People & Human Resources

A Gen-Y staff member has crazy hair and a hipster beard – should I tell him to trim?

Aunty B /

Dear Aunty,

We have a project manager who is intelligent, an excellent communicator and great at his job and to have around.

But…he has a beard and typical Gen-Y hair, where we can’t see his eyes, and I am worried some clients will not take him seriously.

Should we tell him to trim or let the clients go jump?

Paul

Dear Paul,

Ahh the flippy-floppy Gen-Y hair and hipster beard, combined with a dash of youthful suave and a sharp mind – this kid sounds like he’s got it all!

Is he sparking a little envy in you? Inducing a moment of nostalgia for the days when you rocked into the office, rolled up your sleeves and flicked your mysterious fringe out of your eyes, catching everyone’s attention?

If that’s not the case, as you say, you need to think about how much his style is impacting client relations. It sounds like he spends time in client-facing scenarios. Therefore, check if your business has a neat personal presentation clause, and if so, ask your HR department to remind the team of it.

If you don’t have any policies regarding dress codes and grooming, it’s time to implement one. Make it generic across the business so it’s not a personal attack. You clearly already know you have to be careful how you approach telling staff to alter their appearance, to avoid any sort of backlash.

If Mr Gen-Y doesn’t get the message, perhaps you could steer his role towards more in-house operations rather than external presentations.

That said, if you are a creative business, you may find your clients are attracted to a bit of individual flair and personality. You might find it’s youthful ideas and a willingness to stand out from the crowd that they are paying for.

Be smart,

Aunty B

Your Aunty B is kicking back on holiday, but her advice is timeless, as evidenced by this Aunty B classic from July 2013. To read more Aunty B advice, click here.

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I’m SmartCompany’s resident Agony Aunt. Have a problem to solve? Just ask. @IamAuntyB #AuntyB

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