brand messages to customers.
Principle 2 – Consistent message
- When staff dress uniformly, it promotes a consistent brand image of an organisation.
- It allows customers to distinguish the service provider from other customers.
Principle 3 – Productivity
- Uniform improves the effectiveness of employees who step into their work role, leaving behind personal behavioural preferences.
- Putting on a uniform is a cue to employees to comply with the training provided by the employer.
Principle 4 – Confidence
- Uniform improves employees’ self confidence in performing their work roles.
- It removes stress for employees choosing appropriate dress for work whereas inappropriate dress increases stress and reduces confidence.
Principle 5 – Promotes team effectiveness
- Consistently applied, uniform within categories of employees, supports training efforts to build team spirit, and by providing different uniform for categories of employees, to create teams within the team.
- Uniform reduces employee concerns of hierarchy, assisting team dynamics and effectiveness.
Principle 6 – Customer behaviour
- In the eyes of a customer, a consistent and recognisable uniform that reflects the brand of an organisation legitimises employees as service providers.
- Recognising employees as representatives of an organisation improves the customer’s sense of security and behaviour.