How we helped Absa to improve the quality of their business writing and produce better reports

South Africa

2-Day Programme

195 Delegates

In-Person and Virtual

99% Exceeded Expectations

The Challenge

Effective writing is one of the best ways to influence and persuade and so much of our everyday communication happens in writing, yet many people are not sufficiently empowered to create effective business documents. Poor writing risks losing the reader and not meeting its objectives.

Absa wanted to empower their internal audit team with the skills to write highly impactful reports that would inspire action and business improvements.

The Solution

Key Steps implemented a practical and experiential programme, introducing the team to style and structure techniques and ways to improve their thinking and writing based on current best practices.

Candidates underwent pre- and post-assessments to measure writing improvement, identify areas for development, and assess the programme’s success.

Our customised approach, including assignments, exercises, tools, techniques, and continuous feedback, yielded positive results.

5 Stars

Visible shift and improvement in the quality of our reports!

Sharon, thank you for the excellent training. I have not only observed a renewed passion in myself and my team for writing, but I’ve seen a visible shift and improvement in the quality of our reports. I was so pleased that our second day on Zoom (because of Covid) created a platform on par with, or even better than, a face-to-face session. I highly recommend this training to all professionals.

Theo De Jager, Head: Audit and CIB, Absa

I loved this session and even preferred virtual!

Sharon is an exceptional facilitator and ensures that everyone participates and is kept engaged. I loved this session and even preferred the virtual to the classroom style session; it is more effective and efficient. Thanks so much Sharon. You are honestly one of the best training facilitators I have come across to date.

Mariska Bothma, Data Analytics Portfolio Manager: CIB and Functions, Absa

I got way more out of this session than expected!

This has to be one of the most practical yet concise report writing workshops I have attended. I got way more out of this session than I expected. The practicality of the training has started rigorous debate in our department to improve our reports.

Rochelle Mungal, Head of CIB Compliance Monitoring & Testing, Absa

This was a great investment!

Thank you for such a valuable and practical programme. I see the improvement in the team’s writing and my reviewing time has been significantly reduced. The tools you provided and the way it has improved the process we follow and the way we extract and articulate value, has been invaluable We are continually reinforcing what was learnt and I’ve recommended you to several colleagues. This was a great investment.

Andisha Rambajan, Head: Financial Crime Assurance, Absa

The Results

The ultimate compliment was when the client expressed that they…

“Could immediately see who had attended the training and who had not yet been through the programme without even looking at a training register.”

The increase in the quality of their writing was immediately visible.

During the Covid lockdown, the programme rollout was paused at 60% completion, with around 30 learners having only finished half of it. Three weeks into lockdown, the client requested online delivery, which proved to be highly successful. This success led to the repetition of the intervention in various divisions, such as Financial Crime Assurance, Corporate Investment Banking, and the Model Risk Team.

The Feedback

Across 195 survey responses, Absa participants rated their Key Steps learning experiences extremely favourably.


Facilitator’s knowledge


Content relevant and practical


Engaging climate of participation


Applied the tools and feel more confident writing

Technical Pre- and Post-Assessment Results

The assignment was scored out of 100. The chart shows improvements, with an average pre-assessment score of 43.9 and a post-assessment score of 75.6. The overall improvement was 72.3% after two to three weeks of practice. Formatting improved by 105.7%, and Overall Reading Ease increased by 72.5%, addressing significant skill gaps.

Technical Assessment Results


Within 2 weeks of practice, writing improved by 73% across 10 core criteria.


Reviewer time was significantly decreased across all divisions.


Key stakeholders quickly noticed improved writing quality.


Delegates grew confidence, consistently improving through interrogation and refinement.


Made a visible difference to my teams’ report writing!

Sharon’s training has made a visible difference to the impact of my teams’ report writing. I could see an immediate improvement, following her workshops. I have had similar positive feedback from my peers and have a high regard for her abilities and professionalism. Having seen her work prior to and during the COVID-19 lockdown, I know Sharon to be a resilient service provider, who finds innovative ways to address her clients’ needs, despite any challenges at hand.  

Pieter Roos