By Ethan Penland, Director of Admissions Services
4 minute read
As you begin a new year, there is still plenty of uncertainty ahead of what the latter half of this recruitment cycle will bring. Whether it’s uncertainty about the impact of the new variant, the uncertainty of how recruitment will appear for the spring semester and beyond, or will your institution reach or exceed your enrollment goals, there is plenty to reflect upon and discuss.
After re-listening to a great podcast episode from The Admissions Directors LunchCast, I thought it would be timely and beneficial to discuss how admissions leaders can effectively prepare their team for the second half of the recruitment cycle.
Whether you plan to offer a mid-year training workshop for your team, or you have yet to explore this opportunity, here are a few tips and perspectives to consider:
- Hold individual meetings prior to the workshop – Too often, the first time leaders show data and discuss strategy is in a group setting. This can be ineffective because you will get more individualized questions than contributions to the conversation that can help the entire group. Before your team meeting, conduct individual meetings to discuss the data and strategy that uniquely applies to each person and their responsibilties. That way, when you address something as a group, individuals are able to contribute their identified strategies to better support the conversation.
- Break down the spring – Do you have a team that is new to spring travel and recruitment, or a veteran staff with years of experience? Maybe you have a mix of both? Regardless of who is in the room, each spring is different (especially in recent years), and there is always an opportunity to learn. I appreciate the approach many leaders will take by laying out the spring semester from a month-to-month perspective. Within each month, identify what typically occurs and why, how to best approach each month, and then set a level of expectations for the team. Also, take a portion of this time to discuss and plan for objections by students and parents that could potentially arise as you’re trying to convert. Segmenting the spring allows for a more digestible understanding instead of providing the whole spring on a platter. But remember, always give context to each month and how they influence the next and the spring as a whole.
- Be a secondary voice, at times – Mid-year workshops are not just for your team–they are also for you. As a leader, I encourage you to try and gain insight from your counselors/staff. Doing so will help you better understand how your team is growing individually and collectively. Furthermore, if you don’t have a territory or are not typically recruiting to the same volume as your team, your perspective may not resonate to the same degree as someone who recruits consistently. Sure, as the leader, you are giving helpful advice and perspective, but by adding in various perspectives, especially from seasoned individuals who are in similar positions as those who are new to your team, your message can actually carry more weight.
- Identify and discuss team needs – As a leader, this is a great opportunity to seek how your team is feeling as a whole, and what they need to succeed for the spring semester. Do they need more guidance from you? Do they need more training on various topics? Do they need more time to complete tasks? Regardless of what the needs are, you need to encourage sharing and be open to listening. Set the expectation that your goal is to advocate or implement opportunities for their needs to be met, but that not all may be met. The point of this practice is to gain a perspective into how to keep your team motivated down the stretch. Even if you are only able to meet one or two needs, your actions show you are trying to support them to your best ability, and that you are valuing them and their work.
- Reflect on the wins from the fall semester – Use a portion of your training workshop to highlight what your team accomplished, along with recognizing a few successes of each team member with the group. Kicking off the training with a positive and uplifting approach can set the tone for collaboration and belonging in the discussion. Encourage your team members to write down and share their own successes they are proud of for themselves, and the successes they recognized of their team members.
- Remind your team WHY – It is easy to stray away from the reason why your team’s best efforts are so important, especially after grinding through a long fall semester. Take time to reflect on why it is important to continue to collaborate, share ideas and put your best foot forward as an individual and as a recruitment team. At the end of the day, you are in a role that impacts and changes lives, so reminding your team of that will hopefully be added motivation to give their best.
Taking time to plan for a mid-year workshop can be time-consuming, but it’s a worthwhile investment in your staff that will enhance their ability to influence students down the stretch. Not only will they feel more prepared for what is to come, but they will feel more motivated to give their best because you are giving your best to them.
If you have questions about how to approach your mid-year training workshop, or you’re interested in having us take it off your to-do list, let’s talk. Connect with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sending me a message on Twitter.