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How to help employees adhere to a dress code

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
How to help employees adhere to a dress code

With workwear relaxing over the years, especially with remote working and the pandemic, employers may be struggling to get their employees to adhere to the dress code.

Pamela Jabbour, CEO of Total Image Group, discussed her experience with The HR Leader on 28 July, and gave some tips for enforcing uniform while still keeping employees satisfied.

“It’s often a business/a group approach and once you get group buy in, then the rest tend to follow,” said Ms Jabbour.


“I always would call a team meeting. I would explain what we are launching and why, or why we have a uniform and the importance that plays in everyone’s roles.

“You tend to find, once you explain it, that you’ve allowed for all these different needs and wants and you’ve heard their feedback and have taken all that into account that you actually tend to get the majority buying in and it creates a lot of excitement,” she explained.

However, this approach may not always work, and you could still have issues with insubordination.

“For those that dont, it’s the basic 101. You have to pull them up and just say there’s a reason we have a dress code, this is why. Is there a reason youre not comfortable? Hear what they have to say,” said Ms Jabbour.

“They might have some valid input as to why they dont wear the uniform and your next addition or rendition of the uniform can include some of that feedback. More often than not, it’s just a simple conversation.”

Listening to employees’ needs and wants can be very insightful. There may be outstanding issues with the uniform that have been overlooked. Ms Jabbour says employee satisfaction should be the basis for your decisions.

“I think comfort and style go hand-in-hand, and I think it’s really down to the uniform company youve engaged,” explained Ms Jabbour.

“Some clients might push more for fashion and then it’s not practical and others will go too practical and not fashion. It’s definitely a balance of both. People have to want to wear it, therefore it has to look good and feel good, and to feel good it has to be comfortable and practical.

“Uniforms have come so far. Theyre no longer these boxy long shirts, polyester fabrics, pleated pants. Theyre actually really taking a swing from a fashion standpoint.”

Matchr released a guide on how to handle dress code violations, with insights for each of the following points:

• Thoroughly detail acceptable dress.
• Be consistent with the policy.
• Have reasons to back up the code.
• Send out reminders or updates.
• Meet with the employee privately.

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation with Pamela Jabbour is below, and the original podcast article can be found here.



Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.