27 Apr Avoid the KISS of death when staging online parent/family orientations
If your campus’ online parent/family orientation is founded on the KISS principle alone, your orientation will be flawed. Parent Education Partners shares insight to maximize your success.
You have likely heard of the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). And, you may already use this principle to guide your communications with parents/families and other stakeholders. KISS is an important starting point when dealing with our external communities. But, if your campus’ online parent/family orientation is founded on the KISS principle alone, your orientation will be flawed. To ensure your online orientation is effective, consider these four recommendations from Parent Education Partners:
- Authenticity – One of the positive outcomes of living in the COVID-19 reality is that we are becoming more vulnerable, available, approachable and authentic in our communication. Parents/families have significant concerns about the fall term. Many families are worried about their student’s safety, especially given some predictions that the virus may flare up again in the fall. How can your online orientation bring a level of empathy and authenticity while also maintaining parental/family confidence in your campus’ ability to keep students safe? If your campus intends to remain fully on-line in the fall, how can you share in an authentic manner that sustains parental/family confidence in the quality of your campus’ academic program?
- Transparency – It is important to be forthright with parents/families about what you anticipate for the fall term. But it is important to control the narrative and to remember that too much public discussion about budget cuts, furloughs and staff layoffs translates into parental/family anxiety. Instead of focusing exclusively on the cuts and challenges, which is what many campuses are doing at this juncture, be intentional about highlighting your campus’ commitment to providing a robust learning experience for students. Remember, many parents/families do not understand, nor do they care, about our internal structure and the challenges we face through COVID-19. And, frankly, some may believe our institutions are top-heavy with highly paid administrators and could stand some organizational thinning. Remember, their priority is their student alone. Ensure your tone is focused on students first and not the changes and challenges internal to the campus. Parents/families just want to know that your campus is still the right choice for their student.
- High Touch – Technology is a wonderful tool for scaling efforts. That said, the more you can humanize your orientation the better. That means that you may need to include some low-tech and no-tech strategies to build parent/family confidence. If your campus has a user-friendly website, considering adding a chat feature that is continually monitored by staff to ensure timely responses. And, even if you are using a comprehensive online orientation platform, consider other solutions to bolster two-way interaction and engagement.
- Targeted content – Many campuses use a “one size fits all” approach to parent/family orientation and intend to use a similar approach for their online orientation. Instead, consider the unique information needs of your parent/family subgroups and strive to meet their information needs through the online orientation.
There has never been a more important time to engage parents/families as educational partners who work along side our campus communities to support retention and completion. Parent Education Partners is available to support your team on a project-by-project or ongoing base to ensure your parent/family orientation and/or online orientation equips all parents/families with the information and tools they need to start the fall term off right.
Call us at 615-436-4500 or visit us at www.parenteducationpartners.com.