The development of employee image is a core business investment in all economic climates, not just an elective for times of prosperity.
Today employers leave wardrobe decisions up to their employees, yet they are concerned that employee decisions with regard to appearance are causing them to lose customers and negatively impacting the bottom line.
The implementation of business casual dress to attract and retain employees is hurting organizations in terms of both sales and customer service. Business owners know it, but believe they can’t do anything to change this. Management thinks casual is what the employee wants.
The reality is that saying, “No” to three-piece suits does not mean saying, “Yes” to jeans and T-shirts. Employees are displeased with co-workers who dress unprofessionally and are confused about what to wear to work.
Companies are aware the manner in which some employees present themselves is negatively affecting business. It’s important to develop the awareness and guidelines for employees so that they consistently present themselves to achieve results.
Gone is the perception of image consulting as a fluffy program. There is a widespread realization that, far from being a soft skill, professional presentation directly affects sales targets and customer retention.
Companies that provide training or one-on-one coaching are seeing increased sales volume, profit, customer retention and repeat business. The key is teaching employees to make wardrobe decisions without prescribing a dress code.
Any system should help employees make choices that are aligned with corporate interests without stifling personal interests. To support corporate objectives, it is important to help employees dress more professionally and appropriately, while maintaining their individuality.
Take into consideration these things:
- The employee who dresses unprofessionally undermines the goals of the organization.
- The employee who dresses moderately professional has a neutral impact on goals.
- The employee who presents a professional presence accelerates his or her own success, as well as the organization’s success.
Younger generations will continue to seek attire guidance so they can have individuality, yet achieve desired results in their career. These individuals are looking to brand themselves for career success and advancement. In their work, appearance is a significant component in how they will be perceived and how successful they will be.
With the advancement of technology, business will bring increases in videoconferencing, creating a demand for even more carefully chosen wardrobe for the camera.
Companies merging with or acquiring other companies face the challenge of integrating cultures without losing the best people in both companies. The question is, do they choose one dress culture over the other or institute a new and more effective system that members of both cultures can live with?
Successful organizations optimize every aspect of employee effectiveness while retaining the best people. Smart business leaders recognize that presentation matters and that improving their employees’ appearance makes a strong business statement.
These organizations are reframing the rules of dress, shifting back to dressing more professionally, but always trying to support both employee individuality and peak profitability.
Dawn Waldrop mailto:[email protected]) is president of Best Impressions Inc. and consults with business owners on how to increase revenue through the image of the employees. She also helps executives present their best image for financial success. Waldrop is the author of “Best Impressions: How to Gain Professionalism, Promotion and Profit.” Visit her on the Net at www.best-impressions.com.