Human resources and work #uniforms

At first glance, it may seem counter-intuitive that an organisation’s human resources (HR) department would have a role in overseeing the purchase of staff uniforms and associated business wear. However, HR will be the department that is responsible for distributing and issuing the staff uniforms. Obviously, the larger the organisation, the more complex this task is likely to be, purely because of the number of employees and different sections of the business involved. HR will also be responsible for organising the return of any defective or wrongly sized items of staff clothing. Furthermore, within the delimitations of company policy, HR will be responsible for communicating any obligations on the part of employees to keep their business uniforms presentable. It is likely that such requirements will form part of the terms and conditions of employment. They will, therefore, need to be precisely worded, especially if the staff clothing policy is to form part of the employer’s legal health and safety obligations. In addition, it is the HR administrators who will be responsible for stock taking and recording the inventory of clothing. In extreme cases, it will be the responsibility of HR to take action against employees when staff uniforms are damaged, lost or stolen. On top of all of this, HR will be responsible for communicating feedback from employees to employers.
Employee Sensibilities
Depending on the size and type of the business involved different departments must have their needs considered. In essence, the business uniform on a shop floor is not going to be appropriate for the administration office. In addition, it is likely that the company itself may not have had any kind of officially sanctioned policy on appropriate workwear for employees. In such circumstances there would need to be communication by the employer via its HR department, to the employees, explaining why staff uniforms are going to be required. Conversely, the business could be a restaurant where as an industry it has been accepted for decades that official uniforms are the norm. The same is not true if a company has front desk and back office staff. The possibility of tension is very real if one team is allowed to wear their clothes while another team is required to attire themselves in what they will see as an unfair and prescriptive corporate uniform. In the real world, such a divisive strategy would never be implemented by any employer that wishes to maintain a professional and productive workplace.
Paying For a Corporate Uniform
From the employee’s perspective, paying (or not), for corporate uniforms is inevitably going to be a crucial issue. In fact, it must be considered from the outset. Moreover, payment for corporate clothing must be viewed through a sphere of ownership and what that means in a legal framework. Simplistically, on the one hand, staff will more than likely look after items of business wear if they own them. However, staff are likely to feel demoralised if they have to pay for a new uniform if it becomes lost, damaged or discoloured.
Overall the successful implementation of any business wide dress code is impossible without an effective, holistic and functioning HR department.