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Manager new hire orientation and training program

St. Louis County Library

Innovation Leader: Charles Pace, Library Director, cpace@slcl.org

Problem Statement

In order to create a more diverse group of librarians at the management level, St. Louis County Library (SLCL) hires many professionals from outside the organization. These newly hired managers come into their positions with little information about the structure, function, and culture of the organization. Managers who were promoted from non-management positions within SLCL lacked much of this information as well. This time was often a difficult period of transition marked by a steep learning curve. Historically at SLCL, managers were thrust into positions with relatively little training or orientation, thus increasing the likelihood of avoidable mistakes occurring.

Innovation

A robust training and orientation program was developed to equip newly hired managers with the information, background, and training needed to be successful in their new positions. Each new manager spends between 4-6 weeks engaged in a training and mentoring program before he/she is ultimately placed into a position. After completing the technical training on the ILS software, each new hire attends a day-long New Hire Orientation session presented by an SLCL staff trainer. The new hire is then matched up with an experienced Branch Manager and Assistant Manager at a particular branch. These two SLCL veterans serve as mentors for the newly hired manager. The mentors review a greatly expanded version of the job description which includes a checklist of all pertinent training topics. This period of the training typically lasts between 3-4 weeks. After this time, the new hire spends one week visiting every support department at Headquarters. This allows the new hire to understand the function of each department, to know who to contact for questions, and to have a basic understanding of all operational functions of the Library. The last week of the training and orientation is spent working at yet another branch with a different Branch Manager and Assistant Manager. This experience provides the new hire with a different perspective on branch management and management styles.

Progress

New hires enter their management positions better equipped to succeed and with higher confidence. Communication within the organization is enhanced through this process, and the learning curve for a new manager is more manageable.