It comes down to trust! #39: 2010
Libraries are their employees, and excellent customer service is dependent on their skills and motivation. No matter the size of your library or where it is located, employees are our number one asset. In fact, employee costs and benefits consume 55 to 80 percent of any library budget. As our primary asset, we need to invest in their ongoing growth and development. They need to be continuously trained and empowered to provide that excellent service we keep discussing.
What are some principles underlying managing our greatest asset?
- Be truthful with staff, especially in the tough times. Doing so builds staff loyalty and respect which translate directly into great customer service.
- Be honest. Live up to your commitments. Nothing disheartens staff more quickly than giving them false hope or going back on your word.
- Engage staff in the decision-making process. As library leaders, we don’t have all the answers, and the benefits of consulting your staff are simply amazing. They know our customers and have lots of ideas about how to improve our service. We just need the confidence to ask and then sit back and listen!
- Mitigate fear. No one can do excellent work if they are scared. Fear of change, new technologies, and the future all negatively impact employee performance. Simply put, scared employees can’t work. We can’t predict the future, but we can focus on improving library processes and procedures rather than “fear mongering” or more disastrously “playing the blame game.”
- Invest in staff. Libraries need to invest in their number-one asset in order to ensure that staff members are fully engaged, productive, and motivated to succeed. In these financially challenging times, this is easily forgotten, but library staff requires ongoing training.
- TRUST is the number-one principle to assure successful management of staff. If you are truthful, honest, engage staff, mitigate fear, invest in their training, but don’t trust them…everything will crumble…quickly. There is no quicker way to bring a library to a screeching halt than to not trust staff. If that bond of trust is broken, nothing else works. It’s that simple.
There you have it! Invest and trust in your staff; it will pay huge dividends.
Have a great week, and drive safely. It’s winter here in the Midwest!
kpope @ alliancelibrarysystem.com #39 November/10