I have been in the higher education sector for the last fifteen years of my career. Primarily working with admissions managers and admissions representatives. I have worked in the for-profit sector, the non-profit private sector, and even the public sector.
As a manager myself for many years, and as a consultant for just as many, I have found the following 21 ideas, things, excuses, or whatever you want to call them. To be true in every one of the higher education groups I have worked with.
I am not only blaming the admissions representatives or the schools themselves for this lack of motivation. They are all in it together. From the top down, everybody has to be held accountable and understand the mission. And no matter what your Tax status says you are. For-Profit, Non-Profit, or Public, no institution would exist if they didn’t have students paying tuition.
Ultimately, this responsibility falls on the admissions representatives and the admissions managers. They are both equally responsible for the livelihood of the school.
Here are 21 things that could help you diagnose the problem you might have on your team right now. I am not going to solve your problem in this blog post. However, the first step to all change is realizing that you need to make a change.
After you read the post, if you feel like your team needs some additional skills please reach out to me. I have perfected a training system for Admissions Teams. We call our product the Admissions Advantage.
Do you want an advantage for your team and your school? If so, let’s have a conversation. If not, use this information and make the necessary changes. It is up to you.
21. They don’t like their job
I don’t know why they don’t like their job. It could be a variety of different reasons. They don’t believe in what they do, or they don’t believe in the leadership. You need to find out why and see if this can change. If not, you know what needs to be done.
20. They don’t see a career path for growth.
On the first day of the job everybody wants to know two things. After they learn how much they are getting paid. What is it that I am responsible for? And where do I fit in here? They want to see where they are now and where they could be in the future. Show them.
19. They don’t know the bigger picture.
Show them the marketing budget, show them the instructional budget, show them everything. And then show them how the revenue they generate from the students they enroll make the budget work.
18. You have some toxic people on the team bringing everyone else down.
Who are the negative people. All teams have them. You have to get rid of them ASAP. Why haven’t you? Quit waiting.
17. They don’t get respect from other departments
Admissions representatives are going to push other people to do things they don’t want to do. They should do it respectively, but at the same time, they need to have the respect across the board from the other departments. Everybody in the institution needs to know that without students none of them will exist. Period.
16. They are too focused on their next steps instead of the current step they are on.
If we aren’t happy in what we are doing we are going to be looking for what the next step is. In many colleges and schools this is usually being done on the schools dime. With additional educational benefits. I am a fan of this, but admissions representatives must be doing their full-time job first.
15. They have too much free time.
Free time is not good for any of us. Especially an admissions representative. If your people are not seeing enough prospective students then you have to figure out a way to get everyone busier. Too much free time will make them lazy and they will get in trouble.
14. They don’t know the consequences of missing budget or goals
When is the last time you wrote someone up or let someone go because of a lack of performance. I understand that everybody got a little scared under the previous administration and the rules. However, if you don’t have consequences for not doing your job, then mediocrity will creep in and kill your school.
13. They don’t know what excellence looks like
I have seen it a hundred times. You have one person that is killing it. And that becomes the standard. What if their standard is not that high though? Then everybody else is trying to live up to a low standard. Get some A players in and set some new standards.
12. They don’t know what it means to own something
If your staff is younger, the chances are they haven’t lived long enough to truly own something. You must teach them how to own their career and their goals on the job. This will keep them motivated to performing.
11. They are short timers
You have some people who just took this job because it is the one they were offered. And you were sold in the interview. If this is the case get them out and make them really short timers.
10. Top leadership doesn’t remind them of how important they are.
A supervisor must be setting the standard every single day and showing the team appreciation. However, the top leadership must do it often as well. It just means more when they hear it from the top leadership.
9. Direct supervisors are uninspiring.
If you are a manager and are reading this. I am sorry. It has just been my experience. The question I have for you. Are you motivated? If not. Why not? What can you do to get excited again?
8. They don’t know what accountability is.
Accountability is a bad word. Everybody says they like it until they get it. But without it, there is no motivation to do better. You must have systems in place that not only inspire the team to perform better, but you also have to have systems in place that show them when they don’t and what happens if they continue to not perform well.
7. They are too close for their own good.
If your institution has hired a lot of graduates of your school then you know what I mean here. They are either selling the schools features too hard and their experiences, or they talk to candidly about all of the problems with the school. Either way, you have to teach them some skills to eliminate some of these tendencies.
6. They know they aren’t very good and they are being allowed to stay.
Most people know when they aren’t performing very well. And if they are being allowed to do it, they will just ride it out as long as they can. Why not. Especially if this is your first position in your career. Management must figure this out immediately and make the changes.
5. They aren’t bought in.
Again this is a management problem. If you have some people on the team they aren’t bought in, you must figure out why. And it all starts with creating a plan for their career and their growth while there. Everybody needs to see how they can grow in their career and make more money ultimately. When you do this. They will buy in to this path and their current position.
4. They lack the communication skills required.
If you suck at communication, which unfortunately is not a skill that is learned the way it used to be. Then you aren’t going to be able to communicate to people internally or to your prospective students in a way that encourages them and motivates them to want to attend school.
3. They haven’t learned any people skills.
Similar to communication. People skills aren’t being taught the way they used to be. The bottom line is that we have to teach people what basic people skills are, and then build upon that and teach them what it means to influence other people.
2. They are scared to be assertive.
If you have grown up being passive and have never been taught what it means to take initiave and make things happen, then you wont know how to do it. You have to show them how.
1. They don’t have the self-confidence.
Some people think that the younger generation has too much self-confidence when they get on the job. However, they don’t have the self-confidence to do what it takes to get people to walk through the doors to your institution. This requires the confidence to say hard things and be assertive and direct with parents and their peers. This again, is not something that is being taught, but it can be taught.
Wherever you are reading this blog, I would love to get your feedback and thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? What else would you add?
Here is the one thing that I want to share. All of the ideas in this article can be trained. You can increase a persons self-confidence by increasing their skills. If you aren’t investing in your admissions representatives development. And I don’t mean formal education. I mean real skill development on how to communicate to people to take action, phone skills to get people to call you back, and all the skills required to perform at their job better. Reach out to me and let’s have a conversation and see if the Admissions Advantage could help your institution.
To your success and your future.