The Right Uniform Program Can Help Your Employees and Customers Feel and Be Safer
When your new janitorial crew appeared to clean a customer’s building, the security manager called to ask whether the workers were really from your company.
“We’ve never seen these people before,” he said. “I know it’s normal to experience turnover in the jobs they have, but we need to be sure about anyone we’re sending into our offices.”
The Uniform and Textile Service Association learned via a survey conducted for us by J.D. Power and Associates that 87 percent of business owners and managers want to see personnel from vendors and suppliers clad in uniform to help confirm that these workers are who they say they are – and with good reason. Whether they are international terrorists, industrial espionage agents, or local thieves hoping to snatch purses or laptop computers, helping your customers keep intruders away will help build satisfaction with your services. A strategically planned uniform program can be a strong solution to a variety of security issues for service vendors. Uniform rental and service companies provide assistance to customers that goes beyond simply providing new uniforms, picking up dirty uniforms, washing them, and delivering clean ones. These companies also can help ensure that uniforms are ideal from a functional standpoint, based on the jobs for which they will be worn. They also help customers select styles, fabrics, designs and colors that convey the desired business image to everyone who sees uniformed employees. The Uniform and Textile Service Association (UTSA) is an international trade organization representing these firms.
Security for Your Business And Your Customers
Security is an issue not just for your commercial customers, but for your own business as well, especially if many people come and go from your offices to deliver or pick- up supplies or to handle other tasks. When every employee in contact with or working near your facility’s equipment, inventories or cash wears a uniform, outsiders near these resources are conspicuous and easy to identify as potential intruders. If all employees entering the office wear uniforms that clearly identify them as your workers, the new office manager who does not yet know the entire staff can go on about her duties feeling fairly certain that she, other office personnel, and all equipment, materials and valuables in the facility are safe. Workers wearing effectively designed uniforms will not only enhance the secur ity of your business, but will help build a stronger feeling of security among those who see them entering and working at your customer’s facilities. A well-designed and distinctive uniform will leave much less room for doubt about a worker’s identity tha n will a generic outfit with a planned color scheme but little or no other distinguishing visual content. To make a uniform design as effective as possible from a security standpoint, apply the following guidelines:
Design uniforms that would be difficult for anyone to copy exactly for personnel in most or all of your positions, especially those involving work at customer facilities.
A uniform supply and service company can help you review and upgrade your uniform designs from a security standpoint. Use of company logos, colors, slogans and other design elements should be as precise and consistent as possible across all job functions, so that they are clear to other employees and to customers. As much as possible, your business’s visual elements also should be used on protective gear for workers in the field;
- Logos and other unique, identifiable business elements, such as slogans, should be incorporated into all possible employee wear items, including coveralls, gloves, headgear, and other ancillary products;
- Store uniforms collected for laundering in a secure location;
- Make certain that managers collect all uniforms distributed to employees who resign or who are terminated;
- If you change the design of your uniforms, a courtesy announcement, perhaps accompanied by a photo of your new uniform design, should be sent to regular customers. They will then know to expect service personnel to be attired differently on the next call;
- Use your effectively designed uniforms as a selling point.. A prospective customer is likely to feel good about your business when you say, “Our workers’ uniforms will be easy for you to identify, and difficult for someone with no legitimate business in your facilities to copy. We maintain a high-quality uniform program to help ensure our customers’ security.”
- Keep all employee uniforms in good repair. A service worker’s less-than-neat uniform may cause customers to feel uncomfortable with him or her, potentially impacting perceptions of safety and security. A uniform service provider will ensure that needed repairs are made to your workers’ uniforms, stains are completely removed, worn uniforms are replaced with new ones, and larger or smaller-sized uniforms are delivered promptly if needed. A uniform supplier also can provide expert guidance on fabrics that may be ideal for workers in certain jobs, and on uniform design for each job to ensure functionality, durability, and professional appearance—even after an employee has been at work for hours.
Jennifer Kellar is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at the Uniform and Textile Service Association. She can be contacted at Kellar@utsa.com.