Student Agent should have a personal goal to be more efficient. In fact, a student agent should have SMART goals to be distinctive and be ahead than the competition.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Tony Robbins
Setting goals is a powerful and practical way of planning your future and turning it into reality. The same principle applies to companies and organizations too! When you work hard, you also need to ensure that you set achievable goals and work smart. As a student agent, you should aim to set SMART goal – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
Since the 1960s, in the United States and other parts of the world, research began on possible methods to set goals that could motivate employees as well as evaluate company performance. Later in 1981, George T. Doran published a paper on the issue of Management Review titled ‘There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives’. His main contribution to this theory was to recognise that goals, be they personal or communal, are only achievable if they are well defined, realistic and measurable. This method will be even more helpful for a student agent to set goals that align with international student agency.
So, what is SMART goal planning and how can a student agent make the most out of it?
Firstly, you, a student agent need to define what you expect from your employees clearly. Avoid being vague while doing so. Write a sentence that explains your agency goal in concrete terms. It should be able to answer questions like who, what, when, where, and why.
For whom is the SMART goal meant? What objective does it intend to achieve? By when do you expect it to happen? Where will it happen? Why should it happen?
For instance, as a student agent, your goal could be to “Achieve 120 successful student applications in 2018”. Now, let us take this objective forward and see whether it fits with the other criteria of smart goal setting.
Imagine a sports competition without a scoreboard or scorekeeper. It will not make any sense, as it has no way of finding out the outcome of the game. Having a goal that is not measurable is the same. This lack of a specific target will also demotivate your employees and make them unproductive.
Identify how you, a student agent or your employees will keep track of the objective of achieving 120 successful applications in 2018. Since the SMART goal has a specific target, that too in numbers, it will come down to the choice of correct educational agency CRM you as a student agent will provide to your employees, so that they know which visa applications are successful and which are not.
Setting goals and having measurable tools is excellent, but it is also equally necessary to achieve it. A student agent should never set goals that are unachievable or unattainable. Before you place a target, ask yourself these questions:
Do you have sufficient human resources to manage so many student applications? In your experience as a student agent, how much time does it usually take to process various types of visa applications? Do you have enough promotional outreach to attract hundreds of applicants each year?
Since the target for you, as a student agent is close to 10 successful student visa applications each month. You can thus make an overall assessment based on how many employees need to work on each application. Similarly also assess the amount of time they require. For instance, if you have five employees who actively work on these applications and each has a success rate of two visas per month, then this target of 120 per year is achievable.
This part of the SMART goal setting process allows a student agent to reassess their target, thus making the goal more achievable and realistic. A goal achieved is additional motivation for the employees as well as for the student agent and can lead them to perform better.
The average time employees will take to process student applications will also depend on how a student agent distributes different roles amongst the employees working in his/her international student agency as well as skills and qualifications. This is where you as a student agent need to be realistic and confident in their abilities.
It is good to motivate employees to achieve more than they have been, but you will also need to give them the right educational agent management software to do so. A student agent should ask these questions.
Are your employees qualified enough to handle student applications entirely on their own? Do they require support from senior management? Do their qualifications match their skills? What sort of problem-solving attributes do they have? Have they over promised any clients in the past?
The answers to these questions will provide a student agent with a realistic picture of what is achievable and what is not. For instance, you as a student agent may have highly qualified employees, who have occasionally achieved 3-4 successful applications in a month. However, is it wise to put your overall target as 180 – 240 successful visa applications per year? Well, probably not! A more realistic approach of actually achieving the goal of 120 you have set for the agency will be to make sure that at least two visa applications are easily doable by an employee every month.
A goal without a deadline is as good as not having one! The time limit will provide the student agent and their employees the necessary motivation and focus on making it happen.
The time of 12 months or one year has been set but do remind yourself to recheck whether this requires any appropriate adjustments. Apart from assessing the skills and qualifications of your employees, a student agent also has to consider the number of holidays in the year. Similarly, in case an employee is sick or unable to attend office, do you have an adequate or equally qualified backup person to get the work done and meet the target?
SMART goal setting for a student agent is all about analysing whether the S–T criteria synchronise with each other as one or the other can be the check and balance of your overall target. SMART objectives will eventually lead to smarter benefits for a student agent.