The Changing World of Dress Codes


With the national unemployment rate under four percent, convenience store managers are searching for creative ways to address the labor crisis. To meet your staffing goals, you will likely need to attract candidates from a larger pool, such as those of varying experience levels and schedule requirements. Many employers, both inside and outside the convenience store industry, are also changing their dress codes in order to have access to more potential employees.

Open Up the Labor Market

Dress codes and appearance standards go far beyond the clothes you require employees to wear. Changing your dress code rules may also include relaxing standards on body art, including tattoos, piercings, and non-traditional hair color. According to a recent survey, more than a quarter of the population has a tattoo. This percentage goes even higher – up to 40% — among millennials.

Ditch the Stereotypes

As the percentage of people who get tattoos and piercings goes up, old stereotypes are less accurate than ever. Tattoos and piercings are most often a form of self-expression that has little or nothing to do with a person’s character or potential value as an employee.

Review Your Standards

As an employer, you do have a right to set standards about tattoos and piercings and it’s entirely up to you to decide what is acceptable for your store. Factors to consider include the overall image of your brand and the expectations of the customers you serve. Some employers who lean toward a more conservative dress code can still benefit from hiring people with body art by putting some limitations on it, such as requiring that facial piercings be removed during work hours or tattoos be covered.

Enforce Your Standards

Whatever policy you decide on related to tattoos, piercings, and body art, be clear and consistent. Explain your dress codes when interviewing potential employees. Make sure existing employees know what the rules are, too. Then, stick to the standards you create. You can’t let one person slide for an infraction and then turn around and enforce it strictly with someone else.

Adjusting your appearance standards may not just open up your recruiting strategy, it may also be a morale booster to existing staff members who will feel accepted when given more freedom to express themselves.​

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