What is the best way to respond to the writing of a student or a co-worker? If you work as a teacher or post-secondary instructor, your main concern might be efficiency: the sheer number of papers may pose your biggest challenge. That workload can take time from your other job requirements and your personal life. If you are working with co-workers or employees you supervise, managing the relationship with that person may well be the number one priority. You want to help them, but if you are too critical you risk offending them.
Let's start with students: In a recent episode on my Teaching Writing podcast, I reviewed the best practices for that context:
In the workplace, the context is much different. I've worked as a writing consultant to help employees learn how to create better documents faster. One of the keys to that work is to translate or even identify for the writers the criteria for good writing in their workplace. Those criteria change from one workplace to another, so building a firm understanding of what makes for good writing is a key starting point. After that has been established, we work on identifying how closely the writer's drafts have approximated the key criteria.
In many ways, best practices for workplace feedback are similar to classroom feedback: focus your comments, understand the key aspects of the documents being written, and make sure you encourage the person doing the writing. In the workplace, though, respect the power structure: you may not agree with the criteria for good writing in that workplace, but whoever is in charge gets to make that decision. Identify what they want, and help the writer give it to them.