Establishing a dress code policy ensures that employees uphold an overall acceptable appearance, understand what appropriate attire is and understand the consequences of breaking the dress code policy.
To find out more about dress code policies, the benefits of such policies, what to include in a policy and how to download a sample dress code policy template, read on. But before addressing how to write a dress code policy, it is important to explain what a dress code policy is and what it is not.
What Is a Dress Code Policy?
A dress code policy is not the same thing as an employee uniform agreement. The dress code details what is required to be worn and what is appropriate for the workplace, but it does not require the employee to wear a uniform.
The policy is a document that will be signed by the employee and employer agreeing to follow all that is included. A dress code policy outlines overall personal appearance, acceptable attire and styles of clothing.
Specifics for acceptable hair color, jewelry, skirt length, graphics, and apparel colors will all need to be outlined in the policy. With a detailed dress code, employees understand what is expected and accepted from their appearance and any consequences for breaking the policy.
Benefits of Having a Dress Code Policy
Several benefits come from having a dress code policy. Employees dressed professionally establish an image that supports a company brand, sets a first impression for customers, prioritizes safety in the workplace and has even been shown to increase productivity and build team unity.
Implementing a dress code policy ensures that employees understand what is appropriate and acceptable in their appearance and leaves no room for misinterpretation. A clearly defined policy provides concisely written documentation that can be referred to as needed. If an employee is not upholding the professional image sought after, there will be no surprises in the companies response. Consequences have been established and discussed in writing.
The visual uniformity a dress code provides also makes it easy for consumers to distinguish employees from customers. Employees who look the part and know what they are to wear each day can be confident with their attire choices and how they represent the company they work for.
What to Include in a Dress Code Policy
Explanation of Overall Policy and Appropriate Dress
A dress code policy should begin with an explanation of what the overall appropriate appearance is for the business that is being represented by employees. Employees must look the part of the business. It would not be appropriate for an outdoor excursion business to have employees dress in suits, slacks, dress shirts, skirts, heels or any level of business professional dress. The attire laid out in the dress code policy needs to be appropriate for the company it represents and the demands of the job itself.
It may be noted that employees within a company may adhere to varying standards dependent upon the job description and title of each employee. For example, a manager may have separate dress code requirements from those of a customer service representative.
Details for Appropriate and Inappropriate Attire and Style
Every detail must be included in the dress code policy to ensure employees have a firm understanding of both what is expected and accepted and what is not to be worn. This section lists specific items that can and cannot be worn so there is no room for personal interpretation of the policy.
It is important to consider that employees may hold religious beliefs or have health issues that may require special accommodations to workplace attire. Consider adding a section to the dress code policy that addresses any circumstances that may interfere with the overall requested workplace attire and how each situation will be handled.
Consequences of Breaking Dress Code Policy
Consequences for breaking the policy will be addressed. Generally, dress code policies include the following three items:
A first-time offence will result in a verbal warning and reminder of what is included in the policy.
A second offense will result in a written warning.
Continued non-compliance will result in termination.
Signature and Acceptance
The dress code policy is generally provided to employees at the time of hire unless it is a newly implemented policy. It is common for the policy to be included in new employee paperwork that is to be read, and then signed and dated by the employee.
This final section of the policy includes an area for the employee to both date and sign.
Dress Code Policy Template
Each company should edit this template to create a unique dress code policy to address each individual business’s needs. Business dress code policies will differ based on the specifics of the overall appearance expected to be upheld per company.
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https://policylibrary.gatech.edu/employment/business-casual-dress-policy-summer-and-fridays. Georgia Tech. (January 2020).
https://www.complianceprime.com/blog/2019/12/05/is-dress-code-important-in-the-workplace/. Compliance Prime. (December 2019).
https://smallbusiness.chron.com/benefits-setting-dress-code-workplace-22655.html. Small Business Chronicle. (August 2020).
https://www.workplacefairness.org/dress-codes-grooming. Workplace Fairness.