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3 Ways Workplace Digitization Transformed The First Academy

Lindsay McGuire
August 22, 2019
Min Read

How many hours do you waste every day on manual tasks and paper-based processes? These inefficiencies create project roadblocks, miscommunications, and productivity pitfalls. The First Academy, a Christ-centered preparatory school enrolls around 1,400 students annually in preschool through 12th grade, faced the same challenges. They decided to make the madness stop by turning to Formstack in 2010.

Eliminating paper was the original reason The First Academy sought out Formstack. Innovation is what has kept them a customer for nearly a decade.

“You guys have always been, in some form or another, innovative and leading in the form industry. You continue to innovate and make good things,” remarked Tim Nethers, Assistant Creative Director at The First Academy.

Over time, Nethers has found a way to integrate Formstack into every single department at the school, including admissions, advancement, operations, facilities, marketing, human resources, and IT. The school uses around 300 forms to keep everything running efficiently.

Let's take a look at 3 ways various departments use workplace digitization to improve processes, boost productivity, and take control of their data.

1. Boosted campus visits with intuitive forms

Admissions and Marketing

Getting potential students on campus for a tour or event is crucial to The First Academy’s success. They’ve used Formstack to transform their events registration page into a sleek, personalized experience for prospective students.

“This is our best inbound marketing tool. We know that getting a person on campus for a tour, open house, or other event is our most likely chance to get them to enroll,” Nethers said.

The school has found that the appearance of their event forms is a huge factor in getting prospective students to sign up. Nethers has spent a lot of time perfecting the look and feel of the event forms, as well as improving the user experience. With Formstack, he can:

Fun Fact: Event absenteeism shrank by 25% when they implemented the Zapier integration to send calendar invites!
Workplace digitization admissions and marketing.

On the back end, Nethers uses a variety of Formstack tools and integrations to boost the effectiveness of the event registration page. They use Conversion Kit to track form data in real time, giving the admissions team the power to re-engage students who abandoned the form before hitting submit. This powerful tool also allows them to A/B test forms to see which performs better, further boosting form conversions.

The Google Analytics integration provides robust insights into the traffic sources for each form, proving what channels and ads are converting. This is incredibly important, since they’ve calculated each form submission has a value of about $3,000. These new and valuable leads are automatically sent to Salesforce to move the student down the sales funnel.

Learn More: How The First Academy Saves $90,000 in Annual Expenses

2. Simplified collecting over $100,000 in online payments


Before Formstack, The First Academy had no way of collecting and processing online payments. This created major problems for parents and staff alike. Parents would have to go through the inconvenience of rummaging for their checkbook or stopping by an ATM anytime their child had a payment due to the school. Employees wasted hundreds of hours each month on paper forms and manual payment methods.

This inefficient payment process also resulted in a lot of financial loss for the school due to poor tracking and lost payments. It wasn’t very effective or immediate, which caused lots of frustration. Now, The First Academy processes more than $100,000 in transactions every year using Formstack’s online forms with the Authorize.Net integration.

“We pretty much bill everything that is not mandatory through Formstack,” Nethers stated.

The school processes payments for everything from field trips and equipment fees to after school care and athletics. With this workflow process improvement in place, The First Academy saves hundreds of hours in the collections department and has drastically reduced the amount of money they have to chase down.

“The collections team would not be able to do their job if we could not run our Formstacks with Authorize.Net,” Nethers shared. “They are so proud of how much we have been able to cut down on loss, and most of that is associated with getting out of paper.”

Read Next: A Bid for the Paperless Office

3. Created an efficient workflow for teacher onboarding

Human Resources and IT

One of The First Academy’s biggest challenges was streamlining their teacher onboarding workflow. Whenever a new teacher began, various onboarding tasks needed to be triggered across the IT department through their Web Help Desk application. Before implementing Formstack, the system was inefficient, cumbersome, and even inaccurate.

One caveat of Web Help Desk is that one ticket can only be assigned to one tech. Using the old onboarding system, HR would often forget to submit tickets, or only submit one and hope it would be passed down the right chain of technicians.

Miscommunications between the HR department and IT were rampant. To solve the problem, The First Academy created a robust online form using Conditional Logic to cover all the steps of teacher onboarding, offboarding, and position changes.

Now, HR fills out one form that generates emails to Web Help Desk for each IT task needed, like creating email accounts, setting up laptops, issuing ID cards, and more.

Workplace digitization human resources and IT

“When there are five different people associated with the new hire process, you need to generate five different tickets. Now we have a workflow that is dynamic based on the submission,” Neethers said. “This form saves tons of frustration from both departments, ensuring necessary things happen on time and that a great first day happens for the employee.”

Related: Creating a Successful Employee Onboarding Experience

Discover more ways to transform processes by grabbing your copy of our Workplace Productivity Report now! Learn smart strategies to implement in your organization to minimize data gaps and maximize your workflows.

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Lindsay McGuire
Lindsay is the Content Marketing Manager at Formstack, splitting her time between creating blog content, writing reports, and hosting Formstack's Practically Genius podcast. She's a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism (MIZ!) and loves connecting with others on LinkedIn.
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