Raising the Bar for Written Communication
How Eclectic Communications created a customized training plan to improve writing skills and reduce editing time
All large organizations spend time and money writing and editing documents. One large, public sector organization has multiple human resources staff working in varied departments producing documents such as letters, reports and briefing notes. For an organization using public funds, quality and productivity are always important considerations.
Wasting time with edits and rewrites
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The public sector organization needed to reduce the time managers and directors spent reading, re-reading and rewriting documents produced by their staff. They experienced too much back and forth, and their managers were pulled away from other important tasks every time
they needed to rewrite documents. The organization’s goal was to ensure all HR staff wrote more effectively the first time. Specifically, they wanted staff to write more concisely and for the reader. They wanted staff to be better able to pull out key ideas and self edit.
Elevating employee writing skills
“Eclectic is well known for its written communication training and consulting services.”
- Senior Development Consultant

Management tasked their learning and development department, particularly their senior development consultant, with designing or finding training to improve the writing and editing skills of all human resources employees.

The senior consultant quickly turned to Eclectic Communications for help. “We have been using their services for several years and have received excellent feedback from learners and managers,” reported the consultant. “Whenever we

hired Eclectic, everyone was pleased with the outcome and the writing and editing improved.”

The organization and Marie Antaya, president of Eclectic Communications, worked together to complete a thorough needs assessment, which included interviews with key people and reviews of writing samples from staff. Eclectic then worked to build customized content based on this assessment.

Creating an effective training plan
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Each learner received personalized feedback from Kari once they completed the workshop.

Eclectic distributed a pre-workshop questionnaire to gauge learner needs. Learners also submitted writing samples that were assessed to identify individual writing skill levels. The learning materials Eclectic created, including the training manual, used examples from the sample documents, ensuring the content and activities were specific and relevant to the organization.

Eclectic aimed to teach learners to more clearly identify the purpose of a document and organize content logically. Learners would also learn to apply critical thinking skills to their writing and gain control over large volumes of information.

Kari Hasselriis from Eclectic delivered a workshop over two separate days, a week apart. This gave learners the opportunity to practise their newly learned skills then come back to the workshop with their experiences and questions.

The training also included a proof of learning assignment, which learners began working on after the first day of the workshop. They continued to refine their assignment during the second day of training. Learners received personalized feedback once they completed the workshop. The assignment and personalized feedback “is the added value from Eclectic,” said the senior consultant. “Vendors don’t usually do that, because they don’t understand training.”

What Eclectic provided as part of their training solution:
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Pre-workshop questionnaires to gauge learner needs and current skills
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Pre-workshop writing assessments detailing each learner’s skill level across multiple writing areas
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Customized training manuals that include real and relevant examples for the learners
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Two full-day workshops with one week between days for learners to practise their new skills
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Relevant tip sheets for use back in the workplace
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Proof of learning assignments to assess newly learned writing and editing skills
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Follow-up transfer of learning survey to gauge learner reaction and behavior
Witnessing the results of better writing
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“Eclectic understood our training needs and provided a well-thought out solution.”
- Senior Development Consultant

The organization and Eclectic have trained over 100 employees with the new program. The transfer of learning survey shows the employees are using their newfound skills. “It also shows an interest in continuing on,” Marie Antaya reports. “People want to continue to improve their skills.”

The senior consultant said at first, managers and learners thought they didn’t have time to complete a writing

process or use their new skills. But once they had started to apply this process, they realized they saved time when writing.

“Our experience was positive,” the senior consult reported. “Eclectic understands learning and development, which people don’t always get. They made a custom design, specific to our needs, as opposed to a canned workshop. They had a clear understanding of the client and the audience.”