Now is the time to redefine your university culture. When schools are given the go ahead to open again, for many it will be like starting over. If you weren’t happy with the culture you had, it will be a perfect time to create the culture you want. Delivering a student experience that wows and amazes the student will set your university apart from the competition. If this was not an integral part of the culture before, now is your opportunity to define very clearly your expectations of how students, administration, and staff are to be treated both internally and externally.
Here are 9 actions that leaders can do to redefine a new culture:
1. Develop a Service Philosophy and Service Standards that identify the emotional connection to be experienced by the student in every interaction and the behaviors that will bring about that feeling.
2. Make a plan on how to communicate this Service Philosophy and Service Standards on a consistent basis in all forms of meetings and media to ensure the message stays in the forefront of every employee’s mind.
3. Recruit new employees that are a right fit for this redefined culture. Ensure the interview and selection processes are geared to identify these individuals.
4. Design an orientation session that will reinforce the Service Philosophy/Service Standards and give examples of how they can be exhibited in various customer situations.
5. Educate past employees who come back that these are the new Standards that will be a part of everyone’s job from henceforth.
6. Set up a measurement base to collect data to guide progress. Examples could be student satisfaction surveys, student retention, responsiveness to student inquiries, student complaints, reduction of resolution callbacks, etc.
7. Create a recognition program to show appreciation and give applause to those employees who exemplify the Service Philosophy and Service Standards. Hopefully other employees will want to do the behaviors and receive the recognition. New norms of behavior will be created.
8. Identify obstacles that hinder the delivery of excellent service and remove them.
9. Hold everyone accountable through job descriptions and performance appraisals. Teach managers how to coach and counsel their employees on a daily basis to conform to the Service Philosophy and Service Standards.
This is your chance to leapfrog those other colleges and universities that will be looking to just get back processing students. With a little upfront planning now, you can not only get back to making students successful, but you can create a culture that will delight the student and build a strong branding that will lead to student loyalty.