Three mistakes you’re making with your uniform program

If you’re dissatisfied with your property’s uniform program, here are three reasons why.

  1. You’re trying to do it yourself. As head of marketing, the general manager or department manager, you’ve been assigned the task of ordering new uniforms. This is not a one task project. You’ve now been asked to provide creative direction, styling, and ordering new uniforms. Your role is not one of stylist, creative director, or project manager, so likely this task has been put on the bottom of your list of things to do. And this makes sense – it’s not your zone of expertise therefore it’s not your highest priority item. The other issue is because you’re not experienced in styling or design, when you sit down to complete the task, you’ll order from a uniform catalog. There will be no tie-in to the ethos of the property, resort, interior design, setting etc. The uniforms will not tie into the branding or visual identity of your property. You’ll be checking a box off the to-do list. And wonder why the uniforms don’t work the way you want them to.
  2. Asking for help but in the wrong order. If you’re in the situation described above, you may reach out for help. You have a contract with a uniform supplier or vendor. And you reach out to them for custom designs, styling guidance etc. And yes, they can provide that to an extent. But their job is to deliver uniforms and knowledge about those uniforms. And without providing precise conceptual examples, creative direction, and styling requests, they can only do so much. Without these things they are essentially asked to develop a custom uniform concept in a vacuum. Or if you’re not even engaging with them on a custom concept, they’re going to take what instructions you give them and select from the catalog of options for you. This will check the box of ordering new uniforms and that’s about it. This will have little tie-in to the overall ethos of your property, sense of space, and visual identity. And if you allow your department heads to do this independently of each other, the uniforms will not be congruent with one another creating a visual and aesthetic disconnect.
  3. Saying one thing and doing another. Your teams matter! Your people are important! You’re the ideal workplace! And yet, you do little to invest in them. Your uniform and service teams are the backbone of your property and yet they’re not receiving the attention they deserve. It’s time to actually invest in a uniform program not just occasional updates of the uniform clothing items. A program encompasses the goals of the property and the teams, taking their input into account, and understanding their unique roles and job demands. Then it involves the creative direction and inspiration to develop a uniform standard. This may include specific colors, silhouettes, branding elements, logos, etc. And finally the uniforms are ordered and custom designs are requested. All of these steps add up to an investment in your team. And when you do that, the uniform program comes together in a way that supports your brand, visual identity, objectives for your business and more. Your teams morale increases, they take ownership in their work and they’re more enthusiastic because they feel good in what they’re wearing.

Is it time to take stock of your uniform/service teams’ program? When was the last time you invested in them or overhauled the program? What makes your team unique to your property? Do your guests see that when they experience your property?

If the answers indicate it’s time for a change, consider a stylist to work with you and your property to develop an actual style program and dress code/style guidance for your uniform teams.

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