Saturday, 30 November 2013

All about people

The last couple of weeks have been all about people - talking, liaising, negotiating, persuading, explaining and reassuring. This tends to happen, in my experience, when there are a variety of things happening - either starting to happen or are recently in place and not quite running smoothly. It takes time, which is time well spent, to ensure that the things happen and don't falter or fizzle out.
So some of the things that have happened that need persuading and cajoling along are:
Opening hours of the library - earlier opening at 8.30am and then 24hr opening.
MFDs and printing and the introduction of cover sheets to try and make the identification and pick up of print jobs easier.
Staff - the continued training of Information Assistants, the integration of telephony staff into the IT Helpdesk team and customer services team. Also recruitment - short listing for interviews of part time library assistants.
Some of the things that are imminent and require negotiation, explaining and reassuring to move forward:
Weeding and stock relegation - time and process
Monitoring of unattended and unoccupied study spaces - process and practicalities.
Zones and noise levels - negotiation, explanation and decisions.
It's essential to get to know people, to work out what they think is important and find the common ground and purpose.
All this against the background of change and managing change and moving things forward.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

100days, over 5months

I have completed more than 5 months in my (new) job at HWU and feel that I've survived it and enjoyed it in equal measures.
The 100days part is that I had an email from Organisational Development (a subset of HR?) last week asking if a member of staff could come and talk to me about my first 100 days at the university.
I agreed (with slight trepidation) and was pleasantly surprised. A very nice OD/HR person came along to my office to chat about what I thought would be useful to include in a Toolkit for Staff for the first 100 days of their employment at the University. They are asking a number of people within the university for input and then anonymising and collating the results.
There were quite a few questions and topics that we discussed but some of the suggestions that I made were:
A physical tour of the University campus and an introduction to a person in each academic school and professional department.
An explanation of the University structure (people /depts). If you've worked in a university before then you've got a rough idea of how it fits together and the difference between 'Schools' and 'Services' but if you haven't it would be confusing. How would you know what Registry is for example?
An opportunity to network / liaise with other staff members at the same level or grade as you but in different departments - academic and professional.
A checklist of the nitty gritty - you need to do this to get a contract and this to get paid and this to log on to the computer and this to access particular information either online or on campus.
One other aspect that I mentioned was that I'm quite pro-active and happy to seek people and places out. I had my own strategies for finding information and setting up meetings. But you do need to keep on asking and not worry about asking numerous times. There's a responsibility on both sides - the new person has to keep asking and the established person has to keep answering.
It will be interesting to see the final Toolkit when it is produced.

IT Helpdesk Customer Services Team

The IT Helpdesk is part of the Customer Services Team in Information Services. So far I have spent quite a bit of my time working on matters to do with the Library Service Desk and the Information Assistants, I now need to concentrate on the IT Helpdesk. The IT Helpdesk is physically located in two different buildings - the IT building and the Library building.  In the IT / Information Services building two staff work full time on the IT Helpdesk and they process telephone and email issues/tickets.  In the Library we have a  IT Helpdesk which deals with enquiries from students as personal visits / face2face.  This is staffed by one person plus the Information Assistants and is situated at one end of the Library service desk.
The challenges are how to manage the two parts of the IT Helpdesk as one service and also how to manage and integrate the IT Helpdesk with the Library Service Desk to make one Customer Service facility and one Customer Service Team.  To add another factor, the switchboard part of the university telephony service is also going to be incorporated into the Customer Services Team and one of the telephonists is going to work on the IT Helpdesk.
There are three areas that I'm working on - firstly to look at ways of working together as one team and and consider how the skills, knowledge and experience can be shared.  Secondly looking at the processes and procedures and how we can document them so we know what we are doing and have a consistent approach. Thirdly how we can record accurately the activity at the different points into one system.
This is against a backdrop of a variety of people with varying levels of experience and expertise.
Today we had a meeting to discuss how we are going to standardize some of our procedures and document them effectively.  Also how we are going to provide training for those within the team and new members of the team as they come on-board.
It's a start and we have had a few discussions to get to here.  I don't want to lose sight, myself, of the bigger picture - that this is a Customer Services Team that has a broad remit and the potential for exciting developments.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

24/7 Library Opening Hours

This week we have started 24/7 opening of the library. Usual opening hours during Semester are 9.00am - 9.45pm Monday to Friday and 10.00am - 8.15pm Saturday and Sunday. During October we increased the opening hours by opening at 8.30am Monday - Friday.
During night time hours, after 9.45pm, the library is staffed by security staff who maintain the learning space. They come on duty at 9.45pm and work until 9.00am.
We have provided training for the security staff which involved explaining about the different areas and the services and facilities that are available for students. Obviously they are trained security personnel and have the back up of the university security staff.
The advantage this year is that we have the self service kiosks which mean that students can borrow and return books at any time.
The library is very busy these days as we are nearly at the end of teaching which means revision time and exams in December.