Dress code policies are an age-old topic within the business world. Should you continue to require your employees to wear suits or buy into the casual jeans-and-t-shirt look all the Millennials are craving? This really all depends on who you are as an organization and what your culture is. For some organizations, it seems as if you have to choose between buttoned-up or laid-back but those aren’t the only options.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What is your company culture? Does your dress code truly reflect who the organization is as a brand?
- Who are your clients?
- How will your employees handle a new dress code, whether it’s more formal or more relaxed?
If your answers are leading you to lean towards a more casual dress code policy, here’s what you should know:
Relaxed Dress Codes Are On the Rise
The 2017-2018 ERC Policies & Benefits Survey Report notes that “relaxed dress codes are on the rise. Organizations most commonly report having four days designated as ‘business casual’ and one day as ‘casual’ dress.” OfficeTeam, a Robert Half Company, also notes that “50% of managers say employees dress less formal than they did five years ago.”
There are a number of reasons relaxed dress codes are on the rise. An enlightening article from Inc.com, notes that the competitive job marketing, rise of remote work, increased visibility and awareness, impression change, and surge of Millennials, are all reasons that organizations are adapting more casual dress code policies.
In essence, organizations have changed along with society over time and so should dress codes. If “58% of employees say they would prefer to work at a company that has a business casual, casual, or no dress code,” it is in an organization’s best interest to make the adjustments in order to stay competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. We now live in a society that has blurred lines between our professional and personal lives so it’s of no surprise that workplace policies reflect that.
Keep it Simple
If you are thinking about implementing a more relaxed dress code but are weary of the execution just remember to keep it simple. You should be able to trust that your employees understand what is appropriate and inappropriate for the workplace or certain workplace situations.
Start by communicating the expectations and parameters of how to dress and then let the leadership team set by example. Let everyone know what the company’s definition of proper attire is. And, if it suits your business, have the expectation that if an employee has an important meeting with a client or vendor, they are to dress more business formal, but if there are no external-facing meetings that day, jeans are okay.
Whether you should have a more formal or more casual company dress code policy is completely unique to your organization’s needs. However, keep in mind that the workplace climate is changing and more organizations are using more relaxed dress codes as a means to recruit talent that is seeking a more relaxed culture. Most importantly, stay true to who you are as an organization.
Compare your policies and benefits to other companies.
Access ERC’s Policies & Benefits Survey to benchmark your company.