When I think about the title of this article, I’m immediately taken back to when my mum used to check my tie and make sure my shoes were tied up properly before I went to school, and there is no doubt I was asked if I’d washed my hands and cleaned my teeth, and all of this was in the name of ‘presentation’.
When I was a kid, I probably didn’t take much notice, nor care for that matter. The importance of this everyday ritual was definitely lost on me and judging by the look of most of my school mates, I wasn’t alone.
Aside from schools, the Police and our armed forces, I mostly remember our postman, the man from British Gas, and airline staff wearing matching attire. As a teenager, I even remember opening a Griffin Savers bank account at the then Midland bank (or HSBC, as we now know them), and seeing all their staff wearing uniforms.
It was only when I started work life did the whole ‘presentation’ concept really click. I realise now, what was actually happening was UNIFORMITY.
Now, I will state that I’m all for individualism and being one’s self, but you simply cannot ignore the power of togetherness and the sense of belonging when a team of people are well-presented. Being well-presented in business says many things; for one, it shows you (as an individual), as someone who obviously cares, which means you probably care what people think. But it also shows that the company you work for cares. It says that they clearly invest in you and obviously value how you represent their business. You see, being well-presented is making a statement. It says we’re ready, we’re prepared, we’re professional and we’re part of something. Mostly, it says “this is our intent as a business, and this is our promise to our customers”.
Now let’s reverse that thinking when we consider a business or company that isn’t well-presented. The ‘we don’t really care’ attitude sends a desperately negative message. It says, we might not be ready, we might be reliable, but you’ll have to wait and find out. If you think about it, it’s actually a lazy business ethos. But most of all, it says we’re not unified.
Let’s be right about this, wearing nice branded attire and having a branded vehicle doesn’t mean you are a perfectly run business. There’s a deep psychology behind the behaviour of people wearing business attire because they have to, versus wearing it because they want to. In many ways, this is the entire point of this article. Being well-presented and standing shoulder to shoulder with our work colleagues is actually about culture and owned values. If you ask most business owners, I would like to think that most would say being well-presented promotes a sense of pride, but alas, this isn’t all businesses.
You see, when it’s done well, it says, we’re proud and upstanding. If you roll back 50 years or so, this was usually the norm. For example, shopkeepers wore long brown jackets, and the local butchers wore their branded aprons, but outside of those businesses that we traditionally think of being well presented, what do we have?
So, let’s take our industry as the example. Being in construction, it’s difficult to think of a dirtier or messier working environment, especially when working on-site. Of course, health & safety always comes first, so high viz vests and hard hats take precedent in the ‘must wear’ stakes. But at a recent photoshoot I attended on a building site with a number of other contractors on-site, it was here I observed the good, the bad and the ugly. The lack of consistency was shocking, but certainly not surprising. It’s one thing not having the same branded workwear, but it’s something else when clothing is ill-fitting and ripped. Of course, this is the short end of the wedge, and before you know it, the entire workforce becomes shabby and apathetic.
Here at Poppet, being well-presented is a state of mind. We may not be the biggest construction company out there, but portraying our unified front is actually our super-power. Paul Goadby, Poppet’s founder and MD is a great believer in ‘brand advocacy’, and this has a very powerful effect on our marketing, our perception, and ultimately our reputation.
Now, when we talk about being well-presented, we’re not just talking about workwear. We must remember, our clients are constantly judging us as businesses. How we look is one thing, but it’s as much about how we behave and how we sound that reflects how we are perceived. Answering the phone unprofessionally is a real bugbear of mine, as are tatty business cards, and a messy vehicle (inside and out), speaks volumes. You see, it’s these apparently subtle differences that have a huge impact on our attitude, and our clients see this a mile off.
Of course, in the real world, ‘keeping up appearances’ each and every day is a constant challenge, but we’ve found that when you’re a business that does this properly from the outset, it’s much easier to uphold the same standards.
So, my question to you all is simple, ask yourself if your workforce is ‘ALL PRESENT & CORRECT’…. If the answer is yes, carry on… if you’re answer is no, just remember, all eyes are on you!