With the Library sector evolving, staff need the skills to keep up; whether it’s on the library floor with new technology, or simply in basic operational functions. Trained employees will make a world of difference in helping create a 21st century library. Therefore, the continued education and training of employees should sit high on your list of priorities, in addition to offering support, retaining your employees through the creation of positive workplace cultures and recognition for the great work they do.
Research has shown that incorporating training that develops employees towards long term career goals and the addition of new skills promotes greater job satisfaction. So not only do you have a happier employee but one that delivers more value to you and your 21st century library service.
So what are the benefits of trained employees to your library:
- Increased and diverse knowledge of library and information services- Knowledgeable staff are valuable staff. Think about the times when you’ve needed assistance from someone in customer service. It’s always a better experience when speaking to someone who has the information you need and can go above and beyond to deliver a great outcome.
- Less Supervision– Management can focus on other areas rather than having to spend significant periods of time managing or supervising staff. This allows staff to operate more autonomously and gain greater responsibility to manage their tasks/area, relieving you and other managers from some of your workload. Also, this delivers a greater Return on Investment for each staff member. They deliver more and achieve better outcomes for your 21st century library.
- Standardised procedures– Through training, the best methods and standards of work can be achieved ensuring high levels of performance. Workers who haven’t been trained or upskilled in best-practice can be perpetuating some negative or less-useful behaviours,achieving less-than-satisfactory outcomes for your library service. Upskilling staff can help create more streamlined processes and procedures, and help upskill other staff or colleagues with the latest best-practice information, leading to better outcomes across the team and library service.
- Happier and more productive employees– We know happier employees are more productive ones, recent research has shown happy employees are 12% more productive. Offering ongoing education and training, and potential career advancing opportunities are factors which add to an employee’s level of happiness in the workplace. So consider what development opportunities may be suitable to your staff to help create a more positive workplace culture that fosters high-performance and better library outcomes.
- Reduced employee turnover – It’s no secret that staff turnover is a big cost to any organisation. The cost of employing someone new is much more than simply retaining an existing employee (assuming a good employee; of course the inverse is applicable for a toxic employee). A more satisfied employee is likely to stay at a job longer and be more productive whilst working. A win-win for both parties.
- Create a positive learning culture in your workplace – Culture is a system of shared assumptions, values and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organisations. These shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organisation, and dictate how they dress, act and perform in their jobs. Creating a culture of lifelong education and professional development helps create a learning culture, which embraces ongoing learning and development, leading to better outcomes for your library, and importantly, your customers.
Importantly, your staff will benefit too. They will experience higher job satisfaction and workplace engagement, increased motivation and effectiveness, all leading to increased morale. It is an investment in them and their future careers, which will hopefully be with you and your library service. And it doesn’t have to be expensive.
No matter how great the quality or quantity of your library collection, including online resources, or how physically beautiful the library building is, it means little without the knowledge, expertise and experience of the library staff managing and working in the establishment. A 21st century library demands the best, high performing staff possible, especially that libraries are run on extremely lean budgets these days.
The question is not whether you can afford to train or educate your staff, but can you afford not to?
“ The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them” - Zig Ziglar