Are banks trading out suits for chinos and polo shirts?



If you say "women like...." or "Caucasians are ...." you're guilty of mindless stereotyping, if not an actual offence.  Why assume that millennials all think the same way, do the same things? Was everybody in your class at school exactly the same as you?  If they went to public (private) schools, they're used to a uniform, they might feel more uncomfortable in "casual" clothes than their parents who never wore uniform would be.  If you have a dress code, it's got to be interpreted. So what is smart casual, does it include chinos, what about ripped chinos (you have ripped jeans), what about shorts (cut down chinos), what about dresses, are they "too smart", do you have to wear a skirt and blouse - and are denim skirts banned or is that only for jeans? How about shoes, how casual is smart casual - OK, no flip flops or bare feet, but what about open toed shoes and dirty toenails? How "smart" do sneakers have to be, or are there no sneakers? And how much shine do you have to put on shoes, or are grubby (but not actually dripping mud) shoes "smart"?

Apart from how your staff react, how do your customers react. Given that, in finance at least, most of the clients are going to be the ones with money, they'll also mostly be older. How well do they react to an "adviser" that's young enough to be their child or grandchild anyway, let alone if this young child (relatively) turns up in chinos and a polo shirt and the client's concept of "work casual" is when you leave off the waistcoat and have a colourful tie? Or do you have different codes for customer facing staff - in which case how do you deal with the cliques that form over that?

It's worth thinking about what your trying to do with a dress code. Don't rush in to appeal to the millennials, your attempt to "get down with the youth" might come over like corporate dad dancing. Ask employees what they regard as reasonable bearing in mind that the whole point of the company is to serve the client/customer. And ask the customer what they expect - they're who pays everybody's salary at the end of the day.  Given the choice between wearing a uniform they don't really like in order to do a job they love, and wearing what they like and not having a job at all, I think millennials are going to make the same choice as the rest of us.

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