The Time is Right to Prioritize Administrative Efficiency

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The Time is Right to Prioritize Administrative Efficiency

For over a decade, improving administrative efficiency and effectiveness has been a top-of-mind concern for institutions of all sizes. Administrative leaders have worked to refine and optimize the deployment of resources to ensure fiscal sustainability into the future. However, meaningful progress has been hard to come by. Institutions may capture initial low-hanging fruit opportunities for savings, such as consolidating procurement processes and investing in self-service technology solutions, but quickly run out of other clear avenues. New efficiency initiatives often get started, but the process of understanding key cost drivers, gathering data, and generating recommendations can take months of effort – only to be sidelined by unclear prioritization and a lack of momentum, ultimately ending in no change or action.

Now, after operating in over two years of a pandemic, colleges and universities are under immense financial stress. University leaders know too well that they face declines in tuition, lost auxiliary revenues, and significant state budget cuts on top of myriad other COVID-related costs.

But as challenging as the COVID era has been for university finances, it also presents a unique opportunity to rethink administrative efficiency, particularly in terms of how you think about your two largest operating expenses: space and people.

One pandemic shift that isn’t going anywhere is the move toward hybrid and remote work. How we think about work, and where we can accomplish it, has fundamentally shifted. This is great news for administrative leaders, who now have more opportunities to re-purpose and re-capture space than ever before. There are opportunities for both administrative and academic space savings with the hybrid work movement. By identifying potential space savings through a shift to a hybrid work model, administrative leaders can make the case for space changes and find enormous savings for their bottom line.

The Great Resignation is impacting businesses across all industries and higher ed is no different. Departments across the university will soon feel its effects if they haven’t already. However, rather than incur the costs associated with automatically replacing every lost staff member, take this time to understand what roles really need replacement. By improving the efficiency and effectiveness of key administrative roles, you will quickly learn you may not need as many staff as you did before.

While these new opportunities are here, making actual progress on them remains as challenging as ever. To help institutions quickly surface and size meaningful savings opportunities, EAB is launching the Financial Sustainability Collaborative for Administrative and Organizational Effectiveness. Our innovative, collaborative model convenes a cohort of institutions to tackle the complex terrain of administrative efficiency and effectiveness together.

The Collaborative is designed to help in three key ways:

  • Calculate opportunity to centralize administrative tasks
  • Benchmark managerial effectiveness
  • Leverage momentum for flex work and reclaim space

This experience builds on our work leading almost 100 partner institutions through the Financial Sustainability Collaborative for Academic Efficiency. We helped institutions overcome barriers to analyze four key drivers of academic costs and revenues and build a transparent process for achieving academic financial sustainability and look forward to supporting partners working to identify opportunities on the other side of the house, through our work on administrative efficiency and effectiveness.

Our inaugural cohort of the Financial Sustainability Collaborative for Administrative and Organizational Effectiveness kicks off this April. Interested in joining? Click here to learn more about the Collaborative or email us FSCadmin@eab.com.

Find Academic Savings with the Financial Sustainability Collaborative.

Discover four key drivers of academic revenues and costs.

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