Outfitting employees with uniforms projects professionalism and consistency for your customers
By Michelle Garetson
It’s been said that "You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression." Walking into your facility today, what sort of "first impression" would be given? Does your company have and/or enforce a dress code? Do employees wear uniforms or do they look like they’ve fished their shirt and trousers out of the laundry hamper? While many businesses offer the same products, it’s often the customer’s visual perception of how professional or experienced a company is that will make them bring their aircraft to your facility or to the one across the field. Consistency of dress through a uniform approach can help to promote professionalism inside, as well as outside, the hangar.
Branding the company
Used correctly, uniforms are a relatively inexpensive, but effective marketing tool to enhance a company’s image and create brand awareness for customers. If your company does not enforce a dress code or have a uniform program, the company’s image and brand could be compromised for future business.
Distinct colors and logos differentiate your company from the myriad of others offering like products and services. Think of it in terms of sports teams — everyone who follows a team knows that team by its colors and emblem. As with any branded product, a familiar "package" strengthens credibility and promotes brand loyalty. Companies, big and small, want and need customer loyalty to ensure repeat business. Uniforms can be a viable strategy for small businesses to compete right alongside the large franchises.
The word "uniform" conjures up different definitions for different people. Some interpretations may include:
• Uniforms are drab and ugly.
• Uniforms do not offer individuality.
• Uniforms stereotype social status.
Arguing the first point — yes, there are some fairly dull colors and styles out there, but that’s where the team approach to this enters into the decision. Get the entire staff involved and ask what they need from both a functional standpoint as well as what fashion statement they wish to make. It may come down to a vote, but employees will appreciate the opportunity to offer input and will be more likely to accept a uniform if they are part of the decision making process.
As for the individuality concern, while it is true that everyone would be dressed the same, the employee’s individuality comes through loud and clear in their craftsmanship. Besides, the money they save from not having to buy work clothes can be used to further enhance their off-duty clothing inventory or can be spent on other personal pursuits.
Stereotypical uniforms such as those worn by fast-food workers, delivery service personnel, or even flight crews at first may suggest social status, but a closer look reveals that these outfits provide us with consistency of a brand. We all have certain expectations of those who provide a product or service. We expect a consistent food product, intact package, or successful flight from those wearing the uniform. We would be hesitant to receive a hamburger, a package, or board a plane if those folks were dressed in blue jeans and a T-shirt.
Uniforms also offer a protective element for the company and employees, alike.
Aircraft technicians get dirty and greasy over the course of the day and they also work with hazardous chemicals. A health safety issue comes into play if technicians are responsible for the laundering of their work clothes. Hazardous chemicals from work clothes can damage other household items in the wash if not properly separated and/or laundered. Also, the company image could become discolored and faded with inconsistencies in the quality of laundering as there are, no doubt, several levels of laundry and ironing expertise represented in the group.
Fashion, function and flying came together Monday when Delta Air Lines' front-line personnel donned their new uniforms.
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