The hotel industry majorly focuses on the appearance of employees who are interacting with clients. I worked in a hotel that had uniforms for employees for identity purposes. The physical appearance of workers was perceived to affect the perception of the customer, company image, and professionalism of the company. A physical appearance is a form of nonverbal communication that affects the success of hotels. Nonverbal communication through physical appearance relates to social identity theory, and concepts of in-groups, out-groups, and identity.
Real-Life Relationship and Nonverbal Communication
After high school, I got a job in one hotel and hospitality company. Physical appearance is something that was valued at the company. When I attended the interview for the job position, I dressed decently and the managers were happy with me considering that I was presentable. I qualified for the job position and started working immediately. At the company, employees were expected to be in official wear; preferably a uniform with a badge of the company. Men were also required to shave clean and not to grow hair. They were also encouraged to wear shoes that match their outfit. Failure to meet the dressing requirements, an employee would be hurting their chances of promotion.
The company required employees to avoid or cover body tattoos. As well, the visible facial piercings were to be avoided by women and big jewelry should be avoided. The hotel industry also required employees to wear suits and ties and skirts of knee-length. The organization allowed workers to wear suits or official dresses anytime they were not in the company uniform. Suits were only allowed on weekends but uniforms were worn on weekdays. This made our workplace interactions easier because we got to know each other easily. Casual wear was not allowed as it would make clients confuse employees with fellow customers. Managers were interested in those who adhered to the company’s dress code. According to Abubakar et al. (2019) managers are likely to favor employees with excellent physical appearance as they know they bring a good reputation to the organization.
The hotel industry is a sector that values dress codes. The leadership of the hotel industry tends to think that the physical appearance of employees is a crucial dimension of the well-being of hospitality workers (Ponting, 2020). Maintaining high standards of physical appearance at the place of work is necessary for the success of the business. Physical appearance is nonverbal communication that influences how people and business performs. It is also a basis for hiring employees and having a good impression among fellow workers.
Physical appearance and dress code portray professionalism. A hotel company that I worked for believed that neatness is expected because it shows the level of professionalism practiced by the hotel. Even when I needed clarifications about something before I got fully integrated into the hotel, I looked for people in similar uniforms to ask for clarifications because I know they are professionals. Sloppy personal presentation at the place of work reveals that one does not care about their job (Mmutle & Shonhe, 2017). The type of look one is having affects the way other individuals show respect and communicate.
As well, physical appearance reflects the company image. The company I worked for valued its reputation and would not want employees to dress recklessly. Companies required a worker to wear uniforms and have good grooming because they care for their image (Raj et al., 2017). When one’s appearance contradicts the requirements of the organization, the core values of the business are violated.
The social identity theory of physical appearance applies to interactions at the hotel company. In this theory, the identity of a person is influenced by internal and external factors determining one’s self. According to social identity theory, the identity of a person depends on the membership of certain groups (Bowman, 2020). In the company in which I worked, I was identified as an employee of the organization because of my dress code and appearance. Customers would spot me and conclude I was working at the company and not a fellow client. As I became a full member of the organization, I was unable to think of myself apart from my association with fellow employees. To have a stronger sense of belonging, we formed an informal group where we enjoyed and had funny outside working hours.
As well, the concept of in-groups and out-groups applies to my interactions at the hotel company. According to (Bowman, 2020), nonverbal behavior such as physical appearance can let other people know the social group in which we identify. Nonverbal communication indicates informal and formal status within groups. This theory helps to explain why the manager kept on insisting people remain in uniform and suits on weekends. The concept of in-groups and out-groups helps to know that the social status of a person can make other individuals uncomfortable and people may assume that hierarchies do not exist (Gheorghiu et al., 2017). Nonverbal communication through physical appearance can make a person recognize that you belong to a different group despite the previous interactions.
The concepts of appearance and identity explain that the nonverbal code of physical appearance has to do with clothing, faces, bodies, and artifacts. This is the reason pour company regulated artifacts and tattoos to ensure a good professional look. The book categorizes physical appearance into two; biological, natural features, and artifacts, the ones selected from the environment. In my work interactions, adornments and artifacts are considered. People are not discriminated against for their natural features. By doing this, the company treasures diversity and practices inclusion during hiring.
Abubakar, A. M., Anasori, E., & Lasisi, T. T. (2019). Physical attractiveness and managerial favoritism in the hotel industry: The light and dark side of erotic capital. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 38, 16-26.
Bowman, J. M. (2020). Nonverbal Communication: An Applied Approach. SAGE Publications.
Gheorghiu, A. I., Callan, M. J., & Skylark, W. J. (2017). Facial appearance affects science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(23), 5970-5975.
Mmutle, T., & Shonhe, L. (2017). Customers’ perception of service quality and its impact on reputation in the hospitality industry. http://repository.nwu.ac.za/handle/10394/27781
Ponting, S. S. A. (2020). Organizational identity change: impacts on hotel leadership and employee wellbeing. The Service Industries Journal, 40(1-2), 6-26.
Raj, P., Khattar, K., & Nagpal, R. (2017). ” Dress to Impress”: The Impact of Power Dressing. IUP Journal of Soft Skills, 11(3).