Building a sustainable model is something higher ed and higher ed tech have in common. At Softdocs, we were first in the ECM market with a cloud solution and our customers now expect that we keep that product in a leadership position. That is an expectation that we must maintain, even as the variables around us constantly change. We earn our customers' trust with a proven track record in cloud delivery and customer success. To sustain that, we must constantly anticipate challenges and introduce goals to stay relevant and protect that trust.
We’ve talked about the importance of reviewing your strategic plan and reengaging students to empower student success. Now we discuss creating a sustainable model.
Our sustainable model bullets from the EDUCAUSE Top 10 list have one thing in common: Employees. They must be ready for constant change. Luckily, educational institutions are full of very smart people. Now we need them operating at their peak efficiency.
So, with a mandate for 2022 that emphasizes cybersecurity, balancing digital with brick-and-mortar delivery, getting systems to the cloud, and learning from a crisis, let’s share a few suggestions of what maximized employee engagement looks like in 2022.
Start with employees:
- Create a culture that welcomes suggestions. Find your change leaders and innovators.
- Ask employees what they learned. Ask them specifically what was easier or harder during the pandemic and what they had to “resume” once they returned to the office. How can processes be more efficient? Efficiency is our specialty.
- Openly tackle the remote work options. Employees have traditionally worked on campus. But we “learned in a crisis” that many can also successfully complete their jobs remotely. Honest conversations with department leaders will reveal flexibility in many positions. Then, tackle IT conversations about access and eliminating on-campus paperwork that can hinder work from home. (CUPA-HR Soundbites – has a snippet on determining jobs that are remote work eligible.)
- Expect policy and regulatory changes for employees in the coming years. HR leaders often cite the constant regulatory updates they must address. Automated, agile business processes help overcome this challenge. Read our client stories in HR.
- Assess groups of employees and their unique needs. Look at adjunct, faculty, administrative, full-time, part-time, work-study, and student employees and assess their processes. Can they do everything they need to online? Onboarding and offboarding are often great examples of processes that must be executed correctly or face monetary fines or security risks. Automating with workflows can create sustainable models.
- Anticipate the Enrollment Cliff of 2025. How will you offset? Remember in Blog 1, we suggested revisiting your strategic plan to identify students to target in order to overcome the lower number of traditional students. What do these non-traditional students need?
- Emphasis on Security. Develop a culture of security at the center of everyone’s job. And expect every partner in your tech stack to do the same. Best practices are extraordinarily important. EDUCAUSE houses great resources for CIO/CISOs to leverage. Softdocs cybersecurity information is available here.
- Embrace the opportunity disruption created. While no one questions the value of in-person learning, the hybrid/remote model is here to stay. In fact, as we watch the pandemic surge, those institutions that have embraced online learning understand they can offer a seamless transition for students and faculty, with more options to serve their students in the coming years. This sets up institutions to serve a broader range of students, representing new revenue streams, as traditional students come in lower numbers.
- Leverage strategic consulting. The Top 10 report reminds us that “institutions can hire consultants to perform an information systems security audit, identify gaps, and work with existing staff to develop a plan to prioritize and address the gaps.” Softdocs prides itself on its ability to provide assessments and find the gaps you need to address.
Edtech and educational institutions are alike in many ways. Softdocs empowers our employees to operate at 100% efficiency, yet with 100% creativity to achieve the monumental transformation we are facing. Like you, we need a fully engaged workforce that is ready to suggest and embrace change and evaluate our work from every angle so that we retire old processes in favor of new and agile ones.
Higher Ed must embrace a culture of change in order to successfully embrace a sustainable model for the next decade. You need an enterprise-wide partner to join you on the journey. We have the leading ECM cloud solution in the industry to solve the problems above with strong integration to all existing solutions on campus. That’s why we are here. We are fully prepared to have conversations with you about any of the items discussed. Contact us today and let’s start talking about how 2022 can be the year you lead your institution to a new, sustainable model of higher ed for the future.
Our job, together, is to create the higher education every student deserves. In 2022, we can start on the path to making that a reality.