Knowledge Café 2014: Next wrap-up

Here`s the next wrap-up of the table Creation of staff training and development teams.

Creation of Staff training and development teams
Moderator: Vivian Lewis, McMaster University
Raconteur: Juanita Jara De Sumar, McGill University

The group was presented with some base information and offered the McMaster University case as an example of successful implementation.
Participants discussed the benefits of having a strategic plan in place before the training programme is established. The value of having a clear sense of need was also identified. (In the McMaster case, ClimateQUAL data illustrated a strong need for training and an anonymous survey indicated what kinds of sessions staff wanted and how they wanted the content delivered.)
It was argued that a committee requires a library of a certain size, as otherwise there will not be enough people to take or deliver sessions. Many participants noted the value of bringing experts in from outside the library.
Soft skills (interpersonal skills, etc.) were identified as very important. In choosing trainers it may be necessary to offer everybody the opportunity to apply.
There was strong agreement in all three groups that staff must take some ownership of their own development. Staff must take an active role and apply what they have learned and the team must assist everybody. In reality, we find that some people expect the organization to make decisions for them in terms of what they need to learn.
We also discussed possible obstacles. Staff may be suspicious of the Administration having a hidden agenda. For the team to work, it is necessary that staff be confident and trust the committee leaders.
Another topic was the level of power of the committee. The team can be purely advisory, with management making the ultimate decisions. The group can simply coordinate the training or it can do the actual delivery. (In the McMaster case, the group did a mix of coordination and delivery.

They organized the purchase of, scheduled webinars, peer-to-peer sessions and guest speakers. Specialists from the Continuing Education unit were brought in to do project management training.)
Some of the comments suggested that resources could be used from the local library school. And it could be a good idea to provide some sort of continuing education certification.
Most participants in the first round remained for the second round and continued contributing to the discussion. All three rounds were lively and informative.