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WJ Online Conference

Getting Admin Buy-In for Training

By Jennifer | August 10th, 2011 | Comment?

Online conference coverage continues for WebJunction/Learning Round Table hosted online conference, Trends in Library Training and Learning. Sarah HoughtonThank you to Sarah Houghton for her presentation, Getting Admin Buy-In for Training.

We spent the first three sessions of today’s online conference getting psyched up to learn, to train, and to have fun doing it. But what if training is not a priority at your library? That can sure kill your buzz. So, Sarah Houghton addressed how to overcome that barrier and get your administration on board with the value of staff’s pursuit of new and improved skills.

The problem Sarah notes is that most libraries have experienced extremely uneven staff skills, from awesome, to adequate, to struggling. The goal is to have a consistent skill set across staff who are performing the same functions.

She shared the reasons why to invest in staff tech training, and suggested you ask yourself: What does your staff need to know to do their jobs well?

How do you get admin to approve your brilliant plan? How do you get them to say yes, and give you the resources to do it? Your boss make likely talk about wanting things fast and free, you may be subjected to a cadre of committees to review your idea, or there just may be a resistance to change. Sarah’s advice? Ask for forgiveness, not permission. Just do it, do it well, and point to the results.

Tips to help you in your venture:

If you feel alone, reach out to others and ask for help (use your professional network)
Use ROI Calculators
Speak the same language as your administrators

Slashed training budget? Look at free options vs expensive consultants. The word “training” can bring dollars signs into admin’s eyes. Consider webinar swaps: you train my staff, I’ll train yours

Show that Rapid Prototyping of training works. Show successful examples of what you can do. Collect information from staff that shows that it worked.

Build allies among opponents. Target those most reluctant first, develop rapport and get them on our side. (Think Star Trek)

Say no to no. Ask for reason why, so that you can address that issue.

Retain authority gently. (Think Andy Griffith) Coach around your point of view.

Start small. You don’t need to put together a whole training program at the start.Plant the seed.

Bring it. Organizations can move very slow, so bring your best game, highest impact effort to it, to WOW decision makers into action.

It’s all about the users. Why are we training staff in the first place? For the benefit of the library’s services and resource to our users. Tie it to impact on users.

Sarah then segued into how to approach a comprehensive training plan. She noted the key ingredients:
goals
skill lists
assessment
training
reassessment
evaluation

She noted a few caveats:
One person can kill a project
Not everyone believes that staff lack basic skills, so you have to show them.Denial.
Not everyone believes that web-based training is valuable.”If it’s not live, it’s not training”
It is possible for you to sabotage your training initiative yourself by making some key errors.
Finally, Sarah covered how to assess your progress and celebrate the results. The hour was packed with information, so be sure to view and listen to the full archive when it posted.

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