Earn a seven-fold ROI for a plain language investment

What if spending $1 could save you $7? What if spending $1,785 could save you $14,775?

What if your investment saved a team of three of your writers 1 working day a week? That’s 360 hours a year. And what if that investment saved your managers’ teams, line managers, and decision-makers time as well? You can achieve all these savings with a shift to plain language writing.

It’s easy to say that your organisation doesn’t have the resources and time to introduce plain language. But plain language will save you resources and time.

Calculating the cost of bad writing

We’ve based our calculations on simple assumptions. We used the calculator for counting the cost of wasting time with bad writing that’s on the website rewriteforchange.com. We estimated the cost for a team of three managers, each being paid $40 an hour.

We suggested they may each waste 3 hours a week on writing. Some examples: labouring over their own drafts, reviewing and rewriting their colleagues’ documents, and chasing other people to clarify information in documents and emails.

The calculator did the rest, telling us that bad writing wastes this team 360 hours a year, worth $16,560.

Calculating the investment and the savings

For the sake of our calculations, we then sent the three managers on our Business Writing workshop.

Three seats at a public workshop add up to $1,785. A plain language culture change would go much further than that. But plain language principles are at the heart of this workshop.

The workshop shows the managers techniques that simplify the task of writing, reduce the burden on their team and other readers, and make their reader’s job easy. If that saves each manager the full 3 hours a week, the $1,785 investment saves the team $14,775.

It’s a mathematical model. But it shows the concrete benefit of investing in plain language, for your three managers and many around them.

Making change that goes further and yields greater results

Transforming your whole organisation’s writing is a bigger job. It would touch the working lives of many more people than your three managers. It would involve much more than a workshop. And it has the power to bring much bigger, and more beneficial change.

(This blog post first appeared on rewriteforchange.com)

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