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Proof Company Uniforms Really Do Matter

There are a number of different reasons companies forgo traditional uniforms and allow employees to choose what apparel they’ll wear to work.

You may think you’re being thrifty, saving on the cleaning and maintenance costs that come with the “branding” mission carried out by your employees. Perhaps it feels cool and progressive to allow them to choose what they’ll wear within reason.

The fact is, uniforms matter. They really, truly do. Jerry Martin, the VP of Sales & Marketing at Prudential Overall Supply (a uniform and textile company, serving more than 26,000 businesses) explained that uniforms offer much more than just identification and are used for more than branding purposes. Uniforms can also give customers confidence in your staff and boost overall team spirit.

Restaurant staff uniform

Furthermore, there’s no shortage of data to back up this claim.

Some fast facts to get everyone thinking:

  • A 2013 online survey by Harris Interactive found 65% of 2,051 adult respondents said seeing a uniform on an employee has a significant impact on their perception of a brand.
  • A 2008 survey by JD Power and Associates found 75% of the people they polled prefer to see a uniform on the employees of the companies they do business with.

This type of data needs to be common knowledge for any SMB looking to accelerate their brand into the future. Indeed, the way your customers view your employees reflects how they view your business.

Consider the ramifications, just in the few examples listed below…

Mobile Services

You schedule your team to complete a job for a residential or commercial customer. Your workers show up to do the job, but confusion ensues when the customer can’t readily identify your brand with those employees. Immediately their perception is less than it should be – and the job hasn’t even started yet!

Retail

Customers walk through the door and immediately, or during their shopping experience, find they need the assistance of a store employee. There are plenty of other customers milling about. How do they find your staff members? Mostly by asking other customers, “Do you work here?” – which rarely goes over well with either party. Then there’s the issue of perception, discussed in the studies quoted above.

Construction

Imagine your crew is out on the roadway doing road construction work, wearing whatever Metallica shirt and greased up jeans weren’t lying in the hamper when they set out for work that morning. It may not look entirely inappropriate given the dirty nature of the work, but it also doesn’t make your company look professional and put together either. Not to mention, when it comes to directing the public in any construction scenario, many people won’t even pay attention to someone holding a sign or giving directions unless they have an official uniform on.

In all scenarios, you want potential and actual customers to constantly have their eyes on your brand name/logo while conversing with employees. This helps cement your brand image in their mind when they have an experience dealing with your staff in-store or out in public.

Warehouse workers wearing uniform

But it’s not just about branding. The uniforms and service you choose should also reflect your company values. Martin further explained with an example, “Suppose going green is one of your core company values. You want to incorporate this when it comes to your uniforms. One of the reasons I enjoy being a part of the Prudential Overall Supply family is because of the company’s commitment toward environmental health, thanks to our company-wide initiative, the Clean Green Sustainability Movement. We push ourselves, our employees, and our clients toward a safer, greener way of doing business.”

In summation, there are a number of benefits to be gained from a solid uniform program:

  • Boost in value perception from customer standpoint
  • Boost in brand recognition as people are always facing your brand name while dealing with staff
  • Boost in customers’ trust in employee training and professionalism
  • Boost in employee morale levels as uniforms can make them feel more important, valued, and part of a team
  • Boost in teamwork since uniforms instill a sense of family among employees

When should you avoid forcing uniforms on employees?

There are situations where a uniform might not be necessary – for example, corporate salespeople who’re often expected to wear a suit and tie. Or if your employees never meet customers face-to-face (office workers, call center employees, dispatch, etc.)

Always keep in mind that a company uniform is never inappropriate for any business.

Applemob

photo credit: Sheila Dee / Flickr

In short, uniforms are an important part of the branding and marketing aspects of your business. They make the entire operation look more polished and professional, while also instilling a sense of togetherness and teamwork among your employees.

Are you ready to make the switch?

This article is sponsored by Prudential Overall Supply, an industry leader in reusable image work and related textiles.

The opinions voiced in this article are my own.

About author

Ivan Widjaya
Ivan Widjaya 2650 posts

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of Noobpreneur.com, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.

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