Hello, I am the HR of a medium scale automation company which is mainly engaged into turnkey and various other kinds of automation solution projects. We are having a workforce of around 35 people.
Last day, my director asked me to solve out the problem of written communication in the organization for which I require all of your advice.
Please note that we are not having any unskilled employees, all of them are B. Tech / Dip. (Elect) or at least B. Com graduates. However, when it comes to drafting any formal communication in writing, they appear to be at their wits end. Neither is the writing grammatically proper, nor is the intention clear. Not that the people are not well conversant with English, still there is huge problem in their write-ups. Further, adding up to the problem is their egos, one cannot always poke them with their quality of writing.
The director does not want any 3rd party interaction at this stage, that is, we cannot go for any external trainers or facilitators at this point of time considering the financial as well as structural and functional constraints, loss of time will also be a huge factor.
I would therefore, request all of you to provide your valuable suggestions regarding what best could be done in this situation. Kindly help me to come out of it.
Awaiting your responses.
From India, Calcutta
PROFESSIONALS AND BUSINESSES PARTICIPATING IN DISCUSSION
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Process Industry Consultant / Soft Skill
Training, Motivational Speaker, Writing,
Dinesh DivekarDear Aditi,
Alas this post has come from member from Kolkata - a city has that has given best of the best journalists to the country.
Your problem is with the culture of the organisation. Initially you or your Director did not imbibe culture of proper English. Now you are reaping risks and rewards of it.
As a solution I can suggest to control this problem right at the stage of recruitment stage itself. Start taking test on written communication skills. Do not recruit the candidates who fail in this test.
The second solution is to create various templates. Find out on what topics most of the communication takes place. Make standard templates on those subjects. Employees have to just fill in the blanks.
The third solution is to create protocol of communication. How staffs should interact one another, how juniors should interact with seniors, how company employee should interact with outside agencies or consultants, advisers etc.
You have written that "The director does not want any 3rd party interaction at this stage, that is, we cannot go for any external trainers or facilitators at this point of time considering the financial as well as structural and functional constraints, loss of time will also be a huge factor."
Now my take is that your Director is looking this challenge only from the cost point of view. However, have you measured cost of poor communication? Have you measured cost of loss of time because of sending wrong messages? Have you measured the cost of brand image that took beating because of poor written communication?
Your employees are brand ambassador of the company. Whatever they do or do not do, promotes the brand image of the company. A well drafted letter also promotes brand image of the company. Your future business is going to depend on the brand pull that your company will have.
By the way, you cannot eradicate this menace of poor English overnight. Your post also needs corrections. However, sans knowledge of formal rules of written communication, how you will understand where you need correction? This is where role of external trainers come in. If it were possible to learn everything on one's own, then the world would have been far different and happy place to live! But then that is not the case.
Your post also exposes the limitations of downloads from Google or limitations of web resources. You can download ample material from Google but it does not get converted into skills.
Your Director will understand importance of hiring external consultant when he comes to know how he lost big business because of poorly drafted letter. But then will it not tantamount to closing the stable door after horse has bolted?
Dinesh V Divekar
From India, Bangalore
Dinesh DivekarDear friends,
I will conduct the above public workshop at Bangalore on September 27, 2012. If you wish to know more about the workshop, then you may click here to download the workshop brochure.
Dinesh V Divekar
From India, Bangalore
As I understand from your post, both English language skills as well as organizing the thought process forms part of the problem.
To improve the English language skills I strongly suggest that one must be encouraged and motivated to read extensively, speak in English as often as possible and of course attempt to write in English too. Insist that people speak in English and that they try and make more friends who speak in English. Allay their fear of being embarrassed or hurt if they are occasionally smirked or criticized because of their incorrect use of the English language. On the contrary point out that they can learn more when they are corrected and they note down their progress.
When reading, ask them to look up the meaning of new words. Suggest that they can improve their vocabulary by finding synonyms of words and using it. Encourage them to have a Dictionary as well as a Thesaurus and use both these extensively. Tell them not to be shy to find out people who have a good command of English and to seek their help when they want clarifications or help.
Since there are too many egos at play especially with seniors, you could possibly have to find innovative ways of implementing the suggestions given here. Perhaps you can have in house sessions on Effective Communications in English ( masquerading as employee engagement sessions) in which you share some of the sharing from here. Eg. Have a JAM (Just A Minute)session. This will drive attention to their pronunciation, diction, intonation, grammar etc. OR Having a fun game of What is the Good Word or a having a video episode of the serial Mind Your Language (please be careful of the copy right issues) or having a Crossword session or a Game of Chinese Whispers etc.
The next problem of writing must be tackled differently. In this context it is important to understand that some people are naturally gifted with the ability to write and express well, just as some others can articulate and speak well while others have an extraordinary gift of sketching and painting or are stronger in Maths and Science.
Does this mean that there is no hope for people who donít have a natural flair for languages or are relatively weak in communication skills? With diligence and practice every individual can improve. However it is essential that individuals have to understand their own style, adapt new techniques and work hard. To organize thoughts, read up on the Tony Buzzan Style of Mind Mapping which is a well known technique. If possible attend a workshop on that style. Then maybe you can introduce that to the employees. However I have neither attended such a program nor met any one who has undergone such a workshop so you have to check out on effectiveness and suitability of the same for you.
You can also introduce them to the classic 7íCís of effective communication. I am sharing a link on the same sourced from Citehr for your ready reference.
To assist you further I am sharing another 2 links. One on writing circulars and memos and the other on Effective Letter writing both of which I have again sourced from Citehr and in which I have shared my thoughts, which may add to what I have stated above.
I have developed my own style and the key is to begin with a simple starting point which could be in the form of a subject line (as you would do in a letter) so that the crux of the writing is clear first. This would give one the fulcrum around which to outline / enumerate the points. With this fulcrum in place, make a list of collaborating, competing, supporting and dysfunctional ideas. Each of these could possibly be the sub fulcrum of each paragraph or set of paragraphs. They can also act as sub ideas and sub titles. Now add meat to the skeleton using sentences peppered with action words, adjectives and the right tone.
To have an idea of my style of writing do visit my Inspirational and Motivational Blogs listed below
www.actspot.wordpress.com - Over 1,28,000 views and 785 followers
www.poweract.blogspot.com - Over 39,000 views and 205 followers
Hope the ideas expressed will give you a good starting point for you to prepare your employees to improve their English Writing skills.
Regards and Best Wishes
From India, Mumbai
V.RaghunathanHello Aditi Mitra,
The two long mails posted above details the various options
that you can choose from.
In addition to that you can do plenty of other things.
In your internal mail or in your notice board give a one point learning every day.
It can be a good phrase or a quote or a famous speech.
If you are having an IT engineer please see that spell check is made
compulsory before some one clicks a mail.
If mistakes come inspite of the above the concerned person will be held accountable.
Conduct training programmes after preparing well.
Make sure your own draft is perfect.
Please go through the text that you have posted.
You will notice some minor mistakes.
Wish you goodluck in your endeavour,
V.Raghunathan..................................... .... Navi Mumbai
job_connect_consultancyWhat Dinesh V Divekar and V.Raghunathan has suggested are necessary .
Its common problem in Kolkatta where people have the mind set to speak in Bengali . Schools . Colleges , Pvt and Public organizations all communicate in Bengali.
Every individual has some negative thing in them , you need to know that and use their weakness as your strength.
Show them monitory value , employee will get cash reward who will maintain good written communication . Email Etiquette is available from citehr search. Let them read it .
Your director need to take risk of additional 2k to 5k in a month, But realizing the mentality of employees in Kolkatta this suggestion should work out.
From India, Mumbai
Aditi_MitraThanks to all of you for your valuable feedback. I understand that I need to work upon my communication skills too, really thanks a lot, it was very helpful. Aditi
From India, Calcutta