It is obvious that most companies with formal uniform policies seek to design their uniforms to in some way reflect branding. Doing so is a no-brainer. But sometimes, lost in the branding shuffle is a stark reality that many employees overlook: uniforms identify companies. Moreover, how an employee behaves while wearing a uniform reflects on his/her employer.
All of this might seem rudimentary to C-suite executives and small business owners. They know full well how both positive and negative images can affect branding. But workers on the ground do not necessarily have that same consciousness. They don’t see the overall picture management sees from the office. They have to be reminded that everything they do while in uniform reflects on the business in some way.
Uniforms Identify Your Team
Today’s companies cite lots of different reasons for mandating uniforms. But at the end of the day, all uniforms have one very specific purpose: identification. Like the uniforms of two sports teams identify players on each side, work uniforms identify the ‘team’ each employee works for.
For an example of this concept, we look to the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). The agency recently announced plans to change how Known Crewmember checkpoints would be operated at U.S. airports. The new policy stated that as of August 28, airline crew members with proper registration and identification would be allowed to pass into sterile areas of the airport without going through normal security, as long as they were wearing their uniforms.
TSA officials have since postponed the policy change, but the point is still well-made. Known crewmembers can be easily recognized by TSA officers via their uniforms and ID. Each uniform identifies the airline for which an employee works.
Likewise, even first-time airport visitors can easily identify TSA workers by their uniforms. Their uniforms are clear and distinct so that there is no confusion between TSA officers and local police. We know what team those officers work for.
Behavior Influences Team Reputation
Another thing to remember about the team concept is that an entire team’s reputation can be influenced by just one or two individuals. Such influence can be either good or bad. For example, do you follow professional hockey? If so, you know that the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970s still have an influence on the Philadelphia Flyers’ reputation. In baseball, Yankee pinstripes are considered the classiest in the sport simply because no other team compares to the Yankees in terms of championships won and the quality of play.
Also, a uniform rental company in Utah, says that employee behavior while in uniform affects the entire reputation of the company – just as it does in sports. Stellar employees who consistently treat customers with respect help foster a very good reputation. Yet it only takes one bad apple to ruin that reputation.
Wear the Uniform Proudly
So what is the point here? It is that employees should wear their uniforms proudly. Uniforms are not just about branding or presenting a certain kind of appearance. They identify the company behind them. As a result, they influence that company’s reputation.
More important than the uniform itself is how employees behave while wearing it. So just as much care should be taken to train employees in how they are to interact with the public. Effort should be put into monitoring how employees do their jobs.
Employers, remember that your uniforms identify your company. If your company can bring back a level of customer service that used to be the norm in America, worker uniforms will be associated with more positive perceptions.