Far too many organizations tolerate far too much inefficiency and ineffectiveness in their workplace writing processes. As a result, they struggle with writing workflows that take up too much time and labor. Worse, that writing then underperforms in achieving its intended goals.
The good news is that these issues are completely solvable! Your organization and its writers don’t have to be at the mercy of dysfunctional workflows. Here are six simple and straightforward ways to inject your writing process with greater efficiency and effectiveness.
1: Assess your writing process.
You can’t solve a problem you don’t know about nor can you cure an ailment if you’ve only identified its symptoms and not its underlying causes. So, the first step in improving a workplace writing process is evaluating that process to identify points of failure or weakness and strengths.
These faults can take you by surprise, too. It’s not always obvious what ails your writing workflows. For that reason, we strongly suggest engaging a professional service with subject matter expertise to assist with this evaluation and diagnosis. You wouldn’t try to diagnose a physical ailment yourself; you go to a doctor. Don’t try to diagnose writing problems yourself; go to a specialist.
2: Allow time and space to write.
Most workplaces treat writing as a secondary or add-on task separate from a person’s core duties. This means when workers have a writing project to complete, they have to do their normal full-time job … and then work on the writing project. This leads to writing tasks being rushed and de-prioritized, which increases the risk the final document will be less effective. It can also make the entire writing process less efficient, if the team member is trying to get this work done in bits and pieces.
Instead, ensure writing is understood as part of your team’s core duties and that adequate time and resources are allotted.
3: Develop your team’s writing skills.
Workers who are better at a task will complete it more effectively even as they simultaneously work faster. By contrast, those who are unskilled will take longer while committing more errors. In our experience, a skilled writer can reduce total writing time by about 25% compared to a mediocre or poor writer; they simply write faster and require fewer rounds of edits and revisions.
Notably, this doesn’t just increase the efficiency of the writing process; it can actually generate ROI from investing in writing skills – and the ROI can potentially be eye-popping. For a team of 10 sales managers who spend around half of their time writing, we estimate 1,233% ROI in the first year. Click here to read our breakdown of that ROI calculation.
4: Use AI aids and assistants.
Admittedly, AI writing tools aren’t quite ready for primetime. As the AI situation stands today, replacing human writers with AI bots would worsen writing output, not improve it. That may well change in the coming years, but for today, AI just isn’t ready to replace human writers entirely.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s no value at all in AI for writers. These tools can still be useful in helping writers conduct research, organize their thoughts, start their first drafts, catch grammatical errors, and more. With their assistance, human writers can potentially work faster and with less effort.
5: Rework your review and approval process.
The review and revision process is often one of the greatest areas of inefficiency and waste in the overall writing production process, so optimizing your team’s editing and review process can pay dividends in greater efficiency and effectiveness. One key guideline should be to keep everything to a minimum: the least number of reviewers/approvers necessary (to avoid “too many cooks in the kitchen” syndrome), the least number of edits required for the work to meet its intended purpose, etc.
6: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Many writing projects are legitimately critical. If you’re writing for publication, you want your authors and your organization to look their best. If you’re writing for customers, you want to be compelling, persuasive, and impressive. And so on.
But it’s easy to end up pouring hours into a writing project trying to make it perfect when it was good enough hours and hours ago. The question of “perfect” versus “good enough” can be nuanced, though.
- Who decides what “good enough” looks like?
- How do you measure and track when your written works have reached that threshold?
- What happens when egos or, worse, office politics get involved?
Just saying “stop writing when it’s good enough” may not be enough: you may need to create some definitions around what this means at your organization to ensure consistency and predictability in the writing process.
To learn more – and pick up more strategies for improving the start-to-finish writing process at your organization – contact Hurley Write for a custom, no-obligation consultation.