5 Steps to Selecting the Right Staff Uniforms
Employee uniforms have the ability to immediately communicate a message to our customers the moment they step through your doors. Everything from the type of clientele you wish to attract, to your corporate identity can be reflected in your staff’s apparel choices. Here are five simple steps to consider when choosing the right attire for your team:
STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR INTENDED MESSAGING
Like it or not, what we wear conveys a message to those around us and as business owners, we have a responsibility to make our brand stand out.
The direction you choose in styling will largely depend on the message you want to send. Ask yourself: Who are you trying to attract? What are their expectations for how your team should present themselves?
For sake of an example: if you are a high-end restaurant, your staff should probably steer clear of t-shirts and sneakers. Crisp and clean are two adjectives that immediately come to mind and will be useful in piecing together the appropriate uniform combo. Aside from perhaps a collared button down shirt, you may also want to consider whether your ensemble could benefit from a waistcoat, apron, and/or slacks.
STEP 2: KEEPING WITH YOUR BRAND IDENTITY
Once you have established your messaging and have paired it with a generic uniform concept, it’s important to consider color, cut and design of the fabric – all of which speaks to… you guessed it… your messaging! Take natural colors such as blues and greens, for example. These colors are generally associated with caring and calming environments. This is why you commonly see these colors worn by doctors and nurses in hospitals and nursing homes.
Darker Colors Offer More Flexibility
If we go back to our earlier example of a formal restaurant, one might consider leaning towards darker colors as they can be paired with lighter secondary colors and are easier to accessorize. Think business or formal attire.
Vibrant Colors Stand Out
On the other hand, casual environments might be complimented by brighter more pronounced uniform colors. These colors are bold and help embed your brand into your consumers mind. I bet if I ask what color polo shirts the Best Buy employees wear, most who have stepped foot in one of their stores will know…. Royal Blue which is accented by their logo perfectly embroidered over the right chest area. (Ok, ok. Maybe I'm a little specific considering the nature of my work - but I remain confident that most would call out blue!)
STEP 3: PICK A MATERIAL THAT WILL WEAR WELL
You know the type of environment your staff will be working in better than anyone. For restaurants, owners will want to consider front-of-the-house staff needs vs those running the back-of-the-house. For retail establishments, perhaps there’s no major role disparities to warrant different uniform needs, however environmental considerations are still key. Regardless, selecting the appropriate materials for your staff is essential to ensuring that your business continues to run smoothly. Fun fact: your entire team will appreciate attire that is light weight and breathable!
Depending on the type of business you’re running, you may also want to consider options that are durable and easily washable. For those operating in the industrial sphere you may also be bound to consider materials that speak specifically to the safety and well-being of your staff such as flame-retardant and/or reflective materials.
- If your team will be spending a lot of their time in heated environments (outside, warehouse, car/ van, etc.) breath-ability is absolutely necessary. As any successful entrepreneur will tell you: happy staff = lower turnover and higher productivity. In this case, we highly recommend cotton or viscose as they offer increased breath-ability and absorption (for those nasty sweaty days).
- In almost all environments, we suggest avoiding clingy materials such as nylon. Uniforms should be comfortable and suitable for different body types. Not to mention, nylon can be a pain to wash and remove stains.
- Consider providing your staff with several sets (at least two) of key uniform components. This rule applies specially to those work place environments like restaurants, mechanic shops, etc. where your team may experience a spill or materials that can stain. If an accident happens earlier on in their shift, you and your customers will be glad they have something to change into.
STEP 4: DOES YOUR TEAM HAVE ANY SPECIAL UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS?
You’re almost there! Now that you’ve selected the perfect combo, it’s time to consider whether your team will have any special requirements. Here are some examples:
STEP 5: DON'T FORGET TO ASK YOUR STAFF FOR FEEDBACK
As mentioned earlier, happy staff = lower turnover and higher productivity. If select parts of your designated uniform are not suitable for them in their specified working environments, they’re obviously the best people to hear it from.