An employee dress code policy allows your company to set standards for how employees present themselves in the workplace. It includes appropriate clothing, how it can be worn, exceptions, and personal hygiene expectations.
What Is an Employee Dress Code Policy?
A workplace dress code policy communicates how employees should dress at work. It includes specific guidelines for suitable appearance and work attire. For example, you might want to have your company’s casual or business clothing preference. Include details that guide employees, such as the importance of wearing clean, ironed clothing. Nearly all dress codes also include expectations for bodily hygiene to keep office interactions positive.
Why Is an Employee Dress Code Policy Important?
A business dress code policy is essential for these and other reasons:
- Provides clear, consistent guidelines
- Impresses customers and clients with a cohesive, professional image
- Promotes inclusiveness and equity, with a common standard for everyone
- Enhances safety in cases where protective gear or specific clothing is required
- Projects a corporate culture that positively impacts how employees look and feel
What Should Be Included in a Dress Code Policy?
Your office dress code policy will depend on your culture, industry, and other factors. Here are essential sections and information you can include in your business dress code policy:
- A brief introduction explaining the need and rationale for a dress code
- Details on who the policy applies to (you may need different dress codes in the warehouse, in the back office, for the sales team, etc.)
- General guidelines regarding hygiene, jewelry, tattoos, and accessories
- The expected professionalism and neatness (business casual, casual, company uniform, if applicable, etc.)
- Exceptions that allow for flexibility or diversity (Are piercings okay? Can tattoos show in the office but not at customer meetings?)
How to Implement an Employee Dress Code Policy
You’ll also need to fine-tune your communication policy, updating it when required. How will you enforce the dress code? Include these details in your documented employee dress code policy and keep it online where employees can easily find it.
1. Communicating the Policy
Communicate the employee dress code policy clearly and effectively to all employees. Start by creating a written policy that discusses the purpose, scope, guidelines, and expectations. Then, distribute it to existing and new employees via email, intranet, or hard copy.
During your staff meetings, discuss the policy and its rationale. Be sure to provide examples of appropriate and inappropriate attire for different situations or roles. Additionally, you should create a feedback process that allows employees to express questions and concerns about the dress code.
2. Enforcing the Policy
Regarding enforcement, ensure it’s fair, consistent, and appropriate to each level of the organization. How can you do this? Assign a person or steering committee to monitor compliance. Remember that it’s essential to send out reminders via posters and newsletters. This allows your employees to keep up with the latest changes and provide feedback.
Come up with a way to recognize employees following the guidelines and discuss how you’ll provide guidance to ensure adherence. Employees will also want to know how the company deals with dress code violations. This may include sending employees home to change and disciplinary actions for repeated offenses.
3. Updating the Policy
The workplace dress code policy is a living document. As such, it will reflect your company’s and industry’s changing needs. You can survey employees and customers about the current dress code. It also helps to ask your legal and HR teams to chime in with recommendations to improve the policy.
You can keep everyone on the same page by continually researching, adapting, and communicating changes. That includes providing the appropriate training that allows employees to comply with company expectations.
How to Write an Employee Dress Code Policy
There are four basic steps to writing your business dress code policy. However, you’ll need to revise and revisit it often.
Step 1 – Write the Introduction
This may include the purpose and scope of the policy. Explain that the guidelines are designed to define appropriate attire and appearance for work. If you have more than one dress code based on different roles and environments, clearly state who the dress code applies to.
Step 2 – Define the Dress Code
Conduct surveys, focus groups, and meetings to determine the dress code acceptable in the workplace. For example, will you have casual Fridays, differences that apply to men and women, or unique expectations for attire when interacting with clients?
Step 3 – Include a Section on Enforcement
Describe the consequences of breaking the dress code. This might include coaching, warnings, and disciplinary action. How will you handle repeated violations?
Step 4 – Invite Questions and Feedback
Ask employees to reach out to HR with questions or feedback about the employee dress code policy. By incorporating many voices, you can continuously improve the procedure.
Employee Dress Code Policy Example
An example of an employee dress code policy can be seen here:
Employee Dress Code Policy Sample
Below you can download an employee dress code policy template in PDF or Word format: