Integrating Plain Language in Your Corporate Culture
Integrating plain language into your workplace culture means managing change. Some people may not immediately support or easily adapt to change. But, support, enthusiasm and commitment are all important aspects of becoming a plain language workplace. So how do you get people to make a long-term commitment to the process?
Successful cultural change requires strong planning:
- Recognize your current culture
- Set clear goals that integrate and lead
- Motivate individuals to embrace the change.
Share the benefits of plain language to everyone (staff, customers, shareholders). Seeing the benefits can accelerate acceptance. As can orientation and training in the new approach. Clear communication research also shows a 50% increase in client satisfaction.
Most people must write and re-write or edit facing tight deadlines. Plain language benefits have a broad appeal, including about a 50% reduction in:
- time spent writing
- time required to review
Current Culture Audit
Begin with a communication audit:
- Find out who is doing the writing?
- How much time is spent on tasks?
- How many people must sign-off on a specific document?
- What scope of information is being created?
- Which media will you use: print, web, video?
Now outline how plain language can help you streamline the process and improve results internally and externally.
Culture Change Goals
Change requires clear goals, benchmarks, leadership and lots of communication. Integrate plain language into all leaders’ work. Put plain language on all meeting agendas. Seeing is believing and actions speak louder than words. Once the leadership team are seen as plain language champions, knowledgeable and committed, you can move the culture shift throughout the organization.
Motivating to Create Change
Commit to ways to motivate, reward, and learn from plain language advocates on staff. Give everyone the tools, training and time to integrate it. Share successes widely. Let your clients know when you achieve a goal toward clear communication. Consult clients on the impact
Plain language benefits can reach far. People want clarity and information that’s accessible. A change that saves time, money and mistakes can make you stand out from the crowd. Embrace it, integrate it, celebrate it.
See Nielsen Norman Group research insights: Plain Language for Everyone, Even Experts.