With the warmer weather comes a change in employee attire, sometimes for the worse. Occasionally, some employees may push the envelope by challenging the meaning of business casual, or the latest term, business smart. But there's nothing smart about employees who come to work dressed for the beach.

The solution? Be proactive when it comes to keeping your dress code up to date. First, identify clothing items that are acceptable--for example, shirts and blouses, dress pants and skirts, and dress shoes. Discuss what's not acceptable, using terms such as, not above the knee or moderate fitting, mixing in terms like professional.

Some firms will include photos in their dress code policy, which most often show appropriately dressed employees (no faces) but avoid photos of violations.

If you have a different policy on Fridays, explain what dress will be allowed on that day. If, for example, you want to permit employees to wear jeans, then say so, but remember to reinforce the rest of the code, such as no ripped pants, holes in clothing, or exposed undergarments.

Finally, remind employees that your policy is subject to change and that any meetings involving clients, in or out of the office, may require temporarily setting aside casual styles.

Consider sending employees a dress code reminder memo today, before someone's inappropriate attire forces you to do so. Acting proactively will lead to greater understanding and fewer uncomfortable conversations with your employees.


Article contributed by Norwalk HR outsourcing and consulting firm OperationsInc.