In support of Excellence Canada Silver certification, the Library organized process mapping / continuous improvement training working with Scott Smith of High Performance Solutions Inc.
The three 2-day workshops were designed to review and improve upon three current library processes, providing employees with an opportunity for both learning and experiencing real change.
- Onboarding (September 2016) – Developed a future state for onboarding new employees. A smaller committee was charged with implementing changes that came out of the workshop. This group was led by Sharon Lamont.
- Electronic resources access troubleshooting (November 2016) – Developed a streamlined process for using the ticketing access issues that staff and users have with the Library’s electronic resources. 6 small groups were formed to implement actions coming out of the workshop. Each group had a lead and Ian Robson oversaw the work collectively.
- Strategic Retention (September 2017) – Developed a future state for managing the strategic retention and removal of physical books from the Library’s collection. Implementation of changes are currently underway and Nick Richbell is leading this initiative.
To date, 53 library staff members have been involved in at least one continuous improvement project.
What work was completed?
Two-day workshops were organized for all three projects:
Day 1: Introduction to continuous improvement thinking and development of the current state process.
Day 2: Analysis of the process, development of a problem statement, identification of root causes, brainstorming solutions, and development of the future state process. Actions and measures were developed to enable the groups to get to the future state.
As noted above, groups were formed for each project to implement recommendations/changes to attain the future state.
What determined the focus in this particular area?
- Onboarding (September 2016) – Initially, the intention was to look broadly at hiring in the Library, due to the high volume of recruitment in recent years. However, the group quickly realized that they needed to narrow the scope and decided to focus on onboarding specifically. Factors to support the focus on onboarding included:
- High volume of recruitment in recent years;
- Recognition that a more robust onboarding process/program was needed to provide new employees with a more gradual introduction to the Library, more check-in opportunities, and novel experiences for learning;
- Awareness that the Managers Onboarding Checklist required revision;
- Understanding that other information/opportunities might be beneficial for new employees e.g., campus tours.
- Electronic resources access troubleshooting (November 2016) – This process was selected as it was notably more focused than the overall “hiring” process that was chosen for the first project and individuals involved in this process could be readily brought together to work on this. Other contextual factors that made this a good choice, included:
- Recent restructuring and staffing changes in Collection Development and related departments;
- Inconsistent and/or ineffective use of the RT system;
- General recognized need for a streamlined process.
- Strategic Retention (September 2017) – This is a particularly painful process in the Library. Strategic retention work is ongoing, requires input from disparate groups with varying opinions, and involves the updating of complex systems and working with numerous reports. It is also sometimes an unfavourable process, as many librarians do not like to remove books from the collection, despite pressing space needs. A new, well-informed process was needed to streamline work while enabling the maintenance of an accurate knowledge base.
What were the overall results?
- Onboarding (September 2016) – Outcomes included the development of a new Library Onboarding Program, consisting of an updated Managers Onboarding Checklist, a new Orientation Schedule (complementing the schedule developed by HR), a Buddy program, campus tours and onboarding check-in’s.
- Electronic resources access troubleshooting (November 2016) – Developed a streamlined process for ticketing access issues reported by staff. Since this initial project, Collection Development has replicated the process improvement exercise to improve processes for invoicing, book ordering, acquisition of new database subscriptions, and cancellation of database subscriptions.
- Strategic Retention (September 2017) – Developed a future state for managing the strategic retention and removal of physical books from the Library’s collection, but now need to implement it. Work is currently underway with Nick Richbell overseeing the implementation.
What did you learn (positives and challenges)?
The Library will be holding a session with participants from all three projects (likely in November) to debrief on their experiences and learn more about the positives and challenges. Feedback from staff has been positive so far though. For many, this was their first exposure to continuous improvement thinking and process mapping. The approach has been enthusiastically adopted now within Collection Development, where staff are replicating the approach to improve other collections processes. A proposal to further integrate Lean and CI efforts as part of this campus pilot has been developed and submitted as part of the Library’s planning and priorities-setting process.
Please contact Kimberly Snage for any questions.