Poor spelling and grammar can affect your career, business and how you’re perceived as a professional, it has been revealed.
The lack of basic literacy skills among some younger employees and recent graduates has become such a problem for businesses that some are introducing language and grammar lessons.
Anna Underhill, a consultant at HR firm Maxumise, said that poor spelling and grammar use by employees has become a serious issue for employers.
According to Underhill, organisations spend large sums of money on corporate branding in logos and marketing only to have the good work undone by sloppy correspondence from employees.
“If that message isn’t coming across in all correspondence then that’s wasted,” the Daily Telegraph quoted her as saying.
“A lot of the abbreviated wording is done in social media but you can’t assume the person receiving it in a business sense knows what you’re talking about,” she said.
According to experts, grammar gaffes and poor spelling reflect badly not just on employers but also on employees.
Public Relations Institute of Australia head of marketing Kate Johns said many university graduates had a fundamental lack of understanding of basic grammar principles.
“It’s not their fault but that fundamental foundation is missing,” she said.
“I think it has become one of these things; it’s considered attention to detail where it should be part of the fundamental process,” Johns said.
Underhill said that email correspondence was particularly a problem for many employers because it sets the tone for the culture of the company.
But while employees were often given extensive inductions into company processes, basic grammar and spelling were ignored.
Marcus Ludriks, a manager at Essential Energy, recently organised language, spelling and grammar courses for 25 of the company’s engineers.
Ludriks said that the main issue was that his employees assumed readers would understand complicated statements.
Spelling and grammar coach Mary Morel said people understood grammar intuitively from listening and reading, but often didn’t know the “nuts and bolts”.
Some of the most common errors made by employees are mixing up “it’s” and “its”, missing up “effects” and “affects”, misuse of “which” and “that”, putting apostrophes in the plurals of acronyms, for example “KPI’s” instead of “KPIs” and switching between singular and plural when referring to company names, for example “Westpac are” instead of “Westpac is”.