These days, you don’t have to be a writer to spend an incredible amount of time creating content. In fact, the average office worker composes 40 emails each day — and spends 2.5 hours writing and reading emails. And that’s only one communication channel! Add in social media, blogs, presentations, and more, and the count quickly increases.
With each of these interactions, employees are serving as brand ambassadors, and the quality of their writing impacts your company.
What are the costs of confusion?
When employees share inefficient or ineffective messages, the costs add up quickly.
1. Lost Productivity
A 2017 study found that employees waste almost 15% of their total work time on inefficient communications. For a typical full-time schedule, that’s six hours of wasted time every week — or 312 hours of wasted time per employee, per year. At that rate, a company with 500 employees is likely losing over $5 million a year. And that’s just a single, tangible cost of confusion.
2. Decreased Brand Value
Ineffective communication can also damage brands and turn-off customers. Remember the United Airlines fiasco from 2017? Video surfaced on social media of a customer’s bloody, violent removal from a flight. Then, the CEO Oscar Muniz released an “apology” that many considered tone deaf and victim blaming. This poor communication contributed to the airline’s stock losing $1.4 billion of market value in only a few hours.
3. Diminished Employee Growth
Poor communication may also keep employees from progressing. One analysis of LinkedIn profiles found a key difference between people who reached director-level roles within a decade and those who didn’t: Professionals who didn’t progress as quickly made 2.5 times more grammatical mistakes.
What can you do about it?
Building a clarity-focused communications culture takes commitment and planning. But for both organizations and their employees, the investment is worthwhile.
1. Calculate Your Confusion Costs
Inefficient communication probably costs your organization more than you think. Check out our Cost of Confusion calculator to find out how much money you’re losing each week.
2. Train Your Employees
Give your employees the skills they need to write effectively. Doing so can help them reduce the time they waste on unnecessary rewrites. And if you hire millennials, training isn’t just a nice perk — it’s a necessity. Whether they’re looking for a job or assessing their current role, this generation values learning and growth opportunities more than any other.
3. Solidify Your Verbal Brand
Once you understand your confusion costs and train your employees to write well, you also need to ensure your company has the framework to maintain consistent, compelling messaging. To accomplish this goal, you need a strong verbal brand. With this communications foundation, your employees will have the tools they need to efficiently and accurately uphold your brand and attract your target audiences.
Embracing a communications culture focused on clarity doesn’t happen overnight. But with the right strategies and training in place, you can help ensure that your employees position your brand for success with every word they write.