The power of choice applies to just about every area of life – whether it’s choosing what to eat for dinner, what to watch on TV, or what car to buy. It also applies to arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing that employees wear to stay safe on the job.
Companies often mistakenly believe that a single AR / FR shirt and pant combination – with no variation in fabric, weight, style, and color – is the quickest and most inexpensive way to meet safety requirements. However, this type of “no-choice” program can lead to a variety of issues, especially when workers are unhappy or uncomfortable with required clothing. That dissatisfaction can even snowball into diminished morale and decreased compliance with safety standards.
In the May 2023 edition of Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, Barbara Fitzgeorge, Tyndale’s Vice President of Marketing, explains five key benefits of offering employees an AF / FR clothing program rich in choice:
What are the Biggest Benefits of a Choice Program?
We often hear from employers who migrate from a no-choice uniform program to a managed AR / FR program, which provides real variety in its protective apparel offering. Time and time again, we’re told of a choice program’s positive impact on compliance, comfort, access to innovation, and worker morale. But the biggest surprise is that a choice program also reduces costs. Barbara explains how companies can harness the power of choice to achieve each of these benefits.
- Improved Compliance: Compliance often suffers when workers have no say in the clothing they wear on the job. Clothing tastes are personal, and it can feel alarming to have a personal decision taken away. As a result, potential safety gaps are introduced if workers resent wearing their protective clothing or don’t want to wear them properly. On the other hand, when workers have a real choice in the protective apparel they wear every day, from a selection of well-designed items, they take pride in it. They are much more likely to wear and take care of their clothes properly. This, in turn, drives increased safety compliance.
- Enhanced Comfort: Comfort is highly subjective. What is comfortable for one person isn’t comfortable for all. Therefore, a single-garment solution won’t be comfortable for everyone. To increase their comfort level, workers may leave extra buttons unbuttoned, roll up their sleeves, or take other actions that can impact compliance and their personal safety. Conversely, when workers have access to a reasonable array of comfortable protective clothing, their satisfaction, safety, and compliance significantly increase.
- Access to Innovation: Often, no-choice programs are locked into 3-5 year contracts. The entire contract term may consist of the same stiff, boxy, and hot industrial-style AR/FR garments. Innovations in garment style, comfort, and protection are inaccessible in such a program. However, workers enrolled in a choice program have real-time access to more comfortable and stylish clothing, which increases satisfaction, compliance, and safety.
- Increased Employee Morale: Workers stuck in no-choice clothing programs tend to blame the company for their discomfort and dissatisfaction. By contrast, choice programs deliver a creative, cost-effective pathway to improved morale. Employees are empowered to purchase preferred items from a company-approved catalog – one that features a wide variety of garments that meet company safety and image requirements. The result: increased productivity, satisfaction, and a positive attitude toward the company.
- Reduced Costs: Barbara outlines several positive impacts on a company’s budget when switching from a no-choice program to a choice program:
- Product costs decrease. Choice program providers often manufacture their own price-competitive clothing and can negotiate pricing due to solid relationships with leading manufacturers. This ensures your company receives a wide variety of innovative products at the best prices.
- Administrative costs diminish. Managed choice programs are known for their strong customer focus, working directly with end-users to answer questions and address issues. Companies using such programs significantly reduce the number of hours they would usually spend managing a no-choice program’s details.
- Garments are replaced less frequently. Employees take better care of their clothing due to a sense of pride and ownership over their chosen garments. Another bonus: compliance increases because employees are more likely to wear their comfortable AR / FR clothing properly, minimizing the possibility of costly citations.
Read the entire article to get the whole story.
Are you seeking a managed protective apparel program that maximizes employee satisfaction and compliance? Today, a wide variety of comfortable and stylish AR / FR apparel options are on the market. Work with a qualified service provider to ensure your employees are comfortable, compliant, and safe on the job.
Want to learn more about the power of choice? Tyndale’s five-part Power of Choice blog series takes a deeper dive into the key benefits of expanding product choice at the worker level. When workers choose the clothing they prefer for maximum comfort and style, compliance and satisfaction soar!