No two companies have the same dress code policy. They may think they do, but all you need to do is walk their halls to realize that everyone there has a slightly different take on what the company’s dress code policy is. This is not the employees’ fault. It is management’s fault for not giving staff a clear and concise understanding of how they are expected to dress in their specific workplace. Here are some questions the DCR frequently hears from HR professionals trying to create a dress code policy:
- How important are dress codes to HR? Extremely. An organization’s dress code defines what they are; it defines their character and mission. Also, as we all know, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and your dress code plays a huge part in the image that you convey as a team.
- Why is enforcing a dress code at work important? For two main reasons. First, it provides an organization with a common understanding of what is appropriate to wear in that particular workplace. Second, in the event of any employment disputes surrounding a worker’s attire, being able to show that your organization has enforced its dress code in a consistent way will help demonstrate that the employee in question has not been unfairly singled out for discipline.
- How can the DCR help my HR department? Most companies loosely use dress code terms such as “casual Friday,” “business casual,” and other phrases that don’t really have an official meaning. The DCR provides a solution to this problem by offering a web-based platform that defines specifically the dress code that has been adopted by an organization and gives examples of what types of clothing are certified to comply with that code. The DCR also provides a section on its site where HR departments, as well as employees, can send queries regarding their dress code and receive a formal opinion from the DCR. This tool relieves HR leaders of many of the problems often caused by vague dress code policies.
- How can having a clear dress code policy help change an organization? The DCR offers organizations a way to avoid dress code misunderstandings so they can focus more on the work at hand. And, if there is a disagreement about a chosen dress code, the DCR provides a free analysis by an objective 3rd party to resolve that conflict. When adopting one of the DCR dress codes organizations access a fun online tool that helps avoid misunderstandings and disputes about what the appropriate attire is for an organization.
- Can you give an example of how an organization uses the DCR? One of our favorite examples is San Francisco Neuropsychology Specialists, which is a doctors’ office that uses different dress codes depending on the type of patient interactions they have on a certain day. So their policy is to use a DCR3 if there are no patients in the office at all; DCR4 if other doctors have patients, but you don’t; and DCR4 or DCR5 when you are seeing a patient by yourself. The DCR likes this because it shows an organization adapting their dress code to the needs of the office and the professional image that they want to reflect at any given time. Here is a snippet from their employee handbook:
THE DCR’S BEST ADVICE TO HR LEADERS
Keep it simple. The days of handing a new employee a huge binder on company policies are coming to an end. If you want your staff to truly understand your organization’s policies and remember them, you need to present them in a concise—ideally, online—format.