UBS in Switzerland have a style guide for their employees that recommended the wearing of wristwatches to indicate trustworthiness and punctuality. The Swiss have always had a fascination with watches and clocks! The dress code of the branch employees is evolving as the style and purpose of the branch evolves.
When employees were behind desks and bandit screens, staff were easily identifiable, now that branches are more open uniforms provide a useful way to identify employees. Uniforms provide a branding and marketing opportunity to share a message. They also contribute to the overall style of interaction that that the brand wants to communicate. Polo shirts can reinforce an image of youthful, dynamic, friendly and accessible. Suits support the image of professional, expert and business oriented.
Within a branch the uniforms assigned to the employees can align a work culture. In IKEA, all of the employees wear the same uniform regardless of role or seniority. It is intended to reinforces constant learning, equality and team work. In the airline industry or the military, a uniform clearly delineates the role and seniority of the individual. This enables the identification of the leaders. When I walk in to the branch with a complex or sensitive issue, I hunt for the employee in the suit as they will be at the management level.
A uniform can change the way that your employee acts. It can change the way in which your customer responds. Over 90% of communications are non-verbal, your dress code is a significant proportion of that communication that occurs in the first second of the customer interaction. Align the style, fit, quality of the uniform to your overall brand image. Understand local culture and environment, the same uniform may not work in Alaska and Florida! Trial, or beta test, different uniforms. Does a polo shirt or a suit engage more customers, or convert more sales? Don’t research and decide your branch uniform in the corporate headquarters, test and refine it in the branch. Involve your employees in creating a uniform that symbolises a brand that they are proud of. Dress your employees to confidently stand tall and consistently deliver and exceed your brand promise.