Surprise! You are suddenly responsible for managing your organization’s uniform program! Until now, your exposure to the world of uniforms may be limited to the dress code policy included in your New Hire Handbook, but don’t panic. Launching a new program or revitalizing an existing one doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Today, we are sharing a simple guide to help you design a uniform program.
1. START BY CHOOSING THE FEATURES AND SERVICES YOU NEED
Before you do anything, take a moment to think about what you want your uniform program to do.
Why does your organization want the program – to streamline the purchasing process? Enhance your brand image? Increase caregiver recognition?
Do you want one person to be responsible for placing orders and handling day-to-day administration tasks?
Or, do you want this system to take the process out of your hands with employees placing orders and choosing where the order will be delivered?
Once you zero in on what you want to get out of the program, make a list of “must-have” and “nice-to-have” features and services. At this stage, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- What are my logo and personalization needs?
- Do we need a web-based uniform portal?
- How will we order and what payment methods will we offer?
- Will we need an online tool for program administration?
If you take the time to identify your must-haves early in the process, you are more likely to be pleased with the resulting program.
2. DECIDE ON YOUR APPROVED BRANDS, STYLES AND COLORS
In our 30 plus years in the uniform business, we have yet to find two identical programs. Your business is unique to you, so flexibility to design the right program for your team and specific corporate branding mission is a key part of the process. The most successful programs provide specific guidelines outlining approved uniform styles and colors. Some organizations choose one color for all employees, some select a specific color for each department, some don’t dictate a color or style, but rather the way uniforms are ordered. There is no right answer, so use these tips to help move through this stage:
- Find a vendor with a large selection of styles in standard colors.
- Consider including long-sleeve tops and jackets.
- Decide if color coordinating teams make sense for your business.
- Have samples in the full range of sizes when collecting initial orders
3. READY TO PLACE ORDERS AND TAKE DELIVERY
Now that your employees know what to wear, you will need to tell them how they can buy their new uniforms. Work with your vendor to set up a system that makes sense and is easy to manage. You will need to decide how orders will be placed and how items will be delivered. Don’t be afraid to ask for uniform services you need to cut down the time you spend placing orders and distributing uniforms. In many cases, there are routine services for the uniform vendor that are included for no (or very little) extra cost.
Where can we buy uniforms?
Custom web portal; retail store; telephone; traveling (onsite) store
How are orders placed?
Employees select items and order; department level bulk orders
How do we receive our uniforms?
Delivered to employees home; bulk delivery to business; orders bundled and labeled by employee and delivered to business (pack-by-employee)
Breaking down the complex process into smaller, more manageable steps is a great place to start. Know what you want to get out of the program, and start evaluating corporate solutions providers using your list of must-haves. Your uniform program will begin take shape in no time at all!
Do you have any tips for implementing a uniform program? Help a colleague by sharing a pro tip or lesson learned in the comments!
UA Corporate Solutions Team