Don’t sweat what your employees wear to work. you have better things to worry about

The class of 2022 is graduating. According to ThinkImpact, only 2 million graduate degrees will be awarded this year. This year’s group is entering the job market of immense opportunities with some 11.4 million job openings and according to employers NACE Job Outlook 2022 Spring Update survey, reporting that they plan to hire about a third of new college graduates from the class of 2022, compared to those they hired a year earlier. And while these statistics may suggest that there is nothing less than a seller’s market that awaits these young adults, employers are still somewhere willing to draw the line that may surprise you – dress. code. These more conservative employers are routinely moving away from candidates who don’t pass muster, creating an opportunity for any employers willing to take a more modern and practical approach to the issue in a way that more traditional employers can take a hand. exempted from.

What people wear to work is one of the most debated and most controversial business topics year after year. And it’s an issue that will keep good people from hiring. according to 7th Annual “Class of” Report of ICIMS, attendance was cited as the top reason given for not considering entry-level candidates – even beyond not having enough experience. This is supported by a recent single vote The study, commissioned for Green King, found that 51% of all managers and owners surveyed admitted to intentionally discriminating against a candidate based on appearance alone. Adding to the disconnect, unlike older generations, young people are increasingly opposed to more stringent attendance requirements.

The same ICIMS report found that 37% of college seniors and recent graduates say it doesn’t matter what they wear to work. Similarly, a recent survey Y pulse, Gen Y and Z all affairs experts asked young workers what perks they would enjoy more of their work if added to the workplace. 58% of Gen Z and 57% of Millennials asked for a more casual dress code – placing a significantly higher emphasis on this advantage than work from home (WFH)/remote work. But it’s helpful to understand their very unique frame of reference before jumping to the conclusion that this is a mindless class regardless of individual standards of any kind.

This is an undergraduate class that has spent half of its college and all of its internship experience in distance learning and telecommuting. The wardrobe he has is almost entirely limited to lounge wear, with a handful of upper-body business coordinates perfect for the occasional Zoom call. Many managed to make it through four to six years of school without ever stepping into an office. He learned, by doing so, that almost any outfit could be worked on almost anywhere. They are entering the workforce with almost no experience for the office environment. It’s not something they’re comfortable with. And perhaps most importantly, most are not financially equipped to acquire suitable business/business casual wardrobe on demand/short notice. In addition, his idea of ​​what constitutes business dress has evolved; Partly because of their COVID-19 experience and partly because they have different and changing tastes. YPulse’s Fashion and Style Research predicted that a biz-leisure style would emerge from the pandemic. It appears that they were right. So, taking all these factors into account, it’s no surprise that the starting positions of these new graduates feel like a universal antithesis to historical dress codes. However, all they are saying is, I think, “see the world with my eyes,” “work with me here” and “how to help a little.” Small and medium enterprises that explore this have a great opportunity to capture the attention of these potential employees.

According to Shyla Thurlow, VP of People and Talent AcquisitionSaraswati“While this may seem minor to some organizations, the dress code can be the deciding factor for a candidate who values ​​personal expression and comfort over other perceived perks and benefits.” In large part, the reason more progressive dress code policies are attractive to this class is because they are a reflection that those in charge understand what matters to them. It is also a signal to these employees that they believe the world has changed.

Just because presence matters to you as a leader or because you believe it creates a competitive advantage, doesn’t mean either of those things are actually true anymore. I think that Lia Garvinnew book author, unstuck, It said very well, “The pandemic has forced us to rethink many paradigms around the way we do things, and for employers used to a strict dress code, it’s worth looking at it again and It is time to question what and to whom it is serving.” I also spoke to Alan Jones, CEO bambi, a first, performance improvement and compliance platform. He offered his perspective on the dress code, as it did to attract the Class of 2022, “We don’t have a dress code in Bambi. The dress code should be self-governing, not governed by the employer. Those who would otherwise They are said to be living in another time.” The point he is making is that it is the act that matters most, not the presence of the human being doing it; Or, if you prefer: it’s the book, not the cover. And that is why they are not finding it difficult to hire talented youth.

For most of these graduates, this is not an attempt to undermine standards, but also to ensure that their employers are treated consistently, equitably, and have policies in place without inherent bias or discrimination. I spoke to Kia Roberts, former NFL Investigation Director, and founder of triangle probe Joe puts it this way, “Whether it includes work-from-home policies, flexible hours, or dress codes, the graduating class of 2022 hopes that their employers have a consistent and equitable philosophy around workplace expectations.” A forward-looking organization that is committed to equity must advance age-old ideas about ‘professional’ and ‘appropriate’ attire within the workplace.” These graduates are by no means suggesting any standard. In addition they are also stating that they want to work for employers with reasonable standards and policies that do not benefit one group over another. They also want to be trusted, not dominated. And they want policies that make sense and have logical purposes. He saw his parents spend his career following the rules while following the rules and he is determined not to follow in those footsteps. Employers with fair, uniform dress-code policies that rely on associates to do the right thing by the company and its brand will attract terrific associates who will do exactly that.

Certainly, there still exist cases where a certain standard of dress is required and where the dress matters to the customer. Smart Employers intends to attract the best talent from the Class of ’22 considering the fact that these young people do not have a wardrobe with ready to wear clothing and accessories appropriate for work, and what they can offer. There are a wardrobe allowance as part of the sign-on process. I Spoke to Cody Candy, Founder and CEO of bounce, a platform that powers luggage storage and package acceptance at local stores and hotels in more than 1,000 cities around the world, he agreed. He told me, “The pandemic changed many things, but not how many businesses want their employees to dress. But for this year’s graduates, two years of solitude, restricted job access, and limited shopping opportunities certainly helped.” Formally created a difference in which individual dress became again in the category of unimportant.” Such considerations, alone, can go a long way toward attracting recent graduates to your team. And ICIMS also found that loyalty matters to this class – 81% said they care how long they stay with the employer – the people who attracted these young adults in the first place. Very likely to keep.

To sum it all up, I spoke with Kevin Richardson, COO interrupt PR, He has spent the past month hiring and building a new wing of his team, interviewing nearly fifty 2022 graduates in the process. Most of all, he told me to enter Zoom interviews wearing tank tops and T-shirts and with inappropriate lighting. He said, “The most important thing to me is that you look ready for the meeting. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear a T-shirt. To show someone that you respect their time, you should wear a suit.” And no tie required. You need to look like some version of your best self.” Because people who really value talent and put the best of anyone to themselves, they win pretty much all the time.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.