I'm a practice manager at a hospital where several team members, including a doctor, come to work looking like they just rolled
out of bed. When I hired all of these people I went over the dress code, which includes professional attire, clean scrubs,
doctors in white coats, and neat hair. I want our practice to present a well-put-together, professional appearance. Our clients
are judging us from the minute they walk in the front door. I've addressed workplace attire at staff meetings and in the employee
handbook, but it doesn't seem to stick. What's the next step?
—Dressed for Success
Employee appearance and personal expression are touchy subjects to manage, but the real issue here has to do with accountability
and trust more than professionalism. The practical response to your dilemma is the three-strike rule. Speak to the fashion
felons about their insubordinate behavior, and give them 30 days to get it right.
If it happens again in 30 days, give them a second warning and another 30 days to comply. If it happens again before the 30-day
period ends, go to step three—termination. This issue was covered by your employee handbook for a reason: The dress code is
meant to be followed and is supposed to save you time by addressing simple rules so you don't have to on a daily basis. Hold
your team accountable to these rules.
What are they saying to you with their resistance? Typically, this type of blatant disregard of the rules is an expression
of a lack of trust in leadership. If they don't share your practice's values about professionalism and are insubordinate at
every turn, termination may be your best bet for your hospital to run smoothly.