If your company isn’t currently using templates for routine communications, you might want to rethink that. Whether you own a small business or you’re the manager of a Fortune 500 company, you doubtless want to improve your efficiency.
Templates are a great way to ensure that happens. They help lower employee stress levels, ensure uniformity of branding, and ooze professionalism. Whether implementing meeting agenda templates or imposing strict control over your social media posts, here are five reasons to consider using templates, and four types to try.
Why Should You Use Templates?
1. They Reduce Mistakes
In every work setting, there’s going to be some risk of human error. No one is perfect. By utilizing templates, your employees minimize the likelihood of making mistakes.
For instance, let’s say you manage a public relations team. Every day, your employees send hundreds of emails to potential clients. Chances are that at least one of those emails will have an error. It might be a grammatical mistake or a missing bit of information. You can avoid this by creating a template your employees use when they initially reach out to every prospective client.
Templates can provide a structure that’s easy to follow. Your employees won’t have to start from scratch and potentially make mistakes.
2. They Save Time
We live in a world of now. Not only do clients want information ASAP, but employees don’t want to spend more time than needed on menial work. For many personality types, drafting emails, creating invoices, estimating proposals, and so on are considered menial work.
According to research, employees spend almost 28% of the workday reading and responding to email. While that might not sound like much time, it’s more than two hours. Considering the average employee works approximately eight hours a day, that’s a lot of time. Now multiply that percentage by the number of employees at your organization. Imagine how much work an employee could accomplish through the use of templates.
3. They Help Your New Hires
Onboarding new hires is an expensive part of the hiring process. The average cost per hire can run into thousands of dollars. With numbers like that, you want to make sure your new hires are getting the most out of the experience. Templates can be part of the onboarding experience.
Using templates, new employees won’t have to start tasks from scratch. They won’t have to figure out your preferred format for a meeting agenda, say, or how to draft a social media post. They can hit the ground running because they’ll have your template to use as an outline.
4. They Improve and Standardize Presentation
Not every employee is a design guru. They might be able to close a sale, but that doesn’t mean they know how to create a company newsletter. This is where a template can come in handy. Instead of relying on your employee’s talent, they can use a preapproved format.
Templates also ensure that your company brand is showcased properly. Think about it. All of your employees have different personalities and different ways of communicating. You might have one employee who likes using exclamation points and another who enjoys adding emojis to every Slack.
Neither of those communication preferences may be how you want your company represented. A template ensures uniformity of design, voice, and content. Your preferred branding is baked right in.
5. They Target Communications Effectively
Templates provide a great way to ensure your people are communicating with your clients effectively. They also streamline outreach efforts for your employees.
The use of templates can also help you catch typos and misfires. For example, let’s say you’ve been using the same template for months. Your clients don’t seem to be impressed. Your employees are still being asked the same questions. These are indicators that you might need to develop a new template.
Which Templates Should You Try?
You’re convinced that templates will save you time, hassle, and frustration. Great! So where do you start? Listed below are four common places you might begin.
How much time do you spend crafting an email from scratch? Think about how much of that time could be directed elsewhere if all of your employees had access to email templates.
Using an email template, employees simply have to fill in the blanks. They may only need to change the client’s name and company, depending on whom they’re sending the message to and the level of personalization you encourage.
2. Professional Bios
Writing your company bio can be a daunting task. By using a professional bio template, your employees won’t feel as uncomfortable writing about themselves.
In addition, this type of template will create more uniformity on your company’s website. Instead of one bio being two sentences and another half a page, every listing will look similar and highlight the same information.
3. Meeting Agendas
How many times have you spent wondering how long a meeting will take or what exactly will be covered? Meeting agendas help remove the guesswork. Not only do they assist the person leading the meeting, but they also give attendees an idea of what to expect.
Not everyone knows how to run an effective meeting. A meeting agenda template helps keep things on track. It’s easier to modify the template with information that’s relevant. Agendas can then be distributed so participants have time to prepare.
4. Social Media Posts
Social media can be tricky. It can take some trial and error for companies to figure out exactly which type of post resonates with their audience. Once you’ve figured out what works, make sure you develop a template. Thankfully, there are several platforms that allow users to create templates to distribute on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on.
While the use of templates will definitely improve overall productivity, the creation and maintenance of these resources should be an ongoing affair. Do your best to strike a balance between uniformity of branding and coming off as stale or canned. Templates make life easier for you and your employees, but implemented correctly, they also enhance customer satisfaction.