Launching a new uniform range can bring on apprehension within an organisation. With HR generally leading this process there are several key factors to consider to ensure an efficient and effective launch, gain staff approval and engagement. We hear horror stories from clients who have tried to launch a new uniform in the past, how complicated and long the process was and how difficult it was to please everybody.
In fact, so many key stakeholders in a business hear the word ‘uniform’ and run for the hills, not wanting to be involved in the perceived stress of these projects. And yes, whilst introducing a new company uniform can be tricky, if done correctly, it can be an efficient and effective way to get all key stakeholders engaged and on the same page with the company future and brand messaging.
As a HR Manager your interest in a new uniform range could be the result of an impending brand refresh or the current range identified as being out dated and not reflecting company values. It could also be due to staff feedback on the current styles and fabrics not suiting the range of shapes and sizes of the employees.
Whatever the reason maybe, the uniform range selected needs to promote strong team culture, attitude and positively reflect the company brand. A great uniform should reflect the changing market, exude confidence, have a contemporary feel and inspire employees. Like any element of brand and marketing, a uniform design and implementation needs to be well thought out and planned.
Over the last 13 years I have worked with a wide range of clients, those with as little as 10 employees through to larger organisations of 100,000. Regardless of industry, size of client or brief, the uniform process is the same. I have seen what works, what doesn’t and have had a range of experiences when it comes to design and implementation. Over this time, I have been able to identify key areas of consideration when preparing for a new uniform launch that should ensure you a clear and smooth process.
Key Tips to ensure an efficient and effective new uniform launch:
- Need Identification: Have a thorough understanding of the who, why, when and where. Understanding your company requirements, who is wearing the uniform, why, when it is required and within what budget. The clearer the brief, the more fit for purpose the product and service. Ensure your team not only stand out but are happy with the new designs.
- Colour, Fabric and Fit: Talk to the experts. Ask for suggestions on the latest fabrics and fits that have been tried and tested in your industry. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel, uniforms need to be fit for purpose and practical so if it works for others it will work for your team. We put a lot of emphasis on colour when designing a uniform to ensure the colours chosen are flattering to all skin tones and body shapes, consistent with branding and stand out in the environment they are being worn in. The colour scheme with uniforms, like interiors, can make or break the overall design and take a range from great to terrible very quickly.
- Range Planning– Tell the whole story from top to toe. If you spend time creating a look you must consider all factors. Will staff need a winter wear option? What trousers are they expected to wear? Is there a requirement for a cap or beanie? There is no point creating a fabulous on brand shirt or polo only to have it covered up by an employee’s personal jumper which is off brand and does not communicate your brand story
- The Devil is in the Detail – Ensure there is a company uniform policy outlining dress standards. Should the shirt be worn tucked in our out? What type and colour shoes are acceptable? What is the jewellery policy? Unfortunately, common sense isn’t always common and when taking the time to create your team image through uniform it is even more important to follow that through with the detail of how it should or shouldn’t be worn.
A uniform can speak a thousand words and when repeated effectively by each employee, the message to the public is very powerful. If done correctly, a uniform will ensure your team look, feel and act the part and will ensure clients are confident, comfortable and proud to be associated with your brand. What does your uniform look like right now?