Uniforms Make Us Look and Think Better

February 11, 2016

A few months ago, we explored what social scientists call “The Halo Effect”—a connection between how employees look and how they’re perceived by customers. In short, if you look like you know what you’re doing, customers will assume the same.

But there’s another side to this phenomenon we haven’t addressed: what effect, if any, do uniforms have on the people that actually wear them? Are uniformed employees measurably happier, more confident, or better at their jobs? A recent study from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University confirms what we at Australian Uniform have known for years: uniforms influence the way we think and act.

In the study, participants completed a series of tests measuring the processing speed of their brains. Researchers found that when participants wore a white doctor’s coat, they scored 100% higher than their peers (that is to say, they made half as many errors as participants in normal clothes). Because we associate doctors with poise, knowledge, and critical thinking, participants adopted these traits simply by wearing the jacket. If we dress like a doctor, we’ll think and act like a doctor.

Another similar study from Youngstown State University observed large public schools in Ohio over a period of several years. Schools with uniform policies increased graduation rates by 11%, increased attendance rates by 3.5%, and decreased expulsion rates by about 1%. Because the students were dressed like good students, they started to think and behave like good students.

Now, it is unclear from this study whether these results translate to uniforms in other industries—whether, for example, wearing one of Jason Day’s signature TaylorMade hats would help shave a few strokes off your golf game. But these studies and others like them further demonstrate the importance of a well-dressed, uniformed staff. People will generally perform up to or down to their expectations, and uniforms tend to reflect a company standard. True, it’s important how customers see the man behind the uniform, but it’s equally important how the man behind the uniform sees himself.

Do you want your employees to feel their best? Dress them like the talented, valuable people they are. Call for a quote or contact us online today!