Has your office turned into a 70s film set?

HRM 09 Nov 2012

Fortunately (or unfortunately), it’s that time of the year again: Movember.

Yes, it’s the annual grow-a-thon that incites endless office banter, and a lot of ‘tasche comparing and contrasting.

‘I started growing mine in September’, ‘You know, you can kind of train them like a vine’ and ‘I look like Freddie Mercury’, are all comments overheard by this writer so far this ‘tache season.

Nevertheless, it’s all for a good cause, namely raising money and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and depression in men. The latest ABS statistics show prostate cancer is the 11th most common cause of death, and intentional self-harm is 15th.

However, facial hair has had a tumultuous past, and not everyone has been on the ‘tache bandwagon.

In 2007 at Scots College in Wellington, New Zealand, several graduating students were banned from end-of-year prizes for having grown wild and woolly moustaches, and the college threatened to ban a senior student from their NCEA examinations (official secondary school qualification) for growing a moustache during Movember.

A number of high profile organisations in the corporate world also do not accept facial hair, and the New York Yankees management refuses players with hair below the upper lip.

In many law enforcement departments, facial hair is also not allowed due to an “unprofessional” look the facial hair is said to give.

While schoolboys, fire-fighters and police are all required to have clean shaven faces, men often query when facial hair is permissible in a professional setting.

Some say it depends upon the culture of an organisation, while others say facial hair is an extension of one’s self, and thus is an individual’s own decision. It is indeed a bit of a grey area.

With the Key Media team well on board this mo’ season, HC asked around the office to shed some light on the near spiritual bond some men have with their ‘tache.

“My sympathies go out to year-round moustache wearers who will be pestered with Movember-related jibes over the next month. I only wish I had the staying power to build a long-term relationship with the face fuzz,” Robin Christie, editor of Wealth professional, said. This year Robin is opting for a classic mo, changing it up from his usual style of the handlebars.

So how can an organisation be fair when creating and upholding a policy in reference to facial hair and the general appearance of employees?

A general rule of thumb may simply be to have a consistently enforced and well written policy on professional standards of appearance. Having a clearly communicated policy from the outset removes any grey areas.

One thing’s for sure, the event is set for a long and hairy future.



Leave your comment
Start a new discussion

HRM Asia forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Post a Comment
HRM Asia welcomes your contribution. Your IP address is recorded in the event of a complaint.
Name *
Email *
(required, but will not display)
Comment *
Please enter in the numbers in the box left.
You are about to submit your comment. Is it:
  • Professional
  • In your own name or pseudonym, not impersonating someone else
  • Free from rude language
  • Free from advertising
  • If you prefer not to post but are still keen to get your viewpoint across, you can always e-mail the editor.
  • 15 Apr | Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts Pte.Ltd. | Singapore
    A Leading Hotel Chain Group
    11 Apr | Talent Insight Executive Search | Singapore
    Recognised globally as one of the leading organisations in the industrial and commerce space, this dynamic US multinational is poised at an exciting s ...
    15 Apr | Kerry Consulting | Singapore
    Organisational leadership in the 21st century
    Sherman Ong, Chief Development Officer, National Cancer Centre, shares with us the core competencies required in a leader today
    Spearheading corporate democracy @ Facebook
    Tailor-make your talent strategy: Top tips from Carlsberg
    Standard Chartered : Where L&D is always evolving
    Performance Leadership Pte Ltd | info@performance.sg
    Increase productivity and getting funding from Health Promotion Board, through a series of General Health and Mental Wellness programmes.
    Organisational Development Concepts | enquiries@odctraining.com.sg
    The Service Excellence Competency Frame (SVCF) is a competency-based training and assessment framework that equips service professionals with the rele ...
    Performance Leadership Pte Ltd | info@performance.sg
    Lunch, Learn and Bond with your teams, all within 1 hour! Choose from a variety of light-hearted, interesting or thought-provoking topics that appeal ...