Employees working in the corporate world are often bound by particularly strict dress codes – but is there really any reason for such strenuous restrictions?
Financial giant Sun Life
seems to think not – the organization recently abandoned its former dress code in favour of a more flexible approach known as ‘Dress For Your Day.’
CHRO Carrie Blair says the new policy places more trust on employees and allows them to wear whatever is suitable for a specific day. It means a team member could be wearing jeans one day but a tailored suit the next.
“Employees can wear jeans to work if that’s what makes them comfortable but if they’re in front of a client pitching a multi-million dollar account, we’d expect them to meet their client’s expectations which could mean wearing a business suit,” she told HRM.
Originally, Sun Life
had planned to pilot the initiative with a small group but the idea proved so popular that the firm decided to roll the program out to everyone at once.
“We had multiple leaders saying they wanted to announce it so everyone ended up putting their own message out around Dress For Your Day and leaders had a ton of fun with it,” says Blair. “They included different photos and used their own words and it’s already been a big hit for us.”
While the initiative was always expected to go down well with employees, Blair says other employers shouldn’t underestimate how much a little flexibility can impact the bottom line.
“I’ve spent 25 years of my life in financial services and banking and insurance and I’ve always found the more flexibility you give people and the opportunities you give them, the more it pays back,” she told HRM. “It pays back to your clients, it pays back to your team and it pays back to the organization overall so I’m certainly a big proponent of doing that.”
It’s also worth noting that a more flexible dress code could seriously improve staff happiness without costing a penny to implement.