Dress codes are enjoying a bit of a resurgence after decades of people believing they were unnecessarily restrictive or repressed individuality. Recently we’ve seen public school embrace dress codes again, saying that one less thing for kids to think about makes learning an easier experience.
Auto shop owners may feel torn about implementing a dress code among their employees, worried perhaps that it might limit their employee pool or anger the people they already have working for them. But there are good reasons for setting a clear dress policy for a workplace.
There is no universal consensus about what is considered appropriate work attire in an auto shop, but some people have stricter standards about what employees should look like. This applies to geographic location (for example, East Coast vs. the Midwest), community (wealthy vs. working class), and age group. In fact, there seem to be some pretty clear differences of opinion about things like tattoos, piercings, hair dyes and cuts, beards, sideburns, or goatees that break down by age group. Older generations of people grew up in a time when tattoos were not the norm and people dressed more alike. Many of them are uncomfortable with or intimidated by people with controversial personal style.
So while there is no reason an auto shop in rural Ohio has to satisfy the standards of a retirement community in Florida, it is important to decide how your workers’ appearance affects the atmosphere of your shop and its sales performance. Some auto shop owners set different dress codes based on the position an employee holds in the shop. For example, a sales associate or person working the counter in the waiting area may be required to have shorter hair, trimmed facial hair, and be limited to certain kinds of jewelry. They may also have to cover up their tattoos while repair technicians working in the back may have more freedom.
It’s crucial for you as the auto shop owner to decide what is appropriate attire for the clientele you have and are trying to attract. You may choose to involve your staff in deciding or negotiating particulars, but they may be concerned more about comfort or individuality. Your focus has to be on the business’s overall profitability.
Last time we discussed how to generate more walk-in traffic to your auto shop, and the general appearance of the building – how cared for and welcoming it seems – was important. Remember, your employees are a part of your shop. They are the part people will interact with the most, and if they are not clean and well cared for with a welcoming appearance, it doesn’t really matter how stylish your waiting room is because your customers will choose to go elsewhere.