It’s a bank directive with a difference — setting guidelines and limits not for monetary transactions and loans — but for hemlines and hairlines.
Bank of Baroda, which recently merged with Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank to become the third largest lender of the country, has sent out a letter to all branch staff in the Bhuj region, urging them to “look smart”, with instructions on grooming and appearance during working hours.
“It is always to look smart for each and every employee,” says a letter from the bank’s HR department, addressed to all branches and offices in the region.
Listing a series of sartorial “offences”, the letter says, “It has been noticed during branch inspections that many employees are not wearing clean and well-ironed clothes; employees are not shaving properly, shoes are not polished, hair not properly trimmed. Shirt not properly tucked in. It is also observed that employees are not coming to branch as per branch timing.”
And the final straw: “Employees are coming to branch in slippers.”
The letter then goes on to remind staff that the ‘bank is a service industry’ and that first impressions make a big difference.
The letter then sets out 11 “guidelines” for employees to “wear and look smart”.
Employees’ hair, it says, should be trimmed and neat. In case someone wants to have long hair, the locks should be “shaped and combed”. Acknowledging that well-shaped moustaches and beards give a “good look”, the guidelines advise staff to keep their whiskers in good shape.
Coming down on slippers, the guidelines say: “Slippers should be avoided except in emergency cases,” pointing out that “shoes with laces” add considerably to the personality. “Shoes should always be polished and shined,” it insists.
Jeans and T-shirts are a strict no-no as they “give a casual look to the personality”, the letter says, suggesting male staff wear “pant and shirt” on all working days. And shirts should be tucked in and there should not be any wrinkle on the front of the shirt after being tucked in.
“For ladies staff — saree or salwar suit shows a professional appearance,” the letter specifies.
An advisory on how to speak wraps the list, saying, “Our voice should be polite”.