… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

I want to burn all flip flops in effigy to poorly managed dress code policies

That’s it. I’m done. I’m soooo done. The last nerve has been fried and the camels back is officially broken. If you want me I’ll be in a corner pounding my head against the wall.

I know I’ve joked about it in the past, but, 1. Is it that hard to tell someone their outfit is inappropriate for work? and, 2. Why is it so hard to dress appropriately for work? Yes, you are responsible for your associates and yes, you are the one who needs to talk to them about it. Yes, you do need to wear a bra and no, sweat pants are never acceptable. And the flip flops. Oh, how I have come to hate flip flops.

In the end, it’s not even about the dress code policy. It’s a question of workplace expectations, taking ownership of your responsibilities, and having respect for your co-workers and environment. It’s called acting like an adult. It’s called earning your pay as a manager/supervisor.

In 6 months, the company is changing to a smoke free campus. You may look forward to some interesting posts on that as it develops.

15 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 MsPinkSlip :

    Flip flops that make that suction noise/flap everytime someone walks around. Grates on my nerves. These are the same people who complain they aren’t taken seriously and/or promoted.

    I hate to turn on my own kind but women are the worst at knowing what is appropriate at work.

  • 2 Mary Lorenz :

    Yes, it’s a shame that people don’t know better than to wear flip flops, shorts, etc. to work. It seems that the majority of professionals are able to differentiate between what is appropriate, professional attire and what isn’t; however, for those who inexplicably don’t get it, it is up to management to clearly define a company’s dress code and make sure they implement it; otherwise, they’re setting themselves up for a potentially embarrssing situation.

  • 3 HR Minion :

    Ms Pink Slip – I hate to agree, but yeah, women are the worse offenders in my experience.

    Mary – It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to dress appropriately, but I have come to learn that I set my expectations too high at times.

  • 4 Ask a Manager :

    I so agree. I am particularly irked when I have to point out to a manager that they’re in violation; if they can’t follow the dress code themselves, they’re not going to be able to enforce it with their employees. Very aggravating.

  • 5 perrik :

    We’re a hospital with a strict dress code. It’s not so strictly enforced in areas away from patient care, which is a bit daft because those employees will still be seen by patients, visitors, vendors, etc. Spandex and glitter are not work-appropriate attire, people! This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around.

    We’re also getting a corporate-wide smoking ban later this year. Should be loads of fun.

  • 6 HR Minion :

    Ask a manager – it is worse when the manager is the one setting the bad example. Such a pain.

    Perrik – No one should wear spandex. 🙂 Please let me know how your smoking ban goes as well.

  • 7 Robert S. :

    Oh please, you act like it’s the end of the world. The fact of the matter is Gen X and Gen Y workers are not going to fit into the molds that the other generations have set up. We are not going to spend every waking minute working for someone else and leave our comfort, family and other parts of our lives to rot. And why should we? Companies care about a buck — not about the employees.

    I work with a lot of younger people and flip flops and shorts are the norm. And no one bats an eye. Why? Because we don’t meet with the public and we are focused on getting the job done.

    I typically wear flip flops, cargo shorts and a t-shirt to work. Hasn’t affected my work one bit. But it has made me more comfortable so I feel like sitting at a desk for 8 hours straight!

    Times are changing. The “clock watching” and “dress like you are going to a funeral” rules won’t stick in the modern workplace. We realize what our talent is worth and aren’t going to hold out for “promises” of future benefits that we know good and well will never come.

    If I was a manager I’d look at it this way. Do I really care that some dude in IT is wearing flip flops or do I care that our product is the best it can be? Gee, there is a hard decision!

  • 8 HR Minion :

    Oh my, Robert did I touch a nerve? Or smack it based on your comment? Look, I really don’t care if associates who have no public contact dress nice for work or not. If the company is flexible in that regard then great for them, obviously it’s something associates like you appreciate.

    That being said, at the company I work for we have frequent contact with clients, customers, and corporate. We NEED to look professional.

    Either way, my real beef is with supervisors not enforcing said policy and associates not adhering to it. My frustration derives not from the policy itself, but the idiocy of having to step in and do anything about it at all. HR is not the fashion police.

  • 9 Robert S. :

    Here is my view of it — and not saying either one of us is wrong or right, just we both have opinions.

    Let’s say I go to my bank — Bank of America in this case. I feel very uncomfortable talking to someone who is dressed in a suit when its 110 degrees outside. Now let’s say a new Bank, “Enjoy Yourself Bank!” opened down the street and the tellers wore DECENT, but comfortable clothes — let’s say the guys could wear shorts and flip flops and the women could wear comfortable, but not revealing, clothes of their choice.

    Myself and a lot of others I know would FLOCK to that bank! FINALLY! Someone I feel comfortable talking to. We don’t feel intimidated the moment we walk in the door.

    I recently wanted to buy a sports car. I went to the Ford dealer and the same thing — some stuffy salesman who didn’t understand a thing I was talking about.

    I went to a locally owned used car lot down the road. Guy opened it about a year ago and it’s grown quite a bit. The sales “dude” who talked with me was wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and (drumroll, please) a pair of very nice leather flip flops. He understood me and what I was looking for PERFECTLY. We connected! Guess what? He made a sale!

    What I see more and more (as of recent) is generational gaps. I’m not being mean or trying to say anything bad about anyone, but I and many of my friends find that a lot of “old” companies don’t understand us and how to market to us.

    Now, to agree with you on your point, yes, if the company says “you must wear X” then I would expect the management to enforce those rules. We could get into an entirely different discussion about “inflexible workplaces” but I’ll save that for another time 🙂

    Some real-world examples:

    Sears – stody, formal, scary shopping experience. Was my parent’s shopping place — NOT MINE!

    American Eagle – Trendy, hip, “cool”. I’ll shop there in a heartbeat. Sales people (of all ages) understand what I need and want.

    Wal-Mart – Take it or leave it. Our way or no way. I’ll leave it, thanks.

    Target – Look at what we have! Come inside and have some fun! Target has a “cool” factor to it.

    Sorry to be so long-winded. Just one of my “hobbies” is studying consumer behavior — especially in our changing modern times!

  • 10 HR Minion :

    Robert – I can definately understand the desire to do business with companies that suit your tastes and values. I wish more companies could be/were more flexible. I say that if it is that important to you then there are plenty of great companies out there who share your philosophy, Google being a great example.

    Ironically, you mention Target as having a cool attitude. They do protray that image but were you aware of their rather strict dress code policy at their corporate locations? Unless you are wearing khakis and a red shirt, it’s business formal attire (ties & suits for men).

  • 11 Kelly O :

    I know I’m late to this party, but we had this very conversation the other day in my office. We are “business casual” all the time, but it’s readily apparent that there are a LOT of different definitions of that floating around.

    There is someone in our buildings (we work at the corporate office of a bank) who wears lucite heels. I’m sorry but there is NO place that lucite heels are appropriate unless your work involves a stage name and Def Leppard.

    It’s not about being uncomfortable, it’s about the image you want to present to others. Yes, I could do my job just as well in jeans and flip-flops. But if I need to run out to visit a client or site, I look more put together in dress pants, heels, my sweater set and some good jewelry. (And by good I don’t mean expensive, I just mean I get LOTS of mileage out of long strands of beads/pearls/whatever.)

    This may be a female difference, I don’t know. It’s certainly not generational because I’m only 30 – and I’m certainly not a stodgy person either. But I care about the image I present to others. I want to appear to have my proverbial stuff together. I have an apprecation for others who take the time to pull something together that doesn’t look like you just rolled out of bed.

    I left that behind while I was still in college, thanks.

  • 12 HR Minion :

    Kelly – There’s no time limits on comments, no worries!

    Lucite heels is a new one, I haven’t seen that yet. That’s kind of creepy.

  • 13 class factotum :

    Robert — so if you, for whatever horrible reason, need to defend yourself in court against, say, capital murder charges, which lawyer are you going to hire? You get to choose between two and all you know about them is how they are dressed. (Yes, I know that’s unrealistic but this is my game.) One is in shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops and the other is in an “intimidating” suit.

    Yeah. I thought so.

    PS Of course employers care about making money. If they don’t make money, they don’t stay in business. If they don’t stay in business, YOU don’t have a job. Capisce?

  • 14 HR Minion :

    Class factotum – How nice are the lawyers flip flops? 🙂

  • 15 Danni :

    My own two cents: When I'm dressed comfortably I do better work, I'm more efficient and not having to worry about being uncomfortable.

    HRMinion & Robert: I'm starting to think that this is more of a culture/profession gap than of a generational gap. Take a look at any good coder and you are almost certainly going to find them coding in jeans and a t-shirt.

    Class factotem: I'm not sure what you are trying to get at with your post. If I don't know anything about the choice besides their clothes, I wouldn't choose either (not choosing is always 1 of the choices).

    Judging people on what clothes they wear will get you in trouble. Any monkey can put on a suit, but if you want quality, you have to look at their work.

    Quick side story: During this last round of elections, one of the candidates for State representative was going door to door. It was hot and horrible out and he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt rather than a stuffy, sweaty suit. I found that to be a refreshing change from the typical pandering politician, plus it gave me some insight into his actual character. He cared about the issues and and just wanted to get out to talk to the people about them. Got my vote 🙂 (btw: I talked to him for awhile so I'm not basing the above on just his appearance).
    Just my 2 cents (btw: love the blog!)