A survey by Ranstad, a global staffing firm, reported that 63% of millennials surveyed prefer dressing up for work as it increases their performance due to improved confidence. In contrast, only 51% of older workers agree with this, alluding to the fact that perhaps confidence comes with age.
So, are enforced dress codes becoming an outdated practice? Research, carried out by Xpert HR, of close to 500 employers’ policies showed that while workwear policies are in place, over half bend the rules for dress down days or charity days, and some big companies on Wall Street have had a complete overhaul of their dress code policy.
In fact, Goldman Sachs, one of the largest banks in America, broadcast that it has relaxed its dress code in a bid to attract new top talent, which backs up further Ranstad survey findings that 33% of millennials would turn down a job offer if they were required to adhere to a conservative dress code.
Why You Need a Clear Dress Code
These days, employers may be more inclined to forgo the formal dress code entirely as it seems restrictive and old fashioned, however failing to establish any sort of guidelines can lead to confusion and uncertainty over what is acceptable to wear. Whilst 55% of managers are more concerned about their employees’ performance over what they wear, 28% of workers have actually felt uncomfortable due to a co-worker’s outfit being too revealing.
What to Include in a Dress Code Policy
Even if a company does not want to enforce a strict dress code, a policy containing guidelines should still be drawn up and made available to employees. These should include the following:
Pointers on how employees should present themselves -
- Employees are to be clean and well groomed
- Clothing must be work-appropriate – active wear and/or outdoor clothing are not permitted unless working in those environments
- Clothing must portray professionalism and should not be too revealing
- Overly branded clothes or those containing offensive slogans should not be worn
- Clothes should be clean and in good condition – obvious rips, tears and holes aren’t allowed.
A business dress code which describes the overall feel of the company, such as, business/business casual/smart casual or casual. This section should also include any potential situations where the general dress code may vary, for example at a formal event or when meeting clients.
Disciplinary consequences if the policy is not adhered to. These would be at the managers discretion and could include sending a worker home to change or more severe repercussions if the employee continually violates the dress code.
Whether management decides to enforce a strict dress code or allow casual-wear, the goal should be the same: to allow staff members to dress comfortably but appropriately, whilst at the same time enabling them to still showcase their personality.