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RISMEDIA, March 4, 2008-(MCT)-Advertising professional Arindam Bhattacharyya, 26, is a regular at the salon. Despite his hectic schedule, he makes it a point to visit the salon every month for his personal grooming session which includes facial, manicure, pedicure, hair cut and massage.

“Grooming is an overall process, and not just dressing and looks. If you’re appropriately dressed, 30 percent of your job is done in forming an impression,” he says.

HR consultants say that in today’s globalized business environment, grooming has become an integral part of India Inc. “Etiquette and grooming go hand-in-hand. Indians often need to be told to speak softly. However, one shouldn’t overdo the etiquette,” says J K Agrawal, head of BTI Consultants, a top-level hiring firm. “For grooming alone, companies allocate 10 to 15 percent of their training budget.”

Higher salaries, better standard of living and increase in exposure to global trends are firing the need for personal grooming. “Until recent times grooming was regarded as value addition or a secondary aspect in the corporate sector.

But now it’s a front runner and part of every corporate’s culture — be it retail, telecom, aviation, hospitality or the general services sector. Grooming is required at all levels,” says Ronak Sheth, head-franchising of Next, a training and recruitment organization.

It’s not just how you look but how you present and converse, too, that plays a vital role in building your impression.

“Around 80 percent of all human interpersonal communication is non-verbal — so confident body language, like your posture, eye contact or nodding your head, all form an impression. While dressing, you should keep in mind that it’s apt for the occasion and not very loud.”

There are institutes and consultants who provide corporate grooming programs. VLCC has customized corporate training modules and has conducted sessions for Indian Airlines, Deccan and Tata Consultancy Services. “If you look good, you feel great and that adds a lot to your self-confidence and positive outlook,” says Vandana Luthra, founder of the VLCC Group.

Companies like to define their work environment and are particular about their dress code. In an informal atmosphere, however, people tend to take liberties that are inappropriate. “Women, for instance, don’t realize that sometimes their clothes are too tight or revealing and can be an unwelcome distraction,” says Pravin Chand Tatavarti, MD of staffing firm Allegis Services India.

Body odor is the most common complaint among men. Even one person in a boardroom with body odor can derail a meeting.

“Habits regarding clean nails, clean clothes (not just shirts, but also socks), ironed clothes, polished shoes and in case of men, a trimmed beard or a smooth shave are extremely important, irrespective of whether you’re in a front-end or back-end job,” says Tatavarti.

In workplaces that have casual dress code, one must understand that casual does not mean sloppy. Ripped jeans and offensive slogans on T-shirts are unacceptable.

Usually counseling, either by the team leader or by an HR person, works. However, you need to tread delicately in such sensitive matters.

Copyright © 2008, The Times of India
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.