Feedback, or back off - Should staff help you choose a new uniform?
You've decided that it's time for a revamp, and your business needs new uniforms that will set your brand apart from its competitors. You already have an idea in mind of what you'd like to see. Should you go with your gut, or do your staff need to have input?
When a brand new uniform is on the cards for a business, it can be either an exciting time for both you and your staff, or a daunting one. On one hand, you don't want to compromise your vision for your brand and how it's presented to your customers, but on the other hand, you know it's important that your staff feel comfortable and are on board with the change.
Here's how to strike the perfect and delicate balance of staff input to achieve the best quality uniform for your team, that everyone is happy with.
Consider your non-negotiables
Uniforms always have a function and a purpose. Before you consider making your uniform design process an open-forum, it's useful to firstly figure out its core functions, and what that means in terms of non-negotiables.
Outline what the core elements of your uniform will be in terms of functionality. Take into consideration what your team will be doing while on the job. If they're in the outdoors, a weatherproof material could be key, whereas if they're working in store, a lightweight and breathable material might be more appropriate.
It's also important to ensure that your uniform meets any health and safety requirements relevant to your industry. For example, if you operate a business within the trades industry, you may need high visibility vests that comply with the latest AU and NZ safety standards.
As well as ensuring that your uniform fundamentals work for functionality, it's also important to have an idea of a design that suits all shapes and sizes. Staff have different requirements in terms of what clothing fits comfortably, and as staff members are constantly changing, make sure that the uniform you have in mind will work for a wide range of body types.
Often, companies use a uniform to promote their business by getting their brand out in the market. If this is something you'd like to achieve with your uniform, it's a good idea to figure out exactly how to execute it. Perhaps you feel it's important to have your logo on the back, even a catchy slogan or colour - whatever your preference, this will serve as a basis for design.
Sometimes when a uniform change is proposed, especially in workplaces where the precedent is no uniform at all, it's natural for your staff to question the transition. For this reason, it's important to have answers ready for them. Before bringing a big change to the table, consider the purpose of the uniform. It could be to create solidarity within the team, to ensure your staff present well to your customers, or increase your brand's profile - no matter the reason, your staff will likely want to hear it.
Bring your ideas to your staff
Now that you've outlined exactly what you want from your uniform, it's time to share your ideas with your staff and ask their opinion. At the end of the day, it's your staff that will be wearing the uniform day-in and day-out, and they probably have some really valuable insights to offer.
Ask your staff:
- Is this design going to make work easier and more convenient?
- Will this fabric be comfortable to wear?
- Does this design give you a free range of movement?
- Is it appropriate for the temperature or environment you work in?
- What features would they like incorporated into the uniform?
Your staff will have the most appropriate responses to these questions, and will value having input into something they'll be looking to wear every day. Make sure to take their answers on board and adjust as you need, without compromising the initial non-negotiables you outlined earlier.
The end result should be a uniform that effectively serves its purpose, promotes your brand, and takes into consideration the things your employees have told you matter in their day-to-day roles.
Partnering with the right uniform supplier
You've got a firm idea in mind of what kind of uniform you want, and you've taken on board your employees feedback - the final step is to partner with a uniform supplier who can delivery your ideal uniform.
When choosing a uniform supplier, we suggest considering their ability to:
- Be up-to-date with the latest global trends
- Be happy to customise your graphics for your uniform
- Guarantee the use of quality materials
- Provide samples to help you pick the most appropriate garments
- Go the extra mile to help you if you want something different from their initial range on offer
In short, there really is only one formula for great outcome when it comes to uniforms:
Fundamentals + Employee Input + Partnership = the perfect uniform for your team.
To find out how we can help, book in a no obligation consultation with our friendly team.