Gone are the days when there were staff “line ups” where employees were given a quick once over to make sure that they looked like we expected them to, before they stepped out onto the floor to face our guests, and represent our Brand.
From personal hygiene and cleanliness to whether or not their uniform was properly cleaned, pressed, and in good condition.
Granted, those scenes might have been a bit extreme, but what it did do was drive home the importance of how employees looked, relative to their connected representation of the Hotel in which they worked.
What I come across more often now, is not so much employees who don’t recognize the (negative) statement that their torn, tattered, faded or frayed uniforms are making, but rather Managers who see that their employees’ uniforms look unacceptable, but tell me that they can’t afford new uniforms.
I can’t pretend that I don’t know how expensive uniforms can be, especially of course, depending on just how many employees you need to uniform. It is a significant expense for any business, no argument.
However, what’s often missing in the first place, is a uniform plan, with respect to the issuing, cleaning, maintaining and on-going replacement of uniforms.
As a result, uniforms are often dealt with rather haphazardly and then everyone seems surprised when one day they realize that every uniform needs to be replaced and they are overwhelmed by the potential total cost of such an undertaking.
You need to find a solution to this problem, for two particularly compelling reasons:
1) Whether you think so or not, your guests are noticing the state of your employees’ uniforms and it is making them call into question whether or not your Brand stands for the level of quality that you have stated, or, whether those are just words on paper.
Whether you like it or not, the two are connected, or at least they are to your guests.
2) Your employees are embarrassed to be in these uniforms, and as a result, I can promise you that they are not putting their best effort into their job every day, not because they are embarrassed, but because this issue is distracting them from doing their job.
I am a firm believer that as General Managers, one of our most important responsibilities is to provide our employees with the tools and resources to do their job, period.
When employees can work without distractions they are far more productive and engaged, and their level of guest service reflects this as well.
Lastly, don’t you just feel good when you know that you look good?
Sure you do.
And when you feel like you look good, don’t you stand just a little bit taller, a little bit prouder and more self assured, and isn’t that reflected in your body language, the smile on your face, and on and on.