Creating a Dress Code Policy for Your Employees

As an employer, you have every right to establish and enforce a workplace dress code. Your employees’ work clothing is a direct reflection on your business and brand. But while many employers stand behind the idea of creating a company-wide dress code, they’re not quite sure where to begin. Here are a few basics to get the ball rolling:

Put It in Writing

You should have a clear list of permissible and unacceptable work clothing, and it should be handed to every employee. A written dress code policy eliminates confusion and ensures that everyone is on the same page. Remember to give a copy to all new and existing employees, and make sure to update it with any changes you might make.

Identify Exceptions

It’s perfectly acceptable to have different dress codes for groups of employees, as long as everyone knows ahead of time what their particular work clothing policy is. For example, if ponytails are acceptable for women, but not for men, then put that in your written dress code. Also, identify if employees that work directly with customers or potential clients have different dress rules than those working in a back office or factory setting. Clarification ahead of time will avoid HR headaches later on.Clarify

Remember that your definition of terms like “appropriate,” “conservative,” or “proper” may not be the same as others. Clarify all points in your dress code and provide examples of what is and isn’t acceptable.

Casual Friday?

If you are providing a casual or dress down policy for certain days of the week, or non-customer days, be sure to include a list of acceptable practices for those days, as well. Remind your employees that this is a privilege, not a right, and can be removed at any time.