I manage a large retail operation and have a delicate problem. One of my customer service employees who has worked here for just over two years dresses like a hooker. I think she is trying to look younger than her real age, but her efforts come off as trashy and sleazy. How can I advise her to dress more professionally without insulting her?
What’s the fun in that? Here is a Top Ten instead:
Evil Skippy’s Top Ten Ways To Tell An Employee He Or She Looks Trashy And Sleazy
- “I never knew they could do that with Spandex.”
- “It’s customary to fasten at least a few of those buttons.”
- “I think your skinny jeans shrunk.”
- “I see you have two quarters and a dime in your pocket. Could I borrow fifty cents?”
- “The wardrobe consultants for Jersey Shore called. They want the clothes back.”
- “All things considered, you probably shouldn’t reveal all of Victoria’s secrets here at the office.”
- “When the dress code says to dress professionally, we weren’t talking about THAT profession.”
- “Who did your make-up? Trowels-R-Us?”
- “There’s a reason people keep asking you where they can get a great deal on a used car.”
- “I’m not saying you look cheap. You’d need to classy it up a bit more to improve to that level.”
— Evil Skippy
You’re a supervisor, so you must know the answer. You need to coach your employee in a respectful and courteous manner. Talk about the clothes and not the person. Whether it is a fashion-impaired woman or man, tell your employee what the specific problem is (blouse is cut too low, too many gold chains, pants are too tight, etc.). Since the employee has worked for you for just over two years, this conversation is past due if her attire is really as inappropriate as you say. If that’s the case, slap yourself for not doing your job in a more timely manner and then address the issue in a professional, non-judgmental way.
Do not use any forms of the words “trashy”, “sleazy”, “used car salesman”, “hooker” or anything similar when you talk to your employee. Be gentle but clear. That may have gone without saying, but why take chances?