The lines of professionalism have been blurred, but it can be hard to navigate dress codes and how to present the human aspect of your business when you are an SME.
This problem primarily occurs for SMEs when they are trying to establish their company’s brand image; because dress is a marker of a success, class and socioeconomics, uniforms and your staff’s image can have a great impact on targeting your desired audience. There are also practical concerns associated with uniforms and dress codes, for example, will your customers be able to identify your staff when they need assistance?
Our tips are ideal for small, independent brands looking for uniform solutions that accurately represent their brand. These can be used across all industries and all standards of professionalism.
Lanyards are practical, tidy and professional tools that staff can wear around their necks, even when wearing their own clothes. Lanyards can work alongside dress codes to keep things consistent to a certain extent, ensuring your company is maintaining a certain level of formality. Supplying your staff with lanyards means that they are easily identifiable, wearing a company colour and corporate branding. Lanyards can be customised with brand names, logos and more. They can also be used to carry ID cards, swipe or key cards.
If you are eager to promote individuality, creativity and style, staff can wear lanyards with a non-uniform dress code. This means each member of the team will be individually dressed but all share this one cohesive piece. Alternatively, you could also choose to appoint dress guidelines alongside lanyards, to promote a cohesive brand image. This could be particularly ideal if you want your staff to wear or showcase items that are available or on sale in your store. Furthermore, lanyards in a uniformed work environment could help to build customer relationships, using lanyards as name cards or identifiers that make your team look professional but approachable.
Pick one piece of uniform
For a happy medium, you could provide your team with one staple piece of uniform to wear every single day, this could be a branded shirt or a structured, professional blazer, depending on the industry standards. Research and experts indicate that allowing your employees to show their individuality and personal style, yet a uniform also unites a team and helps to create work / life balances. This could be the perfect solution for you, and your SME to maximise on the best of both worlds.
The individual piece of uniform could also be practical, for example protective chainsaw trousers for those working outdoors or with sharp equipment and products at below-the-waist height. Alternatively, a blazer is representative of professional services; this could be suitable for sales people or teams, estate agents and many more companies that have staff to travel around an area to represent your company.
Pick specific rules
Uniforms can have poor connotations for employees and outsiders that perceive your business. Although the aim may be to curate a cohesive and professional aesthetic, in many cases uniforms make employees look low-level. Think of uniformed police officers versus their superiors, detectives and sergeants that wear plain clothes.
If you are trying to maintain a higher level of formality, you might be best prescribing individual rules to your team. This can be, ‘men must wear collared shirts’ and ‘no open toed shoes’, for example. This prohibits more casual items, like t-shirts and sandals but still allows plenty of room for individual style and creative flair, if your employees are so inclined.
The problem with this dress code is that your staff will be harder to identify if they are working in a public or busy environment. Lanyards, ID badges or markers are the ultimate solution to all workplace dress codes.