Bank One Taking Uniform Approach

    GRAND RAPIDS — Bank One employees are donning new duds.

    All 21,000 employees across Bank One’s 1,800 branches in 14 states — from tellers, to loan officers to branch managers — are adopting a new look under a policy implemented in August that requires them to wear a uniform at work, on customer calls and at sales events.

    “You should be seeing folks in the attire now, and we’ll be phasing it in through the end of the year as employees’ orders are filled,” said corporate spokeswoman Mary Kay Bean. The uniforms, in fact, were featured on a “Today” show episode last week.

    The bank has about 1,900 employees in Michigan, 450 of them in West Michigan. They are currently wearing or will be wearing the new career apparel as they acquire the garments from Lands End.

    Apparel choices for women include oxford shirts and sweater twin sets with the Bank One logo, maternity tops, black A-line dresses, black slacks, black skirts and black shoes.

    Apparel choices for men include oxford dress shirts with the Bank One logo, black pants and black shoes. Ties are required for managers, loan officers and business bankers. Sweater vests are another apparel option for employees, and later this year blazers for both men and women will be added to the wardrobe selection.

    The bank test marketed the uniform approach in Louisville last summer.

    “Employees found it attractive and customers liked it a lot,” Bean said. “It’s something that seems to be very appealing to employees.”

    Bank One decided to roll out the uniform policy this year, along with a program to spruce up branches with new paint and furniture, she said. More than $360,000 will be invested in Bank One’s 30-plus West Michigan branches toward that end.

    “It’s all part of a program we’ve initiated to present a crisp, professional appearance in our branches. It’s part of our effort to deliver a consistent customer experience.”

    A uniform not only makes it easier for employees to dress for work, but also makes it easier for customers to identify bank personnel when they walk into a branch, she added.

    “It makes it easier for everyone. Everyone knows what to expect.”

    Employees are able to purchase the Lands End apparel at cost to make it more affordable, Bean said, and Bank One has provided every employee with a $100 stipend toward their initial purchases. Employees have to cover any purchases beyond the $100 stipend.

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