Mandatory Uniforms In Manufacturing

(This came to me from Kobie Wagener fellow HR pro - Steve)

We are thinking about making uniforms mandatory for our manufacturing plants. The core problem we are trying to solve is that we are considering implementing a policy of requiring our manufacturing employees to wear uniforms.

The potential barriers we face include:

  • Managing cost - given attrition in manufacturing
  • Managing expectations for contingent workers
  • How to manage the maintenance of uniforms (who is responsible for keeping them clean?)

I'm sure there are other items to consider as well. I'd like to hear from other manufacturers who have a uniform program that's working for them. Thanks in advance for any insights you have.

Kobie

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    • Heather Britton
    • Sr. HR Director
    • Heather_Britton
    • 6 mths ago
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    I've worked in 2 manufacturing facilities. The one, no uniforms were required. The other, we provided uniforms and paid for them.

    Employees owned them so they took them home and washed, etc. We would provide them for temp workers as well. It wasn't a strict policy however- if someone wore a different shirt it wasn't an issue. The main thing to be concerned with is safety items- steel toe boots, goggles, hats, gloves, etc. 

    We would replace them every 6 months or so. It is a cost you have to plan for. 

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  • Worked in manufacturing before. Each employee had 12 or 14 shirts provided by the company. They would drop the shirt off at the end of every shift and just grab a clean one at the start of their shift. 

    The vendor would show up once a week to take the dirties and drop off cleaned ones. Every employee had a few extras on site in case a shirt ripped, got torn, etc. Employees could take the shirts home to launder themselves but no one did because it was hard on the washing machines. 

    If the shirt did get damaged they would tag it and put it with the dirties to be swapped out. 


    They supplied their own pants and steel-toe boots, but I think we gave them an annual stipend or something to replace boots. 

     

    When an employee left they were responsible for returning all shirts or they would be charged. 

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