NAPLES — QUESTION: I own and operate a local insurance agency. At the urging of my staff, we implemented a “business casual” style of dress. However, a few employees are now wearing inappropriate articles of clothing. What can you suggest to remedy the problem?
ANSWER: In the absence of a written dress code, some individuals will always take casual dress to the extremes. Take a walk through any busy shopping mall and note just how casual dress has become in the 21st century.
Young men wear baggy pants with underwear showing; shirt tails out and oversized tennis shoes with shoe laces flapping in the breeze. Young women and girls with too tight pants and spandex tops; assorted jewelry and extreme body piercings. While some would dismiss these as youthful fashion trends, it can set the stage for problems when they enter the work force.
Attire may not be a problem for people who work with their hands. However, if you work in an office environment, a restaurant, or high-end clothing store where you meet and service customers, one must dress the part.
A recent article by Karen Michael, president of a Virginia based human resources consulting firm, puts it this way “If you can see up it, down or through it, don’t wear it. Also, anything that is too trendy, too baggy or too tight is out.”
Bottom line, owners and managers should not leave “appropriate dress” to the imagination of their employees. A formal, written dress code should be established and discussed with both current workers and new hires. It should reflect the image the business wishes the public to see.
Ms. Michael cautions “Policies should not be too specific because there is no way to cover every possible situation. A common sense approach is a good start and should include expectations about hair, jewelry, tattoos and piercings.”
To learn more about management issues facing your small business, contact SCORE Naples. Counseling is provided FREE of charge to all U.S. citizens and legal aliens. To register call 239-430-0081 or visit our web site http://naples.score.org/
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