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Sales and Selling Dress Code Diversity

One of our better sales reps showed up today wearing an earring in his ear. He is the only male in the company with one, and I don't think it's appropriate attire. We don't have a policy on this, but we expect employees to show reasonable judgment in this area. What should I say to him?

Reasonable judgment cuts both ways, and before you question his judgment, you should look at yours. In a word, is his earring interfering with his effectiveness and productivity in sales? Or, is it just interfering with your image of what male sales reps in your company should look like?

There are many changes going on in the work force today, and you are seeing one of them. There is diversity at all levels of countless organizations, there are casual dress days in firms that a few years ago would have looked askance at anything other than pinstripes, job security and employee loyalty are becoming oxymorons, and there are males in virtually all occupations and professions who wear an earring. Granted that just because many employees are engaging in a specific behavior does not make it acceptable, it is important to keep some perspective on this matter.

It is interesting to note that in some sales situations, many of the male customers wear earrings, and the fact that your sales rep wears one may actually help the sales process, as customers tend to be more trusting of salespeople with whom they have some similarities.

At the same time, if his sales decline, he will probably lose the earring before you have a chance to say anything.

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