Thursday, January 30, 2014

Predictions For Talent, Leadership,
And HR Technology In 2014
Top Ten Predictions for 2014

1. Talent, skills, and capability needs become global.
In 2014 key skills will be scarce.  Software engineering, energy and life sciences, mathematics and analytics, IT, and other technical skills are in short supply.  And unlike prior years, this problem is no longer one of “hiring top people” or “recruiting better than your competition.” Now we need to source and locate operations around the world to find the skills we need.
You must expand your sourcing and recruiting to a global level. Locate work where you can best find talent. And build talent networks which attract people around the world.

2. Integrated capability Development Replaces Training.
The “training department” will be renamed “capability development.” Companies will find skills short and they will have to build a supply chain for talent. Partner with universities, establish apprentice programs, create developmental assignments, and focus on continuous learning. Companies that focus on continuous learning in 2014 will attract the best and build for the future.

3. Redesign of Performance Management Accelerates.
The old-fashioned performance review is slowly going out the window. In 2014 companies will aggressively redesign their appraisal and evaluation programs to focus on coaching, development, continuous goal alignment, and recognition. The days of “stacked ranking” are slowly going away in today’s talent-constrained workplace, to be replaced by a focus on engaging people and helping them perform at extraordinary levels.

4. Redefine Engagement: Focus on Passion and the Holistic Work Environment.
Engagement and retention will become a top priority. But rather than focus on engagement surveys, you will expand your horizons to look at engagement from a holistic standpoint. Your work environment, management practices, benefits and recognition programs, career development, and corporate mission all contribute to engagement. As you seek to attract and grow Millenials, you will re-imagine employee engagement in a new, integrated way. And rather than survey annually, new tools will let you monitor engagement continuously.
As one HR manager recently put it, “our employees are no longer looking for a career, they’re looking for an experience.” Your job in 2014 is to make sure that experience is rewarding, exciting, and empowering.

5. Take Talent Mobility and Career Development Seriously.
Talent mobility is with us for good:  thanks to tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook people can find new jobs in a heartbeat. This means you, as an employer, need to provide internal talent mobility and career growth in your own organization. 2014 is the time to build a “facilitated talent mobility” strategy which includes open access to internal positions, employee assessment tools, interview guides, and leadership values that focus on internal development.
Are your managers paid to “consume talent” or “produce talent?” Remember the best source of skills is within your own organization – if you cannot make internal mobility easy, good people will go elsewhere.

6. Redesign and Reskill the HR Function.
Surprise: in our global Human Capital Trends research the need to “Reskill HR” was rated one of the top five challenges in every geography around the world. Why?  Because HR itself is changing dramatically and we need to continuously skill our own teams to maintain our relevance and value.
Our new High-Impact HR research, scheduled for launch in early 2014, shows statistically that high-performing companies invest in HR skills development, external intelligence, and specialization. In 2014 if you aren’t reinvesting in HR, you’ll likely fall behind.

7. Reinvent and Expand Focus on Talent Acquisition.
As the economy improves you will need to more aggressively and intelligently source and recruit. The talent acquisition market is the fastest-changing part of HR: new social recruiting, talent networks, BigData, assessment science, and recruiting platforms are being launched every month.
In 2014 organizations will need to integrate their talent acquisition teams, develop a global strategy, and expand their use of analytics, BigData, and social networks. Your employment brand now becomes more strategic than ever – so partner with your VP of Marketing if you haven’t already.  Today your ability to recruit is directly dependent on your engagement and retention strategy – what your employees experience is what is communicated in the outside world.

8. Continued Explosive Growth in HR Technology and Content Markets.
The HR technology and content markets will expand again in 2014. ERP players (Oracle, SAP, Workday, ADP) are all delivering integrated solutions now.  IBM, CornerstoneOnDemand, PeopleFluent, SumTotal, and dozens of other fast-growing talent management companies are now offering end-to-end solutions. And most now offer integrated analytics solutions as well.
Mobile apps, MOOCs, expanded use of Twitter, and an explosion in the use of video has created a need to continuously invest in HR technology. In 2014 the theme is “simplify” – understand technology but keep it simple. Employees are already overwhelmed and we need to make these tools and content easy to use. The word for 2014 is “adoption” – make technology easy to use and it will deliver great value.

9. Talent Analytics Comes to Front of the Stage.
Talent Analytics is red hot. More than 60% of you are increasing investment in this area and company after company is uncovering new secrets to workforce performance each day. In 2014 you should build a talent analytics center of excellence and invest in the infrastructure, data quality, and integration tools you need. This market is finally here, and companies that excel in talent analytics have improved their recruiting by 2X, leadership pipeline by 3X, and financial performance as well.

10. Innovation Comes to HR. The New Bold, CHRO.
One of the top three challenges companies now face is “reskilling their HR team.” This points to the issue that HR itself, as a business function, is undergoing radical change. Today’s HR organization is no longer judged by its administrative efficiency – it is judged by its ability to acquire, develop, retain, and help manage talent. And more and more HR is being asked to become “Data-Driven” – understand how to best manage people based on real data, not just judgement or good ideas.
As a result of these changes, our research shows a new model for HR emerging – one we call High-Impact HR. In this new world HR professionals are highly trained specialists, they act as consultants, and they operate in “networks of expertise” not just “centers of expertise.” And driving this new world is a strong-willed, business-driven CHRO. In 2014 organizations should focus on innovation, new ideas, and leveraging technology to drive value in HR. This demands an integrated team, a focus on skills and capabilities within HR, and strong HR leadership.

Friday, January 24, 2014

As librarians, we know the value of our community services, and our patrons appreciate their importance as well. But in an increasingly digital world, we see the role of libraries as community and cultural centers at times undervalued, and occasionally under fire. When shrinking municipal budgets combine with the nonstop technological revolution, public library services that focus on building community face-to-face, inspiring and educating patrons about art, literature, and music, and helping patrons engage in civil discourse can seem quaint. But it is precisely those shrinking budgets and the onslaught of technologically mediated life that make public libraries’ cultural and community offerings more important than ever.
David Morris wrote a stirring piece last May in which he argues for the value that public libraries bring to their communities.1 More than just books and banks of computers, libraries are still places where individuals gather to explore, interact, and imagine. We decided to take a look at some of the specific ways in which libraries add value to our communities and serve as cultural centers for our patrons. We separated library services into five very broad categories: (1) libraries as community builders, (2) libraries as community centers for diverse populations, (3) libraries as centers for the arts, (4) libraries as universities, and (5) libraries as champions of youth. Under each of these we highlighted specific ways in which libraries serve in these capacities, and included examples of unique or exemplary library services that support the notion that libraries are about more than just information.
In building this list we had two goals. First, we wanted to highlight some of the incredible work in which libraries are engaged. From tiny public libraries to huge city institutions with multiple branches, libraries across the United States are building community and supporting local culture in exciting ways. Take a look, the examples are inspiring. Hopefully, they will encourage librarians interested in community services and cultural outreach to make connections with each other, share ideas, and build partnerships. We believe that reading these examples will spark some new ideas for public librarians and prompt them to try a new program or service, or to expand upon the great services that are already in place at their libraries. Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, a strong supporter of libraries as community builders, addressed librarians saying, “Unless you are out there changing neighborhoods, you are not completing the work you are to do.”2 Strengthening neighborhoods and championing the cultural lives of communities are big responsibilities. We think librarians are up to the challenge.
Second, we hope that this list will not only inspire librarians to become more active in creating services and programs that are community focused, but will give them some tools with which to advocate on behalf of public libraries. As we said, we all know the value of our libraries. It’s time to take the value we add and use that to advocate for better funding and more resources. Those who argue that libraries are becoming obsolete don’t know what public libraries do in the twenty-first century. We hope you use the examples that follow to help educate stakeholders, making them aware that libraries are more than books and technology. Libraries build citizens. They educate individuals and foster thoughtful communities. They are essential components of communities—worth fighting for and worth funding. Hopefully, the presentation of these examples to city governments, library boards, and the community at large will help us demonstrate our worth and become increasingly valued partners in our communities.
Libraries as Community Builders
  1. Libraries help revitalize struggling or depressed neighborhoods and downtowns.
    • Place-based economic development stresses the importance of offering attractive, functional, and community-based places, such as libraries, in town squares and depressed neighborhoods. Like a major department store in a mall, libraries attract large numbers of people, creating economic opportunities for a myriad of businesses and organizations in the surrounding area. Large cities (such as Chicago3), medium-sized ones (Hudson, Ohio), and even small towns (Putney, Vermont) have successfully transformed their libraries into the hubs of vibrant neighborhoods.4
  2. Libraries are important partners in sustainability.
    • As key municipal agencies, and focal points for community education, libraries are major players in creating livable, environmentally friendly cities and towns. The Urban Libraries Council released a report detailing the unique ways in which libraries can further sustainability at the local level.5 Beyond ensuring that library construction projects consider environmental impact, libraries can take a lead in supporting local foods and artisans, like the Peabody (Mass.) Institute Library’s (PIL) partnering with local businesses to pioneer a farmers’ market in their courtyard, or the Richmond (Calif.) Public Library’s (RPL) seed lending library which “nurtures locally-adapted plant varieties, and fosters community
      resilience, self-reliance and a culture of sharing.”6
  3. Libraries’ special collections grow out of specific community needs.
    • In addition to RPL’s seed lending library, there are other examples of libraries that provide circulating collections of everything from cake pans to fishing rods to bike locks. The Iowa City (Iowa) Public Library circulates framed posters and original artwork through its Art-to-Go collection.7 The Temescal Branch of the Oakland (Calif.) Public Library literally builds the community through its Tool Lending Library, which was created in 1991 to help rebuilding efforts after a disaster.8 Libraries that start such unique collections show how locally responsive and flexible a truly community-centered library can be.
  4. Archives preserve historic artifacts, oral histories, digital history projects, and monographs relevant to the community, including minority groups.
    • Communities lucky enough to have archivists have a great advantage when it comes to organizing historical records and artifacts. An organized archive is a place where people can research genealogy and immigration history, do environmental research, and more. An archivist is an advocate for preservation who, among other things, coordinates the restoration of maps and paintings, the digitization of vital records, and the creation of oral history projects. With projects like the Mass. Memories Road Show9 and the Veterans History Project,10 evidence of the importance of archives is everywhere.
  5. Libraries are places where people come to know themselves and their communities.
    • In the words of Robert Putnam, “People may go to the library looking mainly for information, but they find each other there.”11 New moms connect at baby story-times; elderly people, often facing difficult life transitions, attend events and find that they make new friends; teenagers meet up in libraries’ teen spaces after school; and readers discuss current events in the periodicals room. In libraries, community-building connections are happening all the time.
  6. Libraries serve as catalysts for addressing social problems.
    • Public librarians know their communities firsthand, and are often the first to recognize a pressing local need, simply because they interact on a daily basis with patrons from all walks of life. This puts libraries and librarians in the best position not only to bring local issues to municipal governments and social agencies, but also to partner with local governments and agencies to address the needs of a community. PIL’s “Library Lunches,”12 part of the Summer Food Service Program, is a compelling example of how a library recognized a social need, brought it to the attention of the community, and partnered with local agencies to address an important issue—how to provide meals for hundreds of hungry kids.
  7. Libraries, which champion, promote, and reflect important democratic values, are a part of the community’s political life.
    • Libraries can, should, and do play an important role in the political life of a community. From Banned Books Week displays,13 which combat the perils of school and community censorship efforts, to programs such as the September Project,14 which gathers community members and encourages them to talk about issues of freedom, justice, and democracy, libraries are pivotal in encouraging informed political involvement. Libraries also help citizens learn how to become advocates for themselves and their communities.
  8. Library buildings as architectural structures are culturally relevant.
    • From gorgeous old Carnegie buildings to modern marvels like the Seattle Public Library, library buildings are rich in symbolism and meaning. Whether it is architecturally grand or the simplest of rooms tucked into a city government building, the physical space of the library communicates to the public our underlying values: that libraries, information, and shared community space matter, something that the American Library Association (ALA) recognizes each year with its Library Design Showcase in American Libraries.15
  9. Libraries provide important business resources, especially for small local businesses.
    • With the recent collapse of many big corporations, it has become more widely acknowledged that small businesses provide most of the new jobs in our current economy. Libraries have a long history of serving local entrepreneurs and businesses, but some, like the District of Columbia Public Libraries (DCPL), are taking their business services to a new level. The Urban Libraries Council report, “Making Cities Stronger,” describes several library initiatives, including DCPL’s Enchanced Business Information Center (e-BIC) project. Located at the main branch library, e-BIC includes not only business resources, but also a state-of-the-art video conference room, full-time librarian, and staff-training workshops.16
Libraries as Community Centers for Diverse Populations
  1. Libraries help to ensure that non-English speakers see themselves represented in their communities.
    Multilingual library websites, like those at the San Francisco17 and Queens (N.Y.) public libraries,18 are just one of the ways in which libraries help non-English speakers see themselves represented in their communities. Public libraries often collect books in languages other than English, incorporate appropriate signage, and hire librarians and staff members who are multilingual. Additionally, some libraries offer bilingual book clubs.19 Services like these help all community members recognize the depth of diversity that exists in their communities.
  2. Libraries provide immigrants with helpful information about, and opportunities to connect with, their new communities.
    Not only are libraries gateways to the community, they provide a place where new immigrants and their families can connect with resources, learn new skills, and meet new people. The San Diego Public Library offers a specific webpage highlighting area and library services for new Americans.20 The New York Public Library (NYPL) offers English As a Second Language (ESL) classes, provides citizenship information, and celebrates Immigrant Heritage Week.21 PLA offers an online learning module for librarians interested in providing new or improved services to new immigrants.22 Services like these make libraries essential for new immigrants, as they provide services and information about their new community and government while at the same
    time meeting the needs of these new patrons in an accessible and appropriate way.
  3. Libraries provide information, resources, and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, and questioning (LGBTIQ) patrons.
    For gay teens, libraries are much-needed safe spaces and supportive librarians are allies and mentors. NYPL offers programs for LGBTIQ adults and teens,23 including an annual anti-prom designed for high school students who may not feel welcomed and included at a traditional school-based prom. The NYPL also maintains a blog that connects  readers with LGBTIQ resources and information.24
  4. Libraries provide information, resources, and support for patrons with disabilities. Recognizing that diversity isn’t just about ethnicity, language, or culture, public libraries provide unique and adaptable spaces and services for patrons with disabilities.
    In 2001, ALA adopted a policy on library services for people with disabilities,25 and many libraries, including the Denver26 and Chicago27 public libraries, offer a variety of tools and services, from software and equipment to special collections and homebound programs. The Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library has “several staff members fluent in American Sign Language.”28 Going one step further, some libraries develop creative programs to partner with patrons with disabilities. For example, PIL’s Bookworm Café,29 a partnership with a high school life skills program, allows the library to offer a morning coffee cart to patrons, while providing valuable work experience for students with special needs.
Libraries as Centers for the Arts
  1. Libraries provide access to nonmainstream points of view and give voice to local artists. Public libraries strive to provide collections and services that represent various points of view, and often work closely with local artists to do so.
    In many communities, local authors seek out public libraries as places to promote and make their new books available, and library services like Overdrive30 allow local musicians to upload and distribute their work. From the art gallery at the Newton Free Library31 in Massachusetts to NYPL’s collection of zines,32 local arts abound in public libraries.
  2. Libraries provide opportunities for free classes that encourage art appreciation as well as art participation.
    Providing opportunities for children and adults alike, library arts programs range from the simplest of crafts to the finest of fine arts. Picturing America programs,33 with their focus on American art and art history, creative writing workshops, and painting classes, are just a few examples of the ways that libraries offer a wealth of opportunities to explore and understand art.
  3. Libraries provide access to the arts for all, not just those who can afford them.
    As Keith Richards said, “The public library is the great equalizer.”34 Despite the rising costs of concert and theater tickets, public library events (including concerts, author visits, and gallery displays) are often offered free of charge, enabling people of any income level to attend. In addition, library book groups allow people to explore and discuss the literary arts, and the Great Stories Club35 introduces at-risk youth to literature. The best part: it’s all free and open to the public.
Libraries as Universities
  1. Libraries serve as the “people’s university.”
    In a time when education is increasingly expensive, public libraries provide information and educational opportunities free for all people, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Offered by libraries across the county, ALA’s Let’s Talk about It programs36 are wonderful examples of scholar-facilitated learning opportunities in libraries. In addition, many libraries present classes and discussion programs, and some even provide online continuing education courses such as the Universal Class database.37
  2. Libraries offer opportunities for remote access, making it possible for those who can’t get to the library to still access the library’s cultural and educational offerings.
    In addition to bookmobiles and databases, many libraries go above and beyond to make their services available to everyone. Polk County (Fla.) Library System offers B-Mail,38 a free book-by-mail delivery service, and in Zimbabwe donkey-drawn carts deliver library services to remote villages.39
  3. Libraries go beyond providing content to enabling patrons to create their own content.
    Librarians know that patrons aren’t just information consumers, they’re information producers. Patrons use the library to gain knowledge in order to create their own new and independent works. Increasing numbers of libraries provide spaces and services that meet the needs of people who want to learn how to edit Wikipedia, set up blogs or podcasts, create their own zines, and so much more. Many libraries offer art or writing workshops and groups, and some provide music practice rooms for patrons. Programs like ImaginOn40 in Charlotte (N.C.) provide exciting models that take community partnership, creativity, and creation to a new level.
  4. Libraries promote civil discourse.
    The decline of civil discourse stems in part from the fact that it is so easy for people to watch news about, buy products from, and engage—in both the virtual and real worlds—only with those of similar backgrounds and ideologies. Public libraries, through such programs as The Human Library41 and Socrates Café,42 can help build small communities of difference that encourage people to interact with and learn from each other through dialogue. By both actively promoting civil discourse through these programs, and by modeling and upholding the principles of free inquiry and expression for all, libraries help individuals rediscover the importance of and increased need for civil discourse in American life.
Libraries as Champions of Youth
  1. Libraries teach teens important life skills.
    The skills that teens pick up from teen advisory boards, volunteer opportunities, programs, and jobs can prepare them for success in high school, college, and the workforce. Brooklyn Public Library’s Multicultural Internship Program provides teens with positive work experiences, while also providing the library with a diverse staff that more closely mirrors the demographics of its community.43
  2. Free tutoring, homework help programs, and summer reading programs for kids and teens help bridge the economic divide that impacts students’ academic performance.
    The cost of hiring a private tutor is well beyond what many library patrons can afford, so libraries offer homework help and tutoring online, by phone, in person, and even through social media and homework apps.44 Annual summer reading programs also have a positive impact on student performance and, according to a 2010 study conducted by Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, students’ reading skills get a boost from these popular nationwide events.45
  3. Libraries are important partners in child development.
    Through library collections, programs, and physical spaces, children learn to share, to be engaged in their communities, to participate in the arts, and to explore their immediate world and the world at large. There are surely endless examples of innovative library services for children, including the Middle Country Public Library’s (in Centereach, N.Y.) Nature Explorium, which engages children in learning about the natural world.46
These examples are just a few of the many amazing things that public libraries around the United States (and the world) are doing to build and maintain strong community connections. We encourage you to try some of these ideas in your own libraries, and we hope that these ideas will help you be better able to convince your community leaders of the important role that public libraries play in communities large and small.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Why Should Librarians Use Research?

As information professionals, librarians regularly help their clientele conduct research. It
makes sense that librarians would systematically review the literature, gather more data, and analyze their findings to promote their own practice. At the personal level, research adds variety and depth to the job, helps one become more reflective, and satisfies one’s own curiosity. At the organizational level, research supports strategic planning, increases staff engagement, demonstrates program impact, and enhances the organization’s reputation. At the professional left, research facilitates in-depth discussion and action, furthers professional excellence, and increases the profession’s positive profile (see also

In the final analysis, research can assist in the planning, assessment, and improvement of current and future reading and literacy promotion programmes and services.

Research can:

v  Measure the quality and impact of current practices
v  Establish and measure library missions and plans
v  Measure the effectiveness and efficiency of efforts
v  Measure environmental change
v  Add value to the library programme as a whole.

In any case, research can be considered as knowledge-based assessment. Effective library management involves ongoing monitoring and improvement through thoughtful problem identification and solutions. Systematically examining an issue, reviewing the relevant literature, gathering and analyzing significant factors, testing and evaluating results all help solve crises. By documenting this process, librarians have more control of their efforts, can replicate them more easily, and have the evidence needed to convince decision-makers to allocate the resources necessary to solve the problem. For instance, when a reading workshop is cancelled for lack of interest, librarians can try to figure out the problem by identifying possible factors that led to the cancellation, researching how other librarians have addressed this problem successfully, gathering and analyzing relevant data, and then recommending a plan of action so that future workshops will be more successful.

The most immediate impact of using research is library service, with the intent of greater
customer satisfaction and greater literacy. Hopefully, research efforts are conducted in
consort with affected stakeholders so that feel like part of the solution, making a positive
difference at their site. The research process also constitutes authentic professional development as the librarian research self-identifies reading and literacy issues, and searches for best practice and underlying concepts and theories to ground understanding and appropriate action. As the librarian processes the new information and reflects on it in light of local needs, he or she adds to a personal repertoire of knowledge and skills that can be applied meaningfully and immediately, thus reinforcing the benefits of the effort. More globally, by sharing the research with the larger professional community, librarians contribute to the body of knowledge in the field as well as help their colleagues who might have similar issues to confront.