Bob enjoyed his vacation so much that he hated to come back to work. Today he showed up still dressed for the beach. Cindy, the HR manager, was aghast and choked on a mouthful of coffee when she caught a glimpse of Bob passing in the hallway.
Bob is the star salesman for the company and an all-around good guy. He’s an extrovert who tells good jokes. He has a way of talking to people that makes each individual feel valued. But he’s also a bit of a rebel and he’ll stretch the rules because he knows he’s privileged due to his sales ability. Cindy likes Bob and she usually cuts him some slack when he bends the rules.
Now she’s having heart palpitations, not in a good way, because she just saw Bob walking down the hall looking like an episode of Magnum, PI. He’s wearing a very loud Hawaiian shirt, flip flops, and very short shorts.
Cindy spent two years convincing the socially conservative company president that relaxing the dress code during the summer months would be good for morale. The president only recently accepted the notion that women’s work attire can include pants suits or slacks, a concept most companies adopted in the 1970’s. To convince him to loosen the rules, she had to create detailed lists of clothing that is appropriate as business casual.
Cindy suspects the president will have an apoplectic fit if he sees Bob’s current wardrobe choice. Cindy drops her coffee mug and chases Bob down the hall to invite him into her office for a quiet chat.
What are Cindy’s options?
- She can ask Bob where he bought his clothes so that she can upgrade her husband’s wardrobe for their August vacation.
- She can send Bob home with instructions to change his clothes. Of course, there is no guarantee Bob will follow her instructions or return later today.
- She can review the business casual definition with Bob and ask why he is not complying with it. She can always hope that he has an acceptable excuse for ignoring the rules.
At this time of year, many companies struggle with the definition of “business casual”. Striking the balance between comfort and professionalism will vary by company but should reflect the company’s image or brand.
If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.
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