Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Winner: Plain English Champion — Best Organisation 2014


Time for a selfie: Josh Chamberlain, Laura McGarrity and Matt Huntington, Deloitte with principal sponsor Lynda Harris, Write Limited

Judges’ comment

It is rare that an organisation so new to plain English would be chosen as a Champion, but the effort and creativity that went into creating a culture change in the organisation merits this recognition. You seem to understand that training alone will not sustain an initiative. Key to your success has been the support and reinforcement from top management, and your ability to engage employees from the bottom up. Their participation rate for voluntary training was impressive. One of our judges described it as ‘a gem of a campaign’; another called it ‘an amazing campaign’.

Media statement

Deloitte is delighted to win the award for 2014 Plain English Champion — Best Organisation.

One of our values is to ‘talk straight’ and we decided to explicitly extend this to written communication through a renewed focus on plain English in 2014.

We ran an internal campaign during July and August to raise awareness, provide resources, and support a longer-term shift in behaviour to use plain English as a way to improve our client relationships.

The overall theme, design elements, and content for our campaign were all produced in-house and we made sure to keep the tone deliberately light-hearted. We were aware that a topic like plain English could easily seem like a test, so we used humour as a key to encouraging staff engagement — as well as some modest prizes to provide incentive!

The centrepiece of our campaign was a firm-wide competition around two interactive online plain English quizzes. The quizzes were supported by online resources for plain English housed on a new plain English section of our intranet.

We are now using the heightened awareness and common vocabulary created by the campaign to integrate plain English into our learning and development strategy. And we will continue to keep plain English top of mind, challenging staff on a regular basis and making use of the design elements created for the initial campaign.

Our goal is to drive a sustained shift in behaviour to use plain English in all of our written communications at Deloitte.

The WriteMark Plain English Awards are a fantastic way to promote plain English in workplaces throughout New Zealand. We’d like to thank the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust for their hard work and dedication on behalf of this important initiative.

Matt Huntington
Senior Communications Manager