Writing training has the potential to produce huge benefits for professional organizations, but it’s not always clear what benefits an organization can reasonably expect from developing their employees’ writing skills. Specifically, in what ways does improving written communication abilities translate into actual business outcomes?
First, better writing powers better business results.The research is clear: better writing produces highly desirable business results in all kinds of ways. Joseph Kimble, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s Research & Writing Department, cited multiple examples in his book, Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please:
- FedEx saved $400,000 after rewriting operations manuals whose improved clarity led to fewer mistakes.
- Similarly, GE saved up to $375,000 annually per customer after rewriting its software manuals, whose improved clarity led to decrease of 125 calls per representative.
- The FCC was able to re-assign five full-time staff by reducing questions and inquiries after rewriting regulations to be clearer, plainer, and easier to understand.
- The U.S. Navy saved $27 to $37 million per year after rewriting business memos so they could be read in less time.
Second, better writing protects against certain costs and risks.We looked at this question in our recent article, The ROI of Writing: How to Calculate the ROI of Faster Writing. Better trained writers can almost always write faster because they’re more skilled and need fewer rounds of editing and revising. We estimate a trained writer works about 25% faster than others, and that seemingly modest improvement translates into dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of labor hours and costs saved.
Training hedges against certain risks as well, such as employee recruitment and retention issues. Employees actively want to be trained; Gallup reports that nine out of ten (87%) of millennials specifically want development opportunities so they can improve their skills and future career prospects. That translates into improved employee engagement and retention.