Job sculpting in the midst of organizational change
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“Job sculpting” – matching employees to job duties consistent with their professional interests and strengths — in librarian positions can be a helpful practice for enhancing employee satisfaction and ultimately retention. Critically, it can also aid in meeting changing organizational needs by building new capabilities in employees. This presentation will document our recent experiences in sculpting our STEM librarians’ positions in the midst of broader organizational changes. Our library underwent a re-organization in 2017; STEM librarians who were previously organized under a facilities-oriented branch library model, moved into a department including all subject specialist, research, and instruction librarians across all subject areas. At the same time we brought together responsibilities for previously discrete subject areas (e.g. geology, chemistry, sociology, history, music) towards increased shared responsibilities under three broad banners of STEM, Social Sciences, and Arts & Humanities. This milieu presented new opportunities for subject librarians both to collaborate across disciplines and also to share and divide responsibilities in new ways. More recently, in 2019, there was mutual interest amongst STEM librarians in specialization of one librarian’s role towards teaching, and another towards collections; this provided an opportunity for job sculpting and sharing responsibilities across disciplines. Additionally, each of our STEM librarians have devoted a portion of their time to learning data management skills and taking on teaching and research support roles related to data, as a reasonable extension of duties. For job sculpting to be successful, it requires flexibility and interest in learning new skills on behalf of the librarians, and careful construction of duties from management to foster overlap of competencies and avoid single points of failure. The presentation brings perspectives of both a librarian and a supervisor to these issues.
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