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The Cost of Writing Problems When They’re Undiagnosed or Misdiagnosed

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Posted April 26, 2024
The cost of writing problems, especially when they’re undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, can be substantial. At their core, bad writing and inefficient writing processes can actively damage a company’s financial standing. Sometimes the impact is direct, as when unpersuasive, poorly crafted proposals or presentations fail to make sales. Sometimes the impact is indirect: unnecessarily labor, time-, and resource-intensive writing processes will result in waste and loss of efficiency and productivity.

Moreover, an organization’s credibility and reputation can suffer from consistently poor communication, leading to lost opportunities and diminished trust among clients and partners. In extreme cases, unclear or incorrect writing can result in safety lapses, posing direct harm to individuals and exposing companies to legal liabilities and financial penalties—something we refer to as “communication shipwrecks.” Ultimately, poor writing can:

  • Cost sales and business.
  • Incur costs and labor.
  • Damage employee morale.
  • Hurt your organization’s brand and reputation.
  • Cause downstream problems for customers and stakeholders.

Unfortunately, diagnosing the underlying problems that are causing these bottom-line impacts is challenging. Sometimes it’s clear that writers are struggling, but it’s easy to misunderstand why. And all too often, organizations think they know the problem but don’t, leading them to spend time and resources trying to solve problems that don’t exist.

The answer is a communication audit, the only way to accurately diagnose gaps and vulnerabilities in your organization’s writing production to ensure optimal organizational performance and long-term business growth.

Why It Matters: The ROI of Solving Writing Problems

Identifying and fixing those gaps and vulnerabilities can yield big rewards. Consider: improving writing speed alone can yield an ROI of up to 1,233% relative to the cost of training, by significantly reducing the time spent on drafting documents (see table below).

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6
Determine the total cost of writing training. Determine the average annual salary of trainees. Determine time spent writing each day. Determine the annual labor cost of writing. Calculate 25% time savings from faster writing. Compare cost savings over the training expense.
$12,520 $123,551 4 hours/day $617,755 $154,439 1,233% ROI

(For a more complete breakdown of this ROI calculation, with explanations behind the numbers, see our article “The ROI of Writing: How to Calculate the ROI of Faster Writing.”)

And that’s just one improvement that results from a fine-tuned, skillful writing process!

Diagnosing Problems with a Communication Audit

To reach that level of ROI, however, requires a clear-eyed understanding not just of the top-level problems plaguing your writing process and writers but of the root causes underlying those problems. A communication audit provides a structured approach to uncovering these hidden problems, offering insights into the actual and potential impacts of current writing practices on the organization’s bottom line.

This process begins with stakeholders identifying perceived issues within their teams’ writing and reviewing processes. An audit goes beyond surface-level analysis, delving directly into the team’s documents, the effectiveness of existing tools (such as style guides and templates), and the efficiency of writing and reviewing workflows. This thorough examination helps pinpoint inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and areas where the writing and/or reviewing process is falling short.

After gathering and analyzing this information, auditors prepare a comprehensive report outlining their findings and recommendations. This report serves as a roadmap for implementing changes that can lead to improved writing quality and process efficiency.

By undertaking a communication audit, organizations can gain valuable insights into the impact of their communication practices on their financial performance. With a comprehensive understanding of how their communication works (or doesn’t), companies can ultimately start increasing efficiency, productivity, and—ultimately—financial outcomes.

For a proven partner in conducting effective, business-strengthening communication audits, contact Hurley Write or learn more about our PROS Roadmap Communication Audit process.

The Cost of Writing Problems When They’re Undiagnosed or Misdiagnosed

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Prefer to chat? Call us at 877-249-7483

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