3 Ways to Reduce Your Colleges Administrative Burdens
3 Ways to Reduce Your Colleges Administrative Burdens
Karen Cherrett
Karen Cherrett
Best Practices & Tips

3 Ways to Reduce Your Colleges Administrative Burdens

Administrative staff at colleges often face overwhelming workloads due to outdated systems. This blog post explores how CRM systems like ConexED can alleviate these burdens by automating tasks, fostering cross-departmental collaboration, and empowering staff through comprehensive training. By leveraging CRM technology, colleges can create a more efficient, collaborative, and positive work environment, ultimately benefiting the entire institution.

The lifeblood of any college is its administrative staff. But these unsung heroes often face crushing workloads and mountains of paperwork. These staff have pressure put on them to meet quotas of enrolled students, or students that complete their studies. They must think bigger picture for both the college and every student.

Oftentimes the systems colleges use aren’t set up to support staff to do their job efficiently. These systems may be disparate or disconnected. They may not create a simple and easy workflow that unburdens staff.

Here are 3 ways your college can leverage a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, like ConexED, to reduce administrative burdens, create administration efficiencies, and therefore a happier, more productive work environment:

1. Leverage CRM Technology for Automation and Streamlining

Repetitive tasks like data entry, form processing, and scheduling can eat up valuable time for your administrative staff, hindering their efficiency. Taking processes that have been manual or disconnected and linking them or automating them can be a big learning curve for staff already stressed and under pressure.

Investing in a CRM system designed to automate these processes and streamline workflows may seem as though it will create more problems for your staff. If change management doesn’t empower staff, that will be the case.

Making the best use of a CRM system is as much about making staff aware of the change and how it will impact them. When staff understand the process change and its impact on their workflow, they are more likely to embrace it.

Understanding the process changes and system functionalities will boost their comfort with the CRM system. They will understand the benefits and see the value of implementing it in their college and department.

Once your staff become comfortable using the new CRM system, they will feel confident in their ability to make the most of it. Staff can set up alerts and triggers for reporting purposes and to engage with students earlier. The new CRM system’s value will show through less stressed and more productive staff.

Without the proper change management process to support and reinforce staff members' knowledge on why and how the CRM system can make their life easier, the college won’t get the best value from their investment.

The CRM functionalities your college will want to consider streamlining 

Online forms: Allow students to submit applications, register for classes, and update information electronically, reducing paper usage, data entry errors, and improving data quality within your CRM database.

Automated workflows: CRM systems can automate workflows for tasks with defined steps, like financial aid processing, transcript requests, or alumni outreach, freeing up staff for more strategic interactions.

Document management: A CRM system often integrates with document management tools, allowing for electronic storage, organization, and sharing of documents, eliminating the need for physical copies and simplifying retrieval, all within the CRM platform.

Benefits of Automating and Streamlining

Automating tasks through a CRM system frees up your staff to focus on higher-level work that requires human judgment and interaction. Focusing on the individual student or student cohort should be the prime reason for each team member.

Reducing the administrative burden and time spent on administrative tasks allows staff to truly do what they are paid to do, support the students attending your college. And that support starts when the student is considering studying at your college and doesn’t end.

Streamlining and automating also allows greater cohesiveness across the entire college, at key touch points in a student's journey. Having a system with visibility of the conversations and interactions that have taken place with a student allows everyone to see where a stalling point is. This visibility means something can be done sooner, rather than later, to attend to the students' needs.

Implementing automation and streamlining through a CRM implementation not only improves efficiency but also boosts morale by reducing tedious and repetitive tasks, allowing staff to leverage the power of the CRM for more strategic relationship building.

2. Foster a Culture of Collaboration and Communication

Siloed departments and unclear communication channels can lead to redundancy, wasted effort, and hinder the effectiveness of your teams. Implementation of a CRM system can assist with breaking down the silos. Visibility of communication can lead to stronger collaboration.

Fostering a collaborative environment where staff from different departments can communicate and share information easily, not only streamlines the administrative experience but lessens stress. Ultimately it also improves the students' experience.

When staff across the college campus don’t need to think about whether a meeting has been followed up on, or set, or that information on a student's issue has been communicated, it makes life easier for college staff.

The more collaboration and cross-department communication the more support a student can receive, the higher the likelihood of student success and the less staff feel burdened.

Ways a CRM system can help with collaboration

Cross-departmental meetings: Organize regular meetings for staff from different departments to discuss common challenges and brainstorm solutions, ensuring everyone is on the same page about departmental and college strategy.

Collaboration tools within the CRM system: Many CRM systems offer built-in collaboration tools for staff to share documents, updates, notes, and best practices directly within the CRM platform. This fosters a sense of shared responsibility, streamlines information flow, and ensures everyone has a holistic view of student interactions.

Standardize procedures: Develop standardized procedures for common tasks across departments, ensuring data consistency within the CRM. This reduces confusion and ensures everyone is entering and utilizing information within the CRM effectively.

Benefits of Cross-College Communication and Collaboration

Improved communication and collaboration, supported by your CRM system, eliminates duplication of effort and ensures everyone has the information they need to do their jobs effectively.

This creates a more positive work environment, reduces stress, and allows staff to leverage the CRM for more effective outreach and relationship management.

It also provides full visibility of each student's journey within the college. This helps reduce the burden on specific departments to monitor and track student progress. Collaboration through use of a CRM system allows more involvement from the right staff. It also assists with reducing the time needed to engage other support from other teams within the college.

Setting up cross functional meetings is much easier with visibility of other staff members calendars, all inside the one system. The All-In-One nature of ConexED means more collaboration due to not needing to go between different systems to complete tasks.

3. Empower Staff Through Training and Development for Improved CRM Usage

Staff who feel inadequately trained on a CRM system can become discouraged and disengaged, hindering the full potential of any CRM investment.

The importance of managing the change association with a CRM system implementation cannot be stressed enough. It is not enough to provide some initial high level training on the system's functionality.

Managing the change occurring to processes, and day-to-day work life are just as key as the CRM implementation itself. If your college manages the change initiative well, the benefits and value of the CRM implementation will shine through due to the level of engaged staff you have.

This will then flow through to efficiencies, staff no longer feeling burdened by the administrative task component of their roles, meaning higher levels of engagement and student attention.

Benefits of Good CRM Implementation

By investing in your staff’s development and ensuring proficiency in the CRM system, you empower them to take ownership of their roles and make valuable contributions to the college. 

This leads to higher job satisfaction, reduced turnover, and a more skilled and confident workforce. A workforce who can effectively utilize the CRM system to build stronger relationships with students, alumni, and donors.

Benefit Everyone at Your College Through Reduced Administrative Burdens

Reducing administrative burdens and boosting efficiencies through implementation of a CRM system benefits everyone at the college. By leveraging a CRM system like ConexED, fostering collaboration, and investing in staff change management, colleges can create a more efficient, productive, and positive work environment for their administrative staff. 

This, in turn, contributes to a smoother-running institution that better serves students, faculty, alumni, and donors through a more strategic and data-driven approach to relationship management. It also helps with reporting on initiatives, outcomes and finance driven tasks, meaning everyone in the college administration has the desired visibility of outcomes versus strategy. Reporting on student success and student engagement become easier.

The overall staff experience is one of empowerment, knowledge, and collaboration. This leads to happier workplaces and more engaged staff.

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