Insights

Two cents: the employee wears Prada

HR gave me a written notice about my attire for being too casual. There’s nothing in their policy that talks about what clothes to wear at work. Why should I listen to them?

Oh, Dior! Someone call the Fashion Police. You could be the person to win the Most Fashionable Employee of the Year award, if there was ever one, however, your sense of what’s fashionable is not the point. It’s not about HR or your manager’s personal taste either. The real issue here is the absence of a brand guide that explains the personality, values, spirit and tone of the business. While many global brands are more comfortable not providing a uniform for reasons such as cost cutting and not killing the employee’s individual sense of style and identity, they have this subject covered through clear guidelines. The idea is not to restrict the employees by telling them what to wear, but to inform them about what not to wear.

Look at banks, for example. Most bankers wear formal outfits because they see that it’s crucial to reflect confidence so customers feel that their deposits and investments are in good hands. Yet, not all employees are in the same departments or levels. Tellers are never responsible for the investments of high net worth clients; so why can’t they dress more casual or less formal? The answer is, “There’s no one fixed answer” – How would you feel if the Starbucks Baristas took your order in a suit? It will most likely backfire on the brand. If a company chooses not to address this matter, they leave it to each employee’s own standard of what’s acceptable to wear at work. In that case, blame no one but their big bosses for not taking the right measures…and that’s just my two cents.