Where to Focus Your Business Writing Training Budget
Let’s face it: most employees do not care about free beer in the work fridge or a ping-pong table at the office. New research shows they care far more about respect and clear communication than they do about trendy office perks. In fact, one of the smartest moves your team can make is to “invest more in training managers to communicate respectfully and nurture employee well-being, rather than kitting out offices with trendy new accessories.”
Retaining valuable employees is critical. Investing in your team’s writing indicates that you value and respect them. Investing in improved writing sends a clear message that clear writing matters.
“Previous studies have found that most managers aren’t properly trained to be leaders,” says LaGree, whose recent study suggests that there should be more focus on developing communication skills among managers ...If an employee is passionate about writing but doesn’t get to do much of it in their current position, a manager might offer to send that person to a writing class instead of a traditional conference. They can invest in employees’ personal development, in addition to professional development, to help them become better citizens of society,” she says.
One of the best ways to invest in your team is to help them develop stronger communication and writing skills—which can lead to more fruitful conversations between managers and their direct reports, meaningful interactions within tools like Slack or email, and more confident, pointed communication across teams.
Here is a training budget tip: If your training budget is limited, the best investment you can make is on the writing and communication habits and skills of your managers. Investing there can lead to team-wide improvements, as managers communicate needs and expectations more efficiently and effectively.
Too often, companies focus training on the weakest writers on a team, but a team always models management writing. When managers write clearly themselves and expect good writing, it elevates the entire team.
Focus your training budget for business writing improvement on your managers, not the weakest team members. Your employees want clear communication from managers. Strong management writing skills will create a culture and model that will trickle down to the entire team.
The next focus group should be training the employees whose writing is visible outside your team. This will ensure that a team is respected by the company and customers, again elevating the culture and validating employees.
Typically, the writing of your weakest writers will naturally improve as they model the better writing around them. If needed, yes, train the weakest writers but they should not be the first focus on training if you want the biggest impact from your training budget.
In summary, to stretch and focus your training budget most effectively for better writing and meeting employee satisfaction needs, train in this order:
- Employees whose writing is visible outside your team
- Weakest writers
Try our ROI calculator to see the impact writing training could have on your team.
Benefits are threefold:
- It enables managers to write and communicate effectively, which matters deeply to employees.
- You can expect a 20% reduction in the time required to write every document after training. The productivity enhancements alone are significant.
- Better writing fosters better colleague and client relationships. Clear communication is the core satisfaction requirement most employees want.
Here is a scenario on the productivity enhancements you can expect:
Let’s assume your team has 10 employees, who each earn $50k per year and write for three hours each day. This means they spend 37% of their time each day writing, which is typical.
By reducing that time by 20% -- very easy to achieve with good training -- the financial productivity ROI is $46,875 annually. Run your own numbers here.
And that doesn’t include the benefit of employees feeling valued and better relationships.
A manager at Aramark who recently completed our Effective Business Writing course with their team saw immediate results: “The lessons on email are very strong. I manage 40 remote people, so nearly all communication occurs via email. When to use email (and not) and the audience targeting and content information is exactly what my people need. Already, I’ve seen a big improvement in communication.”
Another manager, one who heads up a customer service team, let us know that after our course, he and his team saw “where I was missing opportunities to clarify...impact. Great insights!”
Investing in your teams’ writing skills with personalized training fosters measurable growth. You stand to gain a lot:
- You prove to your employees that you respect their professional needs, which can lead to better retention rates.
- You prove to your managers that you care about their continued growth, especially in leadership positions, which can inspire continued professional growth.
- You prove to prospective employees and future clients that your team is cared for and always seeking improvements, which can help grow your business.