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SPLendid Ideas

Sacramento Public Library

Innovation Leader: Maria Trejo , HR Technician, mtrejo@saclibrary.org

Problem Statement

A gap was identified between the wealth of ideas among employees and the lack of available resources to share and implement these ideas, resulting in morale issues. Employees expressed a need for a vehicle to be created for their ideas and solutions to be heard.

Innovation

SPLendid Ideas, the Employee Suggestion Program, was implemented in March 2010 to provide a formal process for employees to submit ideas that may improve the Library’s efficiency and effectiveness in areas such as methods, procedures, productivity, quality, customer service, safety, or cost savings. An evaluation team meets monthly to review progress and new suggestions. This team is comprised of librarians, circulation staff and staff from administrative business units at both management and line staff levels. One team member “owns” the suggestion from receipt to resolution. Each member works diligently with the suggestor, the work units involved, and the executive team to resolve each suggestion before the suggestor is notified of the outcome. Suggestors are given the option to remain anonymous but most include contact information. However, this information is suppressed from the review team in order to keep the process objective. The team facilitator communicates with suggestors, providing regular updates and acts as a liaison between the suggestor and the review team.

Progress

More than 220 suggestions have been submitted and vetted since March 2010. The Library receives an average of 15 suggestions per month. Of the suggestions submitted, 31% have been implemented either as presented or with minor modifications, and 34% are in the review stage for possible implementation. The remaining 35% were deemed unfeasible or cannot be implemented due to current budget, technological, or legal constraints. Many great ideas have been implemented since its inception last year: formation of a workgroup to redesign of the website and content including additional billing options for patrons, better access to hours, events and information; implementation of a "silent" (i.e., unadvertised) 3-day grace period for all items; cost saving ideas, such as eliminating paper billing, recycling printing waste and shipping waste have been implemented. Most important is that staff now see tangible evidence that everyone has a voice.