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The ties that bind us

This is my first post.

I'm a HR manager at an IT firm, and recently we have had a new GM. One of the first things he did was introduce that all men in the company must wear a tie and a closed collar (no buttons undone). He says that's the way he's always operated and it increases productivity and professionalism. He even goes as far as to tie ties on men not conforming to the policy, and fixing ties that are not to the top button.

I don't mind wearing a tie at all but colleagues are complaining to me, they have a problem with the, one colleague says they are stupid and useless, and that he likes the fist two buttons of his shirt undone. Although I have informed staff that they look professional. They still show hostility.

Does anyone know how I can defuse the tension in the office and make tie wearing fun? The younger males are playing pranks on each other by pulling each other's ties to mess them up.

Who knew a piece of cloth could cause so much trouble...

  • Keith

    | 10492 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    10 Sep, 2017 21:41

    Ties are old fashioned (IMO) and increasingly not being worn. They may well come into fashion at some stage but I doubt it. Outside of Schools and parts of the legal profession you see less and less ties.

    But if that's what the MD wants and he cant be persuaded of the negative impact on morale and attraction this has or the potentially large distraction then that's his call. Best to wear it out ( :-) ) until he moves on - which if this is the quality of his decisions may not be long.

    In terms of defusing the tension - maybe just having a chat with people 1-2-1 - laying out how important this is to MD and asking people to be grown up. Pulling peoples ties sounds rather school yard doesn't it? But at end of day you just have to find ways of living with this for the time being.

    You could have a mad tie Friday where people wear their most outlandish ties - but be careful of upsetting MD....
  • In reply to Keith:

    Thanks Keith,

    I think that some ties can be old fashioned but our GM is only in his 30s. I think some ties can look quite modern and professional. All attempts to reverse this decision has been swiftly denied.

    I like the idea of the Friday tie day, maybe a "pink tie Friday" or somthing similar, maybe even link it to charity fundraising. Tie pulling is very schoolboy behaviour but I think it might be the team acting out. I only agree with the GMs decision on the basis of nobody wants to see a hairy chest with several buttons undone.
  • Steven

    | 452 Posts

    Chartered Member

    11 Sep, 2017 00:30

    In reply to John:

    Wearing a tie increases productivity? Sounds like a good topic for the evidence based section of the forum. Do the women have to wear below the knee skirts and pearls?
  • In reply to Steven :

    There is no dress code for women that is enforced.
  • Keith

    | 10492 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    11 Sep, 2017 07:30

    In reply to John:

    Well thereby hangs the problem with this then. There is nothing wrong with having separate but equal dress codes for the genders but one gender having a dress code and the other not is potentially discriminatory and unlawful.
  • David

    | 20721 Posts

    Chartered Member

    11 Sep, 2017 07:50

    In reply to Keith:

    I am reminded of the very senior manager long ago in charge of many male staff who during the customary  'last working day before Christmas' festivities in the nearby pub would carry a very large very sharp pair of dressmakers / tailors scissors with which he'd deftly grab and whip out and cut off the ties of all his subordinates - his idea of a huge festive joke.

    These days there would be muttering about bullying - even assault - and indirect sex discrimination, but it caused some considerable good natured hilarity at the time (although those in the know would be careful to  leave their best  pure silk fancy designer ties at home then).

    Anyhow, fast forward to such as...

    A Pain in the Neck

    Advising him that he should get knotted is probably not a great career move here, but quoting at him the above case and in particular the precedent it set about the need to impose upon female staff equivalent standards of smartness of dress code.

  • Steve Bridger

    | 7390 Posts

    Community Manager

    11 Sep, 2017 09:45

    Welcome to the Community, John... and nice job with the title of the thread :)
  • Hi John

    I really find this surprising, especially in an IT firm where things like dress codes tend to be very relaxed. I work in this sector, and it took me a month or two to figure out that there was a "dress down Friday" as there was no apparent difference!

    Our staff do make an effort if they are visiting or meeting with customers though. It doesn't sound as if your GM is going to budge on this, but suggesting smart dress for customer facing roles or when meeting customers might be a way of meeting half way on this.

    It would really be a shame if you started to lose people over this issue, but that may end up happening if there is enough bad feeling about it.

    Ishbel
  • Hi John,

    You've received some good guidance in relation to your query on defusing the tension - I can't think of anything else to add.

    One sentence in your post did make me stop though; "He even goes as far as to tie ties on men not conforming to the policy, and fixing ties that are not to the top button."

    I may be reading too much into that line in particular, but this behaviour could in my eyes be a large risk to your business if someone took serious offence to being touched without consent (someone with more experience will correct me, but I think it could be harrassment?)

    It may be that your answer lies in explaining the ties stay, but the over-the-top behaviour of the GM stops....

    Kind regards,
    Laura
  • In reply to Laura Fazackarley:

    That's what caught my eye, too, Laura. No wonder there's playground silliness going on - the employees are being treated like errant schoolchildren from an era which it sounds like the GM himself shouldn't even be able to remember!
  • There's an easy secret santa present for the GM, a copy of Richard Branson's book ;)
  • Steve Bridger

    | 7390 Posts

    Community Manager

    12 Sep, 2017 08:14

    In reply to David:

    David... you're wearing a tie. (Oh, a wedding? You are forgiven...)
  • David

    | 20721 Posts

    Chartered Member

    12 Sep, 2017 08:32

    In reply to Steve Bridger:

    Yes indeed, Steve - in fact the 'mugshot' is a clip from my very own (haha) tying the knot / wedding pic, so very much a momentous and special occasion at which of course casual attire isn't at all seemly or usual. (It was a wonderful event at the magnificent St George's Hall in Liverpool - very highly recommended by the way.....).

  • Steve Bridger

    | 7390 Posts

    Community Manager

    12 Sep, 2017 08:46

    In reply to David:

    :)
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