Employee writing skills are an important part of your day-to-day operations. Things like sending out emails to clients, creating important documents, and posting to social media are common, and can have an extremely negative effect on your business’s reputation if not done well. Errors, badly structured sentences, and poorly communicated ideas will be quickly picked up on by clients and partners – especially when made by senior management.
These errors can greatly affect your overall brand image and the reputation that you’ve undoubtedly worked hard to develop and maintain. Imagine spending years perfecting the way people see your brand and think of your business, only for it to be undone because a senior manager has poor writing skills. Thankfully, bad employee writing is easily correctable, though it should be addressed immediately in order to minimize the potential damage done to your reputation.
Assess your employee’s business writing skills
All businesses have some sort of writing problem they need to overcome, especially when it comes to clear communication. The key to overcoming these problems is to first understand what it is you’re dealing with. Before you can go to work on improving employee writing skills, you first need to assess the skills of your employees and managers. This will give you a much better idea of which employees need extra attention and which have adequate writing skills.
Assess employee writing skills by analyzing business documents, emails, and other forms of business communication to determine how well employees are at communicating ideas clearly and succinctly, what kind of language and syntax they tend to use, how their grammar and sentence structure holds up, and how well employees are at writing for different audiences and types of communications or content. By taking the time and effort to assess the writing skills of employees – especially client-facing staff – you’ll have a much better idea of how much work you have ahead of you.
How to improve employee writing
Now that you understand the size and scope of your business writing problem and have narrowed the problem down to certain staff members, you can begin to improve employee writing. Remember to define your expectations and set reasonable goals for improving employee writing ability, communicating clearly with staff along the way. Many of your employees probably spend a large portion of their time writing important documents and communicating with clients and partners. This is why it’s so important to address the problem head-on.
This can be done through a mixture of internal training and solutions that measure grammar, syntax, and readability. Training employees on how to write for specific audiences, how to structure documents and emails, and how to identify and fix grammar and spelling errors can be done internally, with senior members of your team sitting down with identified employees to go over these important elements of writing. You may also consider hiring a business writing expert who can train employees with significant writing difficulty and collaborate with you to create a plan which addresses employee writing ability during the onboarding process. Unless you have a few employees that need quite a bit of help, you should roll out solutions and training to all employees so the ones who are having trouble don’t feel singled out.
Writing tools like Grammarly, ProWiritingAid, WebFX, and built-in technology featured in popular solutions like Google Docs and Microsoft Word can be used to great effect, picking up on grammar and spelling errors, context, readability, and even plagiarism. Don’t count on the spelling and grammar check tools in G Suite and MS Office 365 to catch everything; you’ll need a solution like Grammarly to go further.
These tools can be used by employees after training has completed in order to help them better identify where they’re going wrong, offering them suggestions on how to remedy these common errors. Remember to give your employees the opportunity to practice their writing skills – whether it’s creating sample project proposals or writing internal emails, they’ll need to practice in order to stay sharp and further develop their skills.
From assessment to training and development, employee writing skills can be addressed with the right amount of effort and dedication. Before you know it, you’ll be able to improve employee writing and have a well-development plan to implement into your onboarding process. Better writers means that the risk of sending out error-ridden documents or communications will be mitigated, saving your businesses’ reputation from taking an embarrassing hit.
ion8 is an all-in-one business consultancy with an experienced team of digital marketing and business technology experts with the skills needed to carefully craft professional-level content for your business and implement solutions that can make your internal communications process easier than ever before. To find out more about everything that ion8 can do for your business, get in touch with us today.