Aly Salz, CEO of Righteous, has been facilitating uniform programs since the late 1980s. Before that, she was a member of the restaurant industry workforce. This experience has given her ample insight into challenges that face the current uniforming climate. Here are some of her insider knowledge for overcoming setbacks and getting a better performing uniform program for 2022!
Challenge: High employee turnover
Is your hiring a revolving door of people whose tenure is shorter than the shelf life of a donut? Here are a few tips that can help ease the pain.
- If your standard uniform kit costs more than a few Hamiltons, you are better off issuing new hire T-shirts for the first 90 days. It differentiates the trainee, typically costs less, and may help to remind co-workers to extend some grace while the newbie learns the ropes.
- Once they have passed probation, reward them with a full uniform kit. Make it a worthwhile step up with some sweet swag included. Hand out a nice bag; fill it with their shirt, cap, apron, and a nice water bottle or tech gadget. A little fanfare goes a long way to encourage longevity and commitment.
- Keep the rewards coming. As your employees complete training modules or milestones, let them accrue points that are spendable for branded gear, gift cards, or other popular items. Gamifying the workday, training, and certification can lead to longer tenures and greater satisfaction in the job. If training a new person costs X, then calculate a fraction of that for rewards that are acknowledged publicly.
Challenge: Boring uniforms that need a facelift
When was the last time you got complimented on your great looking employee uniforms? If that is more goal than reality, here are a few simple ideas to get you closer to the mark.
- Tee up some LTO gear that adds spice to your apparel lineup. If black is your day to day go-to, add a pop or two of color, play off some bold graphics that look more pop-art than billboard, and ask yourself if you would wear that shirt. If you say unequivocally “yes” then you are on the right path.
- While a complete uniform overhaul may not be in this year’s budget, a one-piece wonder may do the trick. For example, aprons can do some heavy lifting when it comes to changing up a uniform look. Even bespoke aprons can be super affordable, and since they are one size actually does fit all, you don’t need multiple sizes to outfit everyone on your team in a refreshed look.
- Accessories also punch above their weight class. Offer a few key pieces that allow for some personality, diversity, and choice to shine through. Ball caps are standard fare but can still be elevated with retail-looking logo decoration. Then, add in a bandanna, buff, or headband. They provide additional real estate for branding, but don’t just repeat your logo. Say something new and fresh with each piece.
Challenge: Supply Chain Headaches, the pandemic hangover that doesn’t go away.
- Simplify. Now is not the time to be picky or overly particular. Reality rules the day. It’s OK to take step back and think about what is most important. It might look like all black gear for a monochromatic look at the minute.
- Choose consistent styles, even if garments are made by multiple factories. A basic trucker cap that is readily available is a better option than the specific one that will take 6 months to receive. Same goes for T-shirts, polos, and aprons. If they are close enough and look consistent when worn side by side, it’s a win.
- Use locally available decoration as the differentiator. Even if the garment is not your first choice, you can still rock a bespoke look with a fantastic print, embroidery, laser etching, applique, or another of over 50 domestically available decoration applications. Your logo and branding messaging don’t need to be bland. Even a basic T-shirt can look remarkably retail with the right design and deco.
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