Avoid belching at meetings, SBI tells staff

Circular issued to staff has instructions on dress code, grooming and etiquette

In what is certainly a first in the public sector banking space, State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, has now prescribed a dress code for its entire staff, along with grooming guidelines and etiquette tips.

In a communication to all its employees on January 6, the human resources department of SBI said: “In order to ensure an acceptable level of decorum in work place is maintained (sic), all employees should adhere to a model dress code.” The communication has been reviewed by The Hindu.

“One of the key elements that contributes to the emotional value and image of a service brand is the way its representatives carry themselves while interacting with customers, associates and other relevant constituents,” the circular said. “Every employee is a Brand Ambassador for the Bank and his or her appearance and demeanour have an impact on the image of the Bank.”

The circular also asked staff to wear clean shoes and not slippers and said that “T-Shirts, Jeans and sneakers/sports shoes etc. should not be part of attire.’ Senior male staff in the administrative offices have been asked to wear ‘smart formals’ or ‘smart semi-formals’ and a tie while meeting customers. For senior female employees in the administrative offices, the circular mandated formal Indian or western wear.

It had grooming suggestions too: “Avoid unkempt look (unshaven/ruffled hair”; “practice adequate personal hygiene to keep bad breath/body odour away”; and “keep footwear clean at all times”. Other tips included: same colour for shoes and belts, matching socks for trousers, plain ties for check shirts and ties with designs for plain shirts, suits should be from the same fabric length, and “shirt sleeve should exceed the suit/blazer sleeve length by half an inch”.

The tips on social etiquette included a strong injunction against belching, especially “when in a meeting or among others; it is highly irritating.” It also advised the staff against “slipping into common language in a formal meeting” as “it is considered unprofessional”.

The state-run lender, which now commands over 20% market share after it merged five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank with itself in April 2016, has about 2.69 lakh employees and over 24,000 branches.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 3:02:38 PM |

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