Executive Assistant Grooming

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about grooming.

We hired a new executive assistant who can easily handle the job functions. However, her hair and face is often “not fresh”. We were thinking of some sort of grooming etiquette course. Any suggestions?

Signed, Wanting to Help

Dear Wanting to Help:

You provided me with additional information and I responded about that. But, for the sake of our readers, let me provide an overview of our discussion.

1. If the employee looked appropriate during interviews, conversations and meetings, prior to being hired, you know she can continue to look that way. Consider simply saying, “Mary, we may not have made it clear in the interview, but we are very, very focused on having every employee present a good image to our clients and patients. One way to do that is to look every day as though it was the first day on the job. I notice you are much more casual in your overall appearance than you were then. Here’s one way to know how to do it–pretend every day is that new job interview you had with us, and duplicate your overall look then.”That’s awkward, I know, but it needs to be said.

2. You were concerned about the cost to her if she spiffied up more. Consider giving her a generic gift card that she can use anyplace. Include with a short note welcoming her to the practice. Tell her that the practice has high standards for performance and behavior and to get her started the right way you are happy to give her a gift card she can use for supplies and services as she starts her new work.

3. Make sure everyone else is a good example as well, then hold the line. If she’s doing good work you certainly want to keep her. But, you hired the complete package…performance AND behavior (which includes appearance.)Best wishes as you develop a plan of action for this.

Tina Lewis Rowe