Creative Tips for Title IV Institution Leaders to Sustain a Workforce During Uncertain Times

It’s no secret that business owners across industries are concerned about how the next few weeks and even months will affect their livelihoods. You’ve built fantastic teams of managers and employees over the years and are now faced with very difficult decisions about staffing and workflow, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of lockdowns going into effect across the nation, institutions are up against unprecedented challenges of how to keep valuable staff active, motivated and, of course, receiving a paycheck. Cash flow is a high priority now more than ever. Fortunately, there is relief around the corner for your business, as a result of the SBA Disaster Loan and SBA Small Business interruption Loan Programs that were recently enacted.

Our Title IV and Human Capital Management experts have compiled a list of general best practices in managing and keeping your workforce engaged. Additionally, we’ve included projects and areas that your accounting and financial aid staff can tackle during this “down-time” that may not necessarily be on your radar in the current foggy environment.

Keep the Communication Flowing

As your workforce is likely teleworking or on paid leave, it’s critical to stay in touch with your employees during this time. Demonstrate that you care about the health and well-being of your team and their families by providing regular communication, check-ins and contact. Further, you want to ensure your staff is remaining productive and engaged and are provided the necessary resources and tools to do so.

Student Communication is Essential, Too

Stay in contact with your students as much as possible via phone, email and social media. There are no perfect solutions to the challenges you’re facing. However, constant communication will encourage your students to return to campus when the physical location reopens. It will also give your communications and marketing staff plenty to work on during this interim period.

Prioritize Health

Make sure your employees stay healthy by following the guidelines distributed by the World Health Organization and Departments of Health in your local areas. Encourage your team to stay inside whenever possible and to stay educated on COVID-19 updates in the area.

Prepare for Your Annual Audit Now

Begin preparing for your annual audit now, even if the audit fieldwork is scheduled for a few weeks or months from today. Given the current climate, your accounting firm should be flexible to your schedules and concerns and can provide access to secure portals for all of your submissions. Use this time to engage your accounting and financial staff to begin preparing the annual audit request, offering a longer timeline to gather materials.

Begin Work on Annual Reports

Keep your staff active and engaged and have them begin work on Annual Reports and other reporting requirements for accrediting bodies and state filings. Perform an internal review of your student financial aid files in preparation for the annual audit, too. You can’t be too cautious to ensure the completeness of the files. Use this down-time to make certain you’ll have a clean audit.

Inventory, Inventory…

If your school premises are not on lockdown, perform an inventory and supply count and clean out obsolete items. You know that your auditor will ask for an annual count at year-end. Scrubbing your lists and purging everything that isn’t being used will only expedite your count and provide tasks for your staff to perform during this time.

Create a Formal Budget for Your Business

Many institutions have an idea as to where revenues and expenses need to be. Use this available time to review your accounting records and prepare a formal analysis that you can use to build a stronger business when things return to normal.

Update Your Policies & Handbook

Revise and update your policies and procedure manuals. Now is an ideal time to sit down and take the time to review your employee handbook with an experienced human capital management professional. We know this somewhat cumbersome project tends to take a back seat to everything else going on in your business. Take advantage of this time to update your policies.

One of the major key items to your business’ successful turnaround after the dust settles is related to the staff you had in place prior to this pandemic. Use our provided ideas to set goals and projects for your team members over the coming weeks. For help or to talk to an expert, contact our team.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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