With a global pandemic requiring that many higher education institutions transition to an entirely remote workforce, there are several factors that make it difficult to continue conducting business as usual. That can include technology issues, miscommunication and more. Some departments struggle to adapt to this new work scenario more than others.
One group that relies heavily on the collaborative atmosphere of being in a physical office together is the admissions team. But there are ways you can generate the same synergy in a remote environment. Consider the following advice as you adapt to the new normal of leading your admissions specialists from afar.
6 Tips for managing your admissions team remotely
This disruption to your work environment doesn’t have to negatively impact your team’s enrollment efforts. Here is some advice for keeping everyone connected and motivated while working remotely.
1. Conduct daily morning huddles
Many admissions groups hold routine team meetings in the office, so continue this practice virtually while team members are dispersed. If you have access to a video conferencing service, use it to connect everyone and deliver your daily topics.
This is an opportunity to simulate the same environment that exists in the office, one that encourages collaboration and comradery. Give individuals a chance to share any successes they’ve had or challenges they’ve faced. Keep it organized and upbeat, which can help set the tone for a productive day.
2. Identify clear objectives
In a remote setting, it’s easy to focus solely on activities accomplished throughout the day. The challenge can be connecting these activities to results or outcomes you are seeing with your students. It is important to understand why you are making calls or sending emails. For every activity-based goal have an end goal or outcome in mind. These key metrics are important to ensure that you meet institutional goals. In order to make those milestones more manageable, they should be broken down into daily and weekly targets based on tangible activities.
Trouble with time management and inability to focus are two common challenges that come with working remotely. Breaking out specific objectives for your team members will help them stay on task and on pace toward bigger milestones. They will know what’s expected of them and can be held accountable for their contributions.
Examples of objectives to focus on are: calls, emails, texts, contacts, appointments, application submits, completed applications, etc. It might make sense to help the team break out their day so they are working on different stages of the funnel during different blocks of time throughout the day.
3. Document expectations and record results
Working with your team to set manageable objectives is a good start, but it doesn’t guarantee that everything will fall into place from there. It’s your responsibility as the team leader to ensure targets are being hit and everyone is pulling their weight.
Conduct regular check-ins with individuals to keep a pulse on how they’re feeling and how they are tracking toward their objectives. Keep a running record of the group’s efforts and make these results visible. It can be rewarding for team members to keep a pulse on their progress and see how their individual actions impact the institution’s greater enrollment goals.
4. Celebrate wins
One key advantage of breaking down large goals into smaller objectives is that you’ll meet smaller milestones along the way – both individually and as a team. It’s important to celebrate these successes, especially when everyone is working in seclusion.
Create small contests to gamify the work day and stimulate excitement and competition among the group. You could even have team members participate in setting up challenges. The bottom line is that making sure your team is having fun will keep them engaged and motivated.
5. Leverage collaboration tools
Communication is absolutely vital to your admissions team’s success. You’ll quickly realize how true this is when you’re no longer working with each other side-by-side. Remote communication isn’t as simple, but there are ways to stay in contact in a virtual environment.
Use tools with shared access so your team members can feel connected throughout the day. Use platforms like OneNote, Google docs or a group email to collaborate, allowing individuals to update and refine information. If possible, take advantage of instant messaging tools like Skype, Microsoft Teams, Slack or Google Hangouts to provide an opportunity for quick communication between team members in real time.
6. Have fun and stay positive
A little positivity can go a long way. While working as a fully remote admissions team is not an ideal scenario, it’s important to make the most of the situation. Your role as a leader is to energize and encourage your admissions team just as you would in the office (perhaps even more!)
Embrace the challenge and learn as you go. You may even see an increase in productivity and identify effective tactics you can maintain when your team is able to reunite in the office once again.
Stay connected and motivated
There’s a reason admissions representatives work better in teams. They can learn from their colleagues, encourage one another and lean on each other while working toward a collective goal. By following the advice above, you can preserve that team atmosphere in your newly remote work environment.
Don’t let this short-term disruption have long-term implications on your institution’s enrollment goals. If you’re looking for help, Collegis Education has years of experience providing training and support to admissions team. Our team of experts in prepared to help your institution overcome challenges specific to COVID-19 by providing assistance with informational messaging for prospective students, engagement communication protocol, staffing and tracking, virtual training and development for admissions staff and more.