The education sector has always faced challenges, but never more so than today. Budgets are tight, and expectations are higher than ever. Staff are often overwhelmed with paperwork and find themselves spending too much on administration and too little on what really matters — educating students. One way educators’ administrative load can be lightened is with automation.
Automating administrative processes
By harnessing the power of automation, education workers can streamline administrative procedures that previously required large amounts of manual input. Inefficient paper-based processes can be replaced with digital ones, backlogs and bottlenecks can be greatly reduced, and the entire organization can become more efficient and productive.
Here are some ways that can work.
Streamlining student applications
Historically, the student application process has involved a lot of paperwork. Application forms are filled in by applicants or their parents by hand, reviewed by staff. Decisions are made, applicants are notified, and new students’ information is entered into the system.
There are volumes of these forms to process, and errors occur due to a host of reasons, including illegible handwriting or repetition fatigue. The entire process is labor-intensive, with vast amounts of data to examine and enter, and follow-up correspondence to create and send.
Today, old-fashioned paper forms can be digitized and replaced with sophisticated online forms that applicants can complete and submit quickly, easily and legibly. Forms won’t be lost in the mail or in a prospective student’s backpack.
Reviews and approvals can also be streamlined. Submitting an application can trigger a digital workflow to alert staff to review the information. Staff can do this quickly and efficiently, approve or decline with a few clicks, and the applicant is automatically notified of their status.
Taking the hassle out of recruitment
Recruitment can also be transformed by automation. A lot of paperwork is created during recruitment and registration. With automation, this paperwork can be digitized and modernized to deliver greater efficiency benefits.
In days gone by, the process required information to be manually entered or copied and pasted from documents like résumés, benefit enrollment forms, and even visa applications if the new recruit lived overseas. Applicant signatures are often required, as are internal staff signatures, leading to a lengthy period of correspondence and signoff. This can now be minimized.
The recruit’s details can be collected via digital forms, and a package of personalized documents—such as new starter information—is generated at the touch of a button, using the organization’s templates and pre-written content. Documents can be signed quickly and easily as part of the digital workflow, using eSignature technology, instead of requiring printing, manual signing, scanning, and re-submitting.
Simplifying compliance audits
Compliance audits are another area of stress for education workers, due to increased workloads and confusion about requirements. By automating administrative processes, organizations can turn compliance into a simple part of everyday work, making audits much less of an ordeal.
Using workflows, collecting and maintaining compliance evidence is automatic, so it’s readily available for an audit. No more tracking down myriad records during audit time. Staff can be notified of compliance deadlines and issues via automatic email alerts, and the reporting process can be streamlined with a clear, simple and easy-to-use system that provides greater transparency, efficiency, and accuracy.
Handling leave, cover and more
Scheduling staff vacation time and other absences, as well as arranging cover for people who are away, can also be aided by automation. Manual, paper-based leave requests create significant workloads and are error-prone. Digitizing them saves time for employees and money for the organization.
Digital request forms and approvals can be speedily completed by those applying for leave and those responsible for approving them. Employees can be automatically notified of decisions, relevant calendars can be updated, and HR and payroll systems can be updated with the leave balance and any adjustments to pay – all automatically.
Performance reviews can also be scheduled and expedited. Every stage in the process becomes part of an orderly, step-by-step workflow, from setting reminders when reviews are due, notifying managers and stakeholders, collecting feedback, reviewing the feedback and arranging meetings. Payroll and HR systems can be integrated to automate bonus allocations or adjustments to pay.
Transforming educational organizations
All these benefits add up. Individual processes streamlined, enhanced, and automated combine to form a wider organizational optimization that makes a real impact on productivity and performance. These automations also result in cost and efficiency savings. With the pressures faced by modern educational institutions, these impacts can be vital.
Want to learn more about what Nintex workflows and automation offer the education sector? Just get in touch and discuss the possibilities with us.