A corporate uniforms program can have a significant impact on your business
Employee uniform benefits extend far and wide. Before a customer touches your product or uses your service, they see a uniform and an employee, and they use this impression to form an opinion of your brand. Uniforms are the ultimate representation of your company image, creating brand awareness and helping customers easily identify employees1. Additionally, a corporate uniforms program can help employees feel that they belong to a team. Their uniform fosters a sense of unity and accountability to the company. An employee with purpose contributes to positive customer interactions. 87% of employees who are happy at work are dedicated to delivering great service for customers2.
Though the quality of service most certainly impacts these interactions, the uniform still plays a critical role. The uniform its colors, design, quality, and cleanliness – contributes to creating a welcoming environment3. When a customer enters a store or facility, they’re looking for comfort and familiarity. Your brand’s uniform signals that your employees are trusted advisors. Right away, before a word has been spoken, they have a visual indicator that they’ll receive the help they need. This positive environment is key to providing an overall excellent service experience.
Service matters now more than ever. 77% of happy customers share their experiences with others4, and this word of mouth support can cut through the noise of the attention economy. Even if a company has a strong social media presence and fantastic advertising, it’s service that’s the differentiator. And that service starts with the uniform.
The impact of a corporate uniforms program
A 2013 online survey conducted by Harris Interactive® found that, among 2,051 U.S. adults, 65% of respondents agreed that just the sight of a uniformed employee had a positive impact on how they perceived the company5.
When probed deeper, these respondents said that uniforms had the following impacts on their perception:
- They had an overall improved image of the company.
- They felt that the company was a safer place to conduct their business, compared to workplaces without employees in uniforms.
- The uniforms showed that the company cared about and invested in its employees.
- They were more likely to do business with the company based on the uniforms.
The research was astounding. These perceptions were formed before the respondents had an interaction with a single employee, indicating just how important brand image is. But the uniform benefits don’t stop there. The uniform also boosts the employee’s performance. Thus, when the customer does connect with an employee, the experience is bound to be a great one.
A 2011 study, published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research6, found that uniforms increased employees’ job satisfaction, and customers who interacted with these employees found that their performance was stronger.
This reaction to employees’ appearances speaks to human nature. Personal appearance and style of dress significantly impact our first impressions of the people we encounter in our daily lives. A 2009 joint study conducted by Sonoma State University and the University of Texas at Austin found that participants were able to correctly gauge personality traits like self-esteem and extraversion by simply viewing a photo7. These participants had no other information about the people in the photographs – only their gut feeling and preconceived notions.
The importance of first impressions was further demonstrated by a 2017 Psychology Today report8. The report focused on facial features, but the findings could easily be applied to other visual cues like uniforms. Researchers found that one of the four features that people used to form impressions was familiarity. The brain automatically searches for correlations between what you’re seeing and the personality characteristics you associate with similar images. With a person, an individual might see a soft, round face and automatically assume the person before them is nice. These same internal processing mechanisms could lead a person to see a uniform and assume the employee is knowledgeable. These types of first impressions could have a significant impact in a professional setting, affecting future opportunities for your brand9.
Launching a corporate uniforms program
It’s clear the benefits of a corporate uniforms program could be substantial for your company. But before you move forward, it’s important to understand the regulations governing uniforms in the workplace10:
- The Fair Labor Standards Act Uniform Law allows you to mandate uniforms in your workplace. The law also suggests that you should subsidize the costs, but you aren’t required to unless the uniform is necessary to comply with federal work safety requirements.
- If the uniform includes personal protective equipment, OSHA requires employers to pay for this gear.
- Minimum wage and overtime laws essentially state that as long as employees earn above minimum wage, along with certain other caveats, employees can cover the cost of uniforms. Some state laws may vary, so it’s important to look into local regulations as well. However, the majority of companies choose to pay or subsidize the cost of uniforms as they recognize the benefit to their brand and the competition to secure qualified candidates as employees.
It’s suggested that companies take a deeper look into uniform legalities before adding them to the workplace.
However, one thing is clear – a corporate uniforms program is a powerful, science-backed way to positively impact your brand image. With the right uniforms, your employees truly are Your Brand’s Billboard with a Smile™. The IQ Apparel Group provides design, manufacturing, and direct fulfillment to individual locations and serves Clients in the TOP 5 CVS and the Top 10 QSR segments.
To learn more about available uniform options and start the process for your company, Contact IQ Apparel Group today.