My dad told me this story years ago: He drove to one of his job sites to check on his painters. They were doing a beautiful renovation project on an old craftsmen-style home. However, a competitor was doing a similar job next door. He smiled as he thought, “Boy! I’ve got some great employees. They are so clean, efficient and talented! They are nothing like my competitors doing the work next door.” The competition was not in any uniform, and the painters looked scary. My dad then took a really good look at his painters and the vehicles they were driving. He realized that they didn’t look much better. He knew something had to change and that image and appearance is vitally important. It was after this one job that he went back and began developing company lettering for his vehicles, better looking shirts, yard signs and so on. Did it pay off? Absolutely. He is considered one of the most recognized painting companies in the San Diego area and known for quality and his professional and clean staff!
What type of dress standard do you have for your staff? It’s the little things that matter most, especially in the information age we live in now. Your painters, carpenters, or field employees should definitely have a uniform, even down to company approved boots. Yes boots! My dad’s painters had a dress code for the company hats, pants, hair length and shirts, but they did not have a shoe policy. We even had a policy that said how the pants had to be worn! So as I drove around checking on his staff, I noticed the painter’s shoes (most of them) were sloppy looking. Many of them had the tennis shoes or boots without laces. It just looked unprofessional. I went back and told my dad we had to add boots to the dress code standards. We wrote up a list of approved boots and gave he employee $20 towards the purchase of better looking boots. A few bought the $20 boots from Walmart where others went out and bought Red Wings. I must say, the staff was excited to dress more professionally. I think it gave them a sense of pride that they were different and better.
One final thought. My dad often quotes this phrase, “You get what you inspect, not what you expect!” So now as he drives to job sites, he inspects his company standards and dress codes. He inspects to make sure the yard signs are up and clean. He checks to make sure the vehicles are in good shape, the job stations are organized and that his staff are dressed for success.
What are your thoughts on Company Dress Codes? How do you handle this with your staff? Do you follow up and inspect rather than expect your employees to always abide by your standards? Would love to hear your thoughts.