We usually focus on customer service, which is focus on point of contact. Service fluency is broader: it is a basis for every interaction with our users, planning for future user needs, and anticipation of how we can develop our services to connect with each other to maximize their utility to our users.
Organizational Clarity: identifying and agreeing to the fundamental concepts that drive it. ***Providing all employees, at all levels with a common vocabulary and a set of assumptions about what is important and what is not.*** Reinforce this clarity through Human Systems: hiring, performance management, rewards & recognition, funding, employee dismissal. What values are fundamental to our library/unit? Why does the library exist and what difference does it make in our world? How/Where does your staff fit? What are our goals for the next year/5 years/10 years? Who has to do what in order for us to meet them?
The turnover rate in technology is incredible, which anyone who has to deal with purchasing or learning is already aware. We can train our staff on specific technologies, but underneath that, what we are really trying to instill in our staff is a comfort level with change.
Roadkill on the information superhighway Requirement that our staff be efficient multitaskers and wear many hats, particularly when it comes to the tools we ask them to use. Technology fluency is an outcropping of service fluency – we can’t keep our services at the highest level unless our staff are fully invested in those services. Without high level technology skills, abundant curiosity, and support, our staff will be simply unable to keep up with the service demand from our users. That is a recipe for library failure.
Without the creation of an appropriate environment, your library or unit may be poised to fail. While the building may not burn down, it will have an impact on your users. It is OUR job to make sure we create a space for the learning, skill development, comfort level and change management that needs to happen. We cannot depend on the fact that this happens at home on off-work hours. Your staff have varying levels of comfort, based on any number of factors.
Whole-unit retreat On-the-clock development time Team Training Peer to peer training Conference and outside workshops Cross department training Invited speakers – use those networks!!
You can plan for how you want your staff to use technology, but be prepared for learning new uses and applications you weren’t expecting, both from staff and your users. If you can’t connect the technology use to something that interests your staff, you’ll be in trouble before you even begin. You need to answer the big question: WHO CARES? Your answer needs to be more empathetic than “YOUR BOSS CARES.”
Without a plan, you’ll be training your folks piecemeal only as needs become so transparent that you’re already behind the ball on service provision. So: what technologies do you need your staff to be proficient in? Have you prioritized them so staff are aware of what they should focus on? How are you keeping these requirements up to date? Job descriptions & performance reviews? Annual unit goal planning? Needs to be codified, or staff may find that your expectations are unclear and will fail to perform at desired levels
Error rate in response to patron communication Satisfaction surveys Compliments vs Complaints (and the trouble with this) Service desk demeanor Claims returned rate Note: What’s in the annual evaluation? Is it useful? Base measures on actual work & department needs Measuring success and training needs against the actual work of the unit is essential
Without any sort of evaluation, you’ll have no idea if the training and tech knowledge has stuck. WHAT do you want them to be able to use? WHY do you want them to be able to use it? WHERE & HOW do you expect them to apply this knowledge? HOW will they be held accountable?
Acknowledging Change What is the goal? Get staff to agree to change. Avoid rollercoaster performance. Gaining Agreement: Offer the good business reasons for why there needs to be change. List the effects of the change and the needs of the unit/library Manager focus on staff needs Moving an office or cube Change in supervision Change in workflow Change in schedule Different learning styles Different environment preferences
If we fail as managers, we fail our staff and our users. Falling too far behind leaves us in the land of “it works like magic, and I cannot teach you how to use it, tell you why to use it, or troubleshoot it for you.”
Two causes: lack of knowledge or lack of execution . Deficiencies in knowledge are cured by training. Deficiencies in execution are approached differently: 1. Clarify expectations: can they explain what is expected? 2. Remove obstacles: resources to do the work are available. 3. Provide feedback: regular, accurate and timely. 4. Arrange appropriate consequences.
As a manager, you need to ensure that your staff are pacing themselves well, that your expectations aren’t outstripping their abilities too quickly, and that you design your training to avoid fatigue. Learning is hard work. Our goal isn’t to burn out our staff, it’s to equip them to carry the library into the future. It’s important to maintain clear feedback loops, to revise training needs and expectations as necessary. Transliteracy and service fluency are very much “living languages,” changing adapting and evolving over time.
In my last POW, we conducted three service point mergers into Access Services. Currently, UTC is a beta partner with OCLC for implementing their WMS cloud-based library management system, we are completely revamping our ILL workflow due to Increase of 110.56% in lending requests between FY09 and FY10, i ncrease of 113.98% in borrowing requests filled between FY09 and FY10, and an increase of 228.35% in lending requests filled between FY09 and FY10. Staff involved in testing, workflow development, training on new systems and clients, on planning committees, etc
The Library is one of the few institutions that make technology more-or-less freely available to the public.
Libraries in a Transliterate, Technology-Fluent World
Libraries (and Your Staff!) in a Transliterate, Technology Fluent World Colleen S. Harris University of Tennessee at Chattanooga [email_address] http://guardienne.blogspot.com November 2010 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tabithahawk/566748316
“ The illiterate of the 21 st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” ~Alvin Toffler http://www.flickr.com/photos/protocol/3244887521/
Service Fluency: A Starting Point <ul><li>More than customer service, which is making user happy at point of contact. </li></ul>
Your Staff Have Seen and Troubleshot <ul><li>Punch Cards and Excel spreadsheets </li></ul><ul><li>5 ¼” floppies and USB drives </li></ul><ul><li>Typewriters and mini-netbooks </li></ul><ul><li>Beautiful penmanship required in job ads </li></ul><ul><li>Real card catalogs and OPACs </li></ul><ul><li>Paper indexes & abstracts, Dialog and Google </li></ul>http://www.flickr.com/photos/spadgy/313252882