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by Brad Smith

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Over 20 million students are projected to enter higher education in 2022. Fall is the peak time for students to enroll in financial aid programs as well as school itself. When this happens, financial aid staff is stressed due to the surge in activity and the need to get everyone through the process as fast as possible. Keeping employees positive and motivated is essential for efficient, error-free processing. Educational Compliance Management Inc. recommends these practices to help with this goal.

1. Be Clear About Expectations and Priorities

Everything runs more smoothly when staff know exactly what to do and when. Communicate priorities, both for the office and for individual people. Decide whether desk work, phone calls, walk-in appointments, or something else should come first. If there are enough staff
members, try assigning one of these to each person.

2. Create a Positive Work Environment

Set up an environment that promotes positive energy. Have water readily available, provide fruit, healthy snacks, or even better, meals and add any other motivational factors that are appropriate to an office.

3. Recognize Your Employees

Simply saying “thank you” can make people feel appreciated. How you do so should depend on each employee’s personality. Would they like a public shout-out or do they prefer private thank-you cards? Get to know each employee so you can customize your presentation for
each one.

4. Provide a Quiet Place for Breaks and Lunches

Make sure employees can decompress by providing a breakroom away from the chaos. Also, make sure that management supports break times by allowing employees the time to take a lunch break, even just 30 minutes, to recharge.

5. Make Employees Part of the Bigger Picture

Keep them in the loop on things like federal updates, changes to procedures and rules, and regulatory changes. Provide them opportunities to join seminars and take in podcasts and webinars, too. This lets them feel that their position is a career rather than just a short-term
job. It also improves their work skills, so it’s a win for both sides.

Collecting financial aid applications is just one part of the student onboarding process. When it’s time for those aid applications to be processed, send them to ECM Financial Aid. We handle everything quickly and efficiently for a stress-free funding process.

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