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When the attire is much too casual

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

Casual Fridays are so 2012. Now, it’s casual Everydays. Some companies have a strict dress code. Most don’t. If yours is the latter and doesn’t have much of a written dress code, you still need to address those whose attire crosses the careless and inappropriate line. You’ll know it when you see it.

Here’s how to handle it:

Commit to confidentiality. Any potentially embarrassing discussion with a team member needs to be private. Also keep private identities of anyone who complains about the employee’s appearance.

Tie the issue to performance. Don’t tell employees that they do good work but their appearance needs improvement. Maintaining a professional appearance is part of the “work” you expect.

Cite examples and their potential impact. You don’t have to wait until someone is put off by a team member’s appearance to address the issue. But you should be able to cite specific ways in which specific misdemeanors can affect the team and its work.

Share your expectations. If your organization has guidelines for what constitutes “appropriate” attire and grooming, refer to these. Otherwise, give the team member guidance on how to meet your expectations.

Set reasonable standards for improvement. Some team members may not be prepared or able to completely change their appearance overnight. In that case, communicate your desire for gradual but steady improvement.

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