I work in telecommunications, it is a small office of 50 people. I am in charge of the NOC (network operations center) which currently consists of 6 employees on rotating shifts (12 on 12 off). We are changing how we operate and are focusing in on service and as such have started a new initative based around Service Assurance. This initative is very visible inside the orgaization. I want to to do everything I can to get my folks that work in SA (Service Assurance (no longer the NOC)) to become a great team. I have started doing one on ones and wiull soon roll out DISC and the rest of the trinity as lined out in the DISC roll out model and the management trinity model. I feel that I am well on my way with the Manager Tools tools.

So that is some background. With the new SA initative I would like for my folks to stand out from the croud in some physical way. I realize that this might be a bad idea as today the company only enforces a business casual dress code. Company shirts are not provided (although they have been in the past). As part of this new initative I am wokring to put forth a more professional approach to our work (our work style could be considered very casual, not clothing, but how we get work done). I would like to have a physical reminder each and every day that we are not who we were, but we are then new SA team.

My question is this: Knowing that the company does not provide shirts or other appareal, is it a bad idea to set my team apart by getting them shirts with a logo that reflects the new initative. Do I run a real risk of alienating my team from the rest of the company by stting them apart, even if the company decideds to foot the bill?

I am looking to re-enforce the initative, but not at the cost of alienating ourselves from the rest of the company. I feel as though I understand well enough that the new initative isnt going to be successful because we are wearing shirts with a logo, but I feel as though it could be one piece of the re-enforment puzzle.

Any guidance or past experience on this form anyone?

G3's picture

Go for it. You might want to consider keeping the time where you the shirts during the 'launch' period of the initiative. Then have folks go back to their regular work uniforms (if they have that). Also, you might get more responses on the forum and in business in general if you practice B.L.U.F. This stands for Bottom Line Up Front. Lead with your question, then provide the details. Good luck! (Who says you can't have a little fun and bond with your team at work?)

Kevin1's picture

I think your hunches that special shirts just for your team may have an alienating affect for your team. Also, such apparel is not usually universally accepted and could be seen as 'naff' by some of your folks. If any one of them refuses to wear them, the effect is lost or you need to use your role power to enforce it.

If the new initiative is a drive towards higher professionalism, does a shirt say that? Would a quality pen and a professional notebook be more aligned to the initiative? Such items have wider acceptance my experience. Of course, i don't know your team at all so take these thoughts as just thoughts.

Kind regards

svibanez's picture

I think it's better to find something besides shirts to set your team apart, as Kevin suggested. My company used to issue all new employees a few shirts with logos. Everyone got the same shirts, except field service. Our field service technicians were issued a different color polo shirt than the rest of the company (grey, which I always assumed was to help hide any minor dirt they accumulated doing their job). I have been hearing for years that "field service thinks they're special so they get a different color shirt." People try to make it sound like a joke when they say it, but it's clear that they feel alienated because our department had a different color of shirts. I say "had" because the grey shirt practice ended several years ago but some folks just can't let go. Your team may not even hear the rumblings, but some others in the organization are bound to feel left out if you buy shirts for your team that are not part of the "uniform." I think it's best to not go down that road.

mrreliable's picture

My vote is use the shirts if your company is on board (by paying for them). Your company will know they'll have to allow shirts for other divisions if they grant your request, so it's their ultimate decision. Heck, if other teams feel inferior, that says something about your initiative. Don't be afraid to excel because you're worried other people will be envious.

We have lots of discussions in our office, andecdotes, about quality of service issues. We encourage people to relay their experiences with all types of service providers, both good and bad. These days it seems like there are two types of service - Surprisingly Outstanding and Absolutely Terrrible.

For example, I obtained a new credit card that allowed me to personalize it with a photo of my choosing. I applied for a card for my wife, who wanted a photo of her puppies instead of what I had. I couldn't find information online about how to add her picture. I called the customer service number and spoke with Logan, who was very cordial but said he needed to transfer me to the person who could help. A few seconds after I was put on hold I found the answer online and hung up. Another few seconds later the phone rang and it was Logan apologizing for my call being disconnected. I told him I found my answer and hung up. I was very impressed this large company put a policy in place that if a phone person puts a caller on hold, they're responsible for making sure the caller reaches their intended destination. Surprisingly Oustanding service.

On the other hand, also with a large bank, I got a car loan. They did not send a bill for the first payment. I went online and needed an account number to set it up. I called, and after giving a bunch of personal details to verify my identity, was told they couldn't give me my account number over the phone, but they'd send out a bill. I asked if they could take bank account information, and they said they could not. It was close to the payment due date and I didn't want to be late. They said I had a ten-day grace period and would send me a bill, which arrived a week later. In the meantime, I got a call from their collections department informing me my payment was late. That person got the long explanation. Absolutely Terrible service.

Don't try to be middle-of-the-road. Don't dumb down your standards. Be Surprisingly Outstanding.

SuzanneB's picture

I like the idea of something to physically reinforce the new initiative.
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of company shirts. As a woman, I find that most shirts that are produced for groups tend to be cut for men and don't fit well/aren't flattering on females. So I don't wear them. I will when forced to (launch day, perhaps) but after that it collects dust in my closet until it finds its way to the donation bin.

What I do use daily... pens, notebooks, laptop (maybe some kind of a sticker for them), mouse pads.