What do HR managers and coaches have in common?
Public libraries across North America spend between 60% and 80% of their total operating budget on personnel; after all, we are a service industry. So it’s no surprise that we are constantly looking at ways to improve human resource functions; from better training methods, to clearer supervision and a safer workplace. Effective human resources management is important to institutional growth and development and ironically is very similar to coaching a hockey team. For example:
►Coaches empower players to do their very best
Have you ever noticed how hockey award winners always thank their Mom and coach for helping them succeed? They may not have always appreciated their Mom or coach, but they recognize how important they were in developing their ability to learn, grow and succeed.
However, I was surprised to learn a few weeks ago that some administrators don’t see how an effective human resources department does the same thing. The right employee policies and procedures help staff learn, develop and do their best work. Effective HR policies and procedures create a framework for employees to learn, grow and develop, while providing excellent library service. It’s a win-win situation.
►Coaches are all about providing opportunity
A great coach focuses on helping players do their very best, embrace opportunities and get it in the net! They feel responsible for developing players and giving them the tools to live up to their potential. An effective coach empowers the whole team to work together, maximize the opportunities and win the Stanley Cup.
Similarly, a great human resources department is responsible for empowering employees to do their very best. Their job is to anticipate training needs and growth opportunities that ensure employees continue to grow and perform at the highest level. So they work on; rigorous hiring practices, great training opportunities, clear job descriptions and effective performance evaluations to name a few.
“A good hockey player plays where the puck is.
A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be”.
– Wayne Gretzky
►Coaches teach players to be independent
Many great coaches regularly challenge players to do new things that are out of their comfort zone. These are the coaches that show their players by example how to survive, lead and thrive on their own. Great coaches trust their players and empower their independence on and off the ice.
Great HR departments do the same. They lead by example, play on the library team and don’t micro-manage employees because that would imply that library workers can’t be trusted or can’t think. Nothing is farther from the truth. I am always amazed at the ideas and processes library staff create when given the opportunity to be independent and embrace change.
Great hockey coaches and great library HR departments are all about empowerment, providing opportunities and trusting employees will rise to the challenge and do their very best. When this happened we all score.
Kitty Pope #16 April 2014