How to Address Issues with Employee Writing Skills
By Doug Bolger
Effective writing in the workplace not only portrays professionalism and competence, but it also demonstrates a level of care that will be noticed by customers and team members. When team members are struggling to clearly convey meaning or producing writing that contains errors, supportive coaching can be a great opportunity for meaningful professional development.
With patience, compassion, and constructive feedback, you can benefit your team members, and the organization more broadly, by helping to raise the bar for writing standards. Here are a few of the reasons quality workplace writing matters and how to use the most effective approaches to coaching to enhance an employee’s writing skills.
Why Quality Workplace Writing Skills Matter
Persuasive and well-punctuated writing does not come easily to everyone. This can be especially true for team members who are new(er) to your workplace and unfamiliar with business communication etiquette. Quality workplace writing is important for several reasons:
- Thoughtful, error-free writing is essential for positively positioning your brand on and offline
- Team members who struggle with writing may spend more time than necessary trying to wade through their written communications; this can cause backlogs and is a poor use of organizational time
- Ideas that are not presented clearly can cause confusion for clients, leadership and fellow collaborators
- When a team member does not have a strong grasp of writing best practices, it can affect their confidence and willingness to put their great ideas out there
How to Coach an Employee to Improve Their Workplace Writing
Whether it’s one too many misspelled words in a presentation or an inbox littered with emails that contain lackluster syntax, there comes a time when, as a team leader, you need to address an employee’s approach to writing. Some of the ways you can do this are as follows:
1. Implement Peer Editing Programs
Peer editing has multiple benefits. By creating opportunities for team members to review one another’s work, you will not only reduce the errors found in what is being produced, but you will also cultivate collaborative and compassionate leadership amongst your teams. Plus, over time, team members’ writing will improve as they begin to internalize the feedback provided. Then, they too can experience the mutually rewarding experience of peer mentorship.
2. Be Constructive but Not Critical
No one wants to feel like what they are producing is not good enough. Deep down, the vast majority of people really want to do right by their companies, so it doesn’t feel great when it seems like they have let their team leaders down. While the risk of hurt feelings should not force you to shy away from providing feedback, there is something to be said for approaching difficult conversations with grace.
Always try to refer back to company policies and overarching values. Provide your team members with ways of improving their writing that reflect their goals. Offer additional supports that align with producing their best work (i.e., buffer time for review) and a solid plan for improvement – complete with steps and processes.
3. Provide Professional Development Resources that Addresses Opportunity for Improvement
Understanding why your team member is handing in work that does not fully reflect their desire to thrive is key. When you have a relationship built on trust and understanding, you will be able to speak to them about why they may not be delivering on the level of content your organization expects. Ask important questions about what may support their best efforts and ensure those tools are readily available.
From grammar, spelling, and syntax support through to persuasive writing how-to’s, you can unite your team members with whichever programming can enhance and amplify their messaging.
Partner with Learn2 to Deliver Professional Development that Achieves Short and Long-term Benefits
At Learn2, we have resources that focus on both particular and general needs. From facilitating meaningful conversations about communication best practices to fundamentally reworking systems for enhanced effectiveness, we can provide coaching that empowers your team members to be at their best. Reach out to our team of professional and leadership enhancement specialists to ensure all your teams feel prepared to do their very best each and every day.
DISCOVER YOUR NATURAL COMMUNICATION STYLE.
Each person has a natural communication style. Understanding yours can and will impact how effective you are when dealing with friends, co-workers and clients.