CIS Abroad Blog

Strategy Tips from our Strategic Operations Division

March Tip: Re-onboard your team

Last week we hosted a webinar about rebuilding and re-engaging your team. 

SPOILER ALERT: One of the tips shared was to re-onboard your team and it seemed to resonate with several attendees.

To re-onboard, you must first know how to onboard.  Beyond a new hire orientation, onboarding is taking the time to truly integrate and familiarize employees with their new role, office, or organization.  Good onboarding is an on-going process throughout the first several months (that’s right, months).  Onboarding should include continual training and development, as well as resources for employees to use, opportunities to connect with colleagues, and time to ask questions and reflect.   

Thanks to COVID-19,  it’s a whole new world for education abroad teams:  new departments, new roles, new teammates, new policies, new programs, new hybrid work hours, etc.  When so much change occurs so quickly it’s easy to lose sight of who knows what, let alone where that information is recorded.  Good leaders ensure their team is always equipped for success.

Whether you’re new to the idea of onboarding or totally jazzed about re-onboarding, we’d love to help. With “summer project season” upon us, now is a great time to schedule a re-onboarding for your whole team.  

PS – If you’d like to hear more about Rebuilding and Re-engaging your team, access our webinar recording here!

January Tip: Celebrate the Small Wins

It’s the end of January and you’ve made it through the first month of 2022. If you’re like us, you’ve likely set a few personal or professional goals for this next year. Have you made progress? Have you celebrated your progress? Too often we withhold celebrating until the ultimate goal is achieved and we forget to celebrate the smaller successes that pave the way. Why wait?  

Whether you are a one person office or part of a large team, celebrating success is oh so important.  It allows us to recognize and honor the work that has been achieved. Celebrations provide moments of reflection and pause – opportunities to consider the steps we’ve taken and the challenges we have overcome.  Celebrating is also motivating.  Who doesn’t love a fist bump,  a quick shout out or a digital badge to keep you moving forward? And after these last 2 years, I am ALL about celebrating any wins!

Take a moment today to reflect on the last several weeks. What have you done to work towards a goal?  What work has your team done?  Have some fun and celebrate those wins, no matter how big or small.

October Tip: Sell the Course, Not the Cost

Just like our students, faculty are ready to resume their custom faculty-led programs too. It’s easy to remember to discuss important updates about insurance, budget deadlines, entry requirements, etc., and overlook addressing basic marketing strategies. Now is a great time to connect with faculty leaders and make sure that they have a solid plan for communicating with students about their programs.

Take a moment and think about how you sell programs. When a student asks about the program, what’s the first thing you say? Is it about the course(s) offered or is it about the price? News Flash! There’s a reason we’ve been working so hard on creating a Syllabus Library for our partners – current students decide to study abroad based on courses offered and how it will apply to their degree. Unlike previous generations, course offerings are more important than location and, yes, sometimes even price.

Leading with cost can create an unintended barrier and make a student feel as though the program is beyond their reach. Try switching your strategy and talk about the skills and knowledge they will gain through the course you offer instead. You’ll be happy with the results!

Is program marketing a stressor for you? Do you wish you had a way to more accurately predict which programs will be successful? You’re not alone! Connect with us and we can tell you about our Program Feasibility Matrix that helps take the guesswork out of program planning and marketing.

September Tip: Marketing and Outreach Strategy

Word on the street is that students are already thinking about summer. Does your marketing and outreach highlight summer options? Have you opened up your summer application cycle? Take a moment to reflect on your recent advising conversations. If most of them are about Summer and they can’t yet apply, consider opening up that application cycle now!

Too often we see offices focus marketing and advising on the nearest term (in this case, spring) and wait to start on summer marketing until the January. Most of the students who have already decided on spring have likely been thinking about it for months. (Maybe years…thanks to COVID.) Rather than trying to get the last minute spring students, start thinking about the term ahead. Focusing outreach efforts on summer programs now gives students the time they need to make important academic and financial decisions. It also saves you the headache of trying to process last minute applications.

Are you feeling the summer love? Tell us more about what you’re seeing from your students. We have great resources to help you better understand the student journey and how to make the biggest impact with your marketing and outreach.

August Tip: Onboarding New Staff

We are seeing post after post for open positions in International Education. This warms our heart as it means institutions are investing in our industry and teams are coming back together! (insert happy dance here.) As you hire and begin to onboard this fall remember it takes 6-9 months to get a new team member fully trained and up to speed. The journey is just beginning when you fill the position.

So what do you do?
It’s easy to overlook the importance of onboarding new team members, but it is crucial to the success of any team. Make sure you have a robust onboarding program for your new hire(s), complete with training and content. Often we see teams start out with robust plans for the first 2-4 weeks, but fail to consider the support new hires need beyond the first few weeks in their job. This can lead to all kinds of frustration and delays for your team. Do you have new staff in your office? Tell us what positions you may be hiring for. We’d love to share our ideas for successful onboarding!

July Tip: Strategic Planning Around Reduced Staffing

In July we hosted a webinar called “Strategic Planning Around Reduced Staffing.” Summer is often that ideal time to get to big office projects and strategize! Unfortunately so many of our fabulous affiliates have smaller teams than ever before and energy levels are dropping. So how do you strategize when your team morale is low? It’s also likely your team has been virtual and may never have met some of their colleagues who started during the pandemic in-person ! So what do you do? Before strategizing, remind your team that they are in fact stronger together. How can you do this? We have a few fun activities that get folks excited to tap into their office colleagues skills and expertise. Tell us what’s going on in your office, and we’ll tell you how to tackle it!

What are you struggling with? How can we help?

Let us know here and we’ll connect you with the best person on our team who can address your needs.