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Research Services Before Research Services is the group that many libraries call Reference . The group was plagued with PowerPoint Presentation
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Technology Support Before As technology at Bucknell had become more and more pervasive on campus over the last ten years or so, the technology support personnel had struggled to keep up with the demand for support. The old model for technology support included:

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Technology Support Before

  • As technology at Bucknell had become more and more pervasive on campus over the last ten years or so, the technology support personnel had struggled to keep up with the demand for support. The old model for technology support included:
  • A Technology Desk (for faculty, staff and student support) staffed primarily by students and six departmental liaisons (from Client Services, a separate work group) who took referrals from the Technology Desk. Client Services liaisons (the “experts”) then prioritized and responded to the issues assigned to them, which caused many delays.
  • The Client Services group, in turn, was struggling to stay afloat, finding it nearly impossible to keep up with workloads, plagued with miscommunication, and suffering from poor morale and burnout.
  • By the fall of 2001, it had become obvious to many that Client Services had outgrown the support model from 1993, but most importantly, its talented and committed staff wanted to do better for the campus community.
  • Technology Support AfterThe newly combined group determined early on in the that process that their overarching goal became resolving 80% of our technology support needs at the first point of contact.
  • On August 12, 2002, Tech Support rolled out a new structure and services, which is still modified and improved as needed:
  • A group of staff works in a “call center” supporting faculty and staff during the work day.
  • Student workers provide student phone and walk-up support at the Tech Desk supported and coached by staff. Full-time staff at the Tech Desk support walk-up faculty and staff.
  • We implemented a new technology support work flow (tracking) system that provides staff with the ability to store and retrieve knowledge, assign issues to staff, and escalate problems to “experts.”
  • Created a way to dispatch staff immediately to resolve problems if needed through the creation of a “captain of the day.”
  • We designated new ISR reps for each department to provide customer service and consulting, and we created a VIP rep for university senior administration.
  • We created one job description for Tech Support staff which includes all of the roles in the new work group.
  • We moved equipment for checkout from the Tech Desk to Circulation.
  • We implemented a daily morning “huddle” to facilitate daily communication and work prioritization.
  • Is it Time to Reorganize?What does an organization do when the work is not getting done, the staff are unhappy, and not being used to their full potential? For institutions who are struggling with vast amounts of work going uncompleted, and massive gaps in their workflows, this is a relevant process. Organizations can map out the work that needs to be done, while simultaneously matching individuals with their skills, preferred modes of work, and interests. Two ISR workgroups faced large amounts of work, ineffective communication and collaboration, unhappy team members, and so on. These two groups followed an appreciative process that attempted to get at the root of the problems, sort out the work, and let people’s skills and desires benefit the workgroups and the organization at large.
  • Our Guiding Principles of ISR Work Redesigns
  • Design from the customers’ perspective
  • Determine key processes, work activities
  • Design work from those processes
  • Address “people needs” first, then other system changes later
  • Maintain focus of attention on work that really makes a difference to customers
  • Streamline or eliminate unnecessary handoffs
  • Match people to work (talents, interests, capabilities, etc.)
  • Build in ongoing assessment
  • Our Work Redesign Process and Tools
  • “What is working well?” – The process then focuses on what is working, rather than what is broken.
  • Strengths Finder – A book and online test that categorizes individuals according to personal ‘themes’ and shows them how to best leverage these themes in their work and personal lives.
  • “If You Had Your Druthers” – The process of asking people what work they’d ideally like to do “if they had their druthers.”
  • Specialized retreats with outside consultant– Maureen Sullivan, a professional Organizational Development consultant, led the groups through exercises that helped them envision their work and plan for the future.
  • Communication/Work Styles – The groups assessed where on the spectrum of interactive communication and work styles they fell. The range includes Analytical, Driver, Amiable, and Expressive.
  • Group Agreements – The groups drafted agreements about standards of conduct, interaction, communication, collaboration, and work implementation.
  • Mission Statements/Vision and Priorities – The groups wrote overarching strategic documents containing guiding principles that would shape the work.
  • SWOT analysis – Assessing an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
  • Envisioning the work – Looking towards the “ideal future” and what the organization will theoretically be accomplishing in a perfect world.
  • Our Values Guide Us in Our Work
  • ISR Values Statement
  • Within ISR, we share a common set of values as we work to accomplish our mission of supporting the academic, administrative and co-curricular functions of Bucknell University. These values provide us with a framework for effectively working together and meeting the needs of the campus community. They are ideals toward which we continue to strive in our daily efforts.
  • During the work redesign, and throughout a typical day in ISR, our values guide us. The values marked in red are those that were particularly relevant during the redesign processes.
  • WE VALUE OUR ROLE IN THE MISSION OF THE UNIVERSITYWE VALUE EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICEWE VALUE A COLLABORATIVE WORK ENVIRONMENTWE VALUE LEADERSHIP THROUGHOUT THE ORGANIZATIONWE VALUE PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENTWE VALUE PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITYWE VALUE A HEALTHY WORK ENVIRONMENTWE REFUSE TO LET EACH OTHER FAIL
  • Research Services Before
  • Research Services is the group that many libraries call Reference. The group was plagued with these issues:
  • The combination of the size and culture of the work group contributed to the staff being unable to work effectively.
  • The group lacked agility, was resistant to change and was unable to leverage shared group leadership. Work “roles” were unclear, and there was not a clear understanding of how the group’s work got done (beyond the traditional librarian/liaison model).
  • Decision domains were not clear within the work group.
  • The group operated in a vacuum, and could not easily collaborate with other ISR work groups. Mechanisms were not in place for back and forth collaboration between the group and ISR.
  • The group was perceived as not “forward thinking” and unable to move beyond “day to day” operations.
  • Research Services AfterAs part of the redesign process, the group assessed its work and decided that much of the work that was not getting done could be completed by creating ISR-wide cross functional teams.
  • The results of the work redesign were:
  • Research Services realized that their perspective on ISR groups was as valuable as having outside perspectives on their teams and groups.
  • We created Faculty and Student Outreach groups, Assessment group, and Collection Development group. Within weeks of creation, the groups were up and running, and breaking new ground within the organization. All eventually included members from outside Research Services.
  • We created a single job description and title for all Research Services group members that includes all of the roles in the workgroup.
  • Two new workgroups, made up of former Research Services members, were created: Digital Initiatives Group (DIG), and Integrated Online Services Group (IOS). DIG handles planning and administration of online image collections, and IOS handles online services such as portal, ISR website, knowledgebase, etc.
  • We created subgroups and new workgroups which allowed Research Services to become more agile, and decentralized the leadership and decision domains.
  • Research Services has written a strategic plan, aligned with ISR and University goals.
  • Today, the work group can quickly react to staffing challenges and unplanned new work. They are able to deftly realign themselves to not only continue the core work, but meet any challenges that come their way.

An Appreciative Approach To Work RedesignJason Snyder and Jeannie Zappeand special thanks to Kathleen McQuistonBucknell UniversityInformation Services and Resources