It is time to start thinking about new uniforms. Whether a company is getting into uniforms for the first time or just looking to upgrade, the task of selecting new uniforms almost always falls to the management. So, should employees have any input?
The question of employee input is a delicate one. On the one hand, employees are the ones who will ultimately be stuck with new uniforms even if they do not like them. They have to wear them day in and day out. They are the ones who have to deal with all the positives and negatives.
On the other hand, there are legitimate concerns that employees do not have enough knowledge of the economics of running a business to offer constructive input. They may not realize that their perfect uniform, as great as it is, just does not fit into the company budget.
In the end, it is probably best to ask for employee input at least to some degree. Management can always analyze that input in light of the many factors that go into uniform choices.
Things That Concern Employees
Alsco, a Salt Lake City company that provides linen and uniform services throughout the country, explains that employees have very real concerns when it comes to new uniforms. And believe it or not, aesthetic appeal is not at the top of the list in most cases.
Employees want input on:
- Temperature Control – Uniforms can play a big role in temperature control. In other words, employees want to stay warm during the winter and as cool as possible during the summer. This immediately brings up issues of fabric choices, layers, breathability, sweat absorption, and so forth.
- Daily Comfort – Hand-in-hand with temperature control is daily comfort. Employees should have input so that they do not end up with styles that restrict movement or impair workflow. They need to be comfortable while they work. The do not need new uniforms that make working uncomfortable.
- Utility and Function – While some uniforms are primarily for brand appeal, others have to be fully functional. The uniforms worn in an industrial environment are classic example. Employees may want a certain number of pockets but not too many. They may want extra features, like loops for holding tools.
- Protection – Industrial environments are also environments where uniforms should provide environmental protection. Employees want clothing that will protect them against chemicals, solvents, high temperatures, etc. Their uniforms must be able to take the punishment too.
- Fastener Choices – Believe it or not, the choice of fasteners can be very important to some types of employees. They will want input relating on zippers, Velcro, snaps, buttons, and so forth.
- Aesthetic Appeal – Aesthetic appeal is on the list, albeit farther down than some of the other factors. That’s fine. Employees do care what they look like, so they will be concerned about things such as garment style and color. Give them something they enjoy looking at and they will be more likely to embrace the new uniforms.
Different Uniforms for Different Workers
Yet another thing to consider is that your company may have different uniforms for different kinds of workers. Let us say you operate a machine shop, for example. The workers on the floor will need industrial grade uniforms that offer adequate protection and versatile function.
You will need different uniforms for mid-level managers and the sales team. You might want different uniforms for maintenance technicians so as to differentiate them from your tool and die workers. The point is that each group of employees should be allowed input on their uniforms.