We don't know how the Word docs are, but I strongly recommend to build up a system of style sheets and do all formatting in InDesign with style sheets only: Paragraph Styles, Character Styles, Object Styles, Table Styles, Cell Styles and Master pages.
My generic Word-and-ID-only translation workflow is: to create perfectly-styled InDesign documents as Willi suggests, then export RTF from ID, let the translators work on those RTFs in Word, re-flow the translated RTFsback into ID, and then clear the overrides induced by the translators.
We don't know who "they" are when you say
Ive started a new job where they are doing all content editing in word
but if you have any ability whatsoever to affect the workflow at your new job, then it'd be worth it to tell 'em "Hey, you guys, can you use this template? If you stick to it you'll save our company umpteen million bucks."
However, seeing as you're new there, you probably have no influence in this area. So maybe you'd rather let your "they" do whatever it is they do in Word, and then clean up afterwards in ID. There are some scripts that will help you out here. But if you wanted The Summary Of Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Working WIth Word And InDesign, I'd suggest Anne-Marie Concepcion's series of videos about Word and ID at lynda.com.
Thanks for the replies. Let me expand on the original question and offer some backround. I trully appreciate your help.
The "they" are the editors who are writing all the content from scratch in word. The company has indesign master pages but the designer has since left leaving them a long workflow of writting and proofing all the content in word then migrating the text and graphics into the indesign template. What they know is to place all the text in the indesign template and apply the styles from there taking them upwards of 2 hours. There are 3 layers involved making matters worse. There is no style being done in word so I can't map anything to the indesign styles. I've tried using incopy as a mediator but find I'm doing just as much work as in indesign.
I do have the ability to enact change at the company and for new documentation I'll be moving them into an incopy-indesign workflow (Ive been viewing Anne-Marie Concepcion's series of videos about Word and ID at lynda.com) as you mentioned.
My goal now is to find any shorcuts or advice into getting all the word docs into indesign as quickly and painlessly as possible. They have abot 100 or so completed word documents waiting to be imported.