I am a systems thinker. As soon as I enter a new. . .whatever. . .I start seeing the systems in place (or that need to be in place). My head starts designing the inputs and outflows, the structures of what is happening or should be happening, the way it works.
Today’s post is by David Guyor, an Associate at InterLearn. His area of focus is Recruiting and Enrollment.
Over the past 25 years, I have worked in new client development, university corporate development, and college admissions. In each role I have seen a simple strategy prove itself again and again. This strategy comes from a sales approach called Strategic Selling and it’s expressed in a phase:
“The right activities lead to the right results.”
In my consulting work with colleges and universities, clients have benefited from this piece of wisdom in different ways. Whether it is improving traditional or adult student recruiting efforts or improving area business development to create recruiting opportunities, a consistent process of the right activities has led to better results in every case.
The key to the phrase is the word right. Recruiting really improves when it is given the right priority, by the right people, involved in the right amount, of the right activities, targeted at the right populations, at the right time(s).
Take several moments for an honest assessment of your school’s recruiting efforts. I’ve never met a client who said that recruiting isn’t important, but after a few brief questions and some conversation, it becomes clear that the recruiting department is pretty much on its own, with other departments and staff thinking that growing the school is the priority of someone else. But, we wholeheartedly disagree.
On various levels, enrollment involves, quite literally, everyone. I remember a famous president of a state university who was known for his amazing ability to know the names of virtually every student he encountered on campus. Now, he didn’t believe his primary role was recruiting, but he did believe that he had a significant influence on the image and growth of the university. He was interested, intentional, and always engaged in the growth of the school. Through his efforts of engaging current and future students, he was part of the enrollment efforts.
I have worked with faculty who also understood the importance of their role in networking, engaging their students in providing referrals and acting as a spokesperson for their school. They loved their work, believed in the school’s mission, and knew that they could play a positive role in growth.
Every department, to a person, should have a focus on enrollment and recruitment. So, for example, how can the registrar’s function make recruiting a priority, and who are the right people, the right kind of activities, and the right amount of these activities to allow the registrar’s office to positively impact recruiting? In other words, is there a clear understanding of how academic counseling, registration and even financial aid impact recruitment and re-enrollment? Are there clear expectations in place for this?
Department heads, department staff, faculty instructors, student leaders, chaplains, and student life staff all can, and should, know the goals for growth that their school is committed to and everyone should know, in practical ways, how they can make achieving these goals a reality.
When a positive culture of pride and energy is developed where everyone knows that promoting, inviting, networking, and enthusiastically representing the college is everyone’s responsibility and everyone’s privilege, growth in all kinds of ways is contagious and great things happen.