Business Writing Tuesday Tip: Using the word ‘Staff’.
When business writing, the word ‘staff’ is regularly used to describe employees, personnel and team.
‘Staff’ is generally considered a singular word as it’s a collective and therefore takes the singular version of the verb; think a cake rather than slices of cake.
However, if you are referring to individuals of the collective, then it is right to use the plural verb.
So it really depends on the objective of your document. Use the below as a guide the next time you write using the word ‘staff:
“We know how important front of house staff is to your business” – You’re talking about the collective as a whole as important.
“We know how important front of house staff are to your business” – You’re talking about the individuals who make up your front of house team as important.