Challenges in Training

New Department, new co-workers and new students, which means we are all starting from scratch.  Training is a must and training helps everyone to stay on top of their work.  This insures you to keep organized, up to date and focused.  Challenges are always there and folks, we are no longer one or two steps ahead, thanks in part to our ever-changing technology.

There are some major challenges when starting a new department. Why, you ask?  Things are not in place, things are not organized, and things are not yet structured.  Where is this file on this author, what department is that author from, and when did this author submit this item?  How do I put this patent in again? What does the EU mean in front of this patent number? How do I link this again?  Questions and more questions and no one seems to have all the answers…YET!  TRAINING anyone?  We have a love-hate relationship folks with training around here.

First off, you got to have help; this means assembling a staff with a boss (Harrison), a supervisor (Hope) and the worker bees (a.k.a. Susan, myself and Sue).  Okay, step one was completed by the start of September 2014 when we finally had all of our full time staff officially in place. Moving on to step two, which was getting the office organized. This process actually began shortly after I started in May. I decided the best way to keep our paperwork organized was to come up with a basic filing system (organize files by department, then last name).  This allows us to maintain a better work flow and keep track of where each Author’s file is, where in the work flow each staff member is, and send the Author updates as needed.  Okay, time to move on to the actual training portion…there is that word again.

Step three means putting that staffing and organization to best use by creating some kind of instruction manual.  Instructions are important for all staff, and yes, that includes the bosses. Instructions ensure that there is a uniform process for the work that is being done, so that we end up with, you guessed it, a uniform product! Having an instruction manual in place is an ideal jumping off point in any training process, which is why I worked with Harrison to piece one together before the rest of our new staffers started in September. Since then, we have come to realize the inevitable step four…

Actually putting this all into practice. Having only been here a few months, I was charged with training my new supervisor, Hope. She would sit down with me in the morning, instruction manual and pen in hand, and try to make sense of what I was telling her. Then, that afternoon, she would sit down and train our other Library Assistant II, Sue Rappenwolf. It is a messy and hectic process that raised all sorts of questions I didn’t have the answers to. Training another employee really tested everything I thought I knew about repositories and forced me to put all my knowledge to the test.

If I could pass right by step four I would! It is this really long drawn out process and right when you think you’ve got it all figured out, someone comes along with a seemingly innocent question and makes you rethink the entire process. But that makes us stop and ask, “What are we training, for what?” For all those questions you have and are unable to locate the answer on your own. Training will aid you in getting your job done more efficiently, timely manner, and accurately.  Training does help you but like exercising you don’t want to get “started” doing it but feel so much better when it is over. You realized you got something out of it and you don’t want to admit it to anyone.  Well, at least I don’t!!!

Ultimately, what I’ve learned since joining this very new department is that training is a never ending journey. Next week, Hope will expand on this and describe the on-going challenge of trying to create a set of instructions for an ever-evolving process.

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About smithll

I have always found it hard to talk about myself. I will just give you the basic and boring stuff about my old self. I grew up riding motorcycles (Yamaha 175ty) and volunteering for our local fire and rescue department for about 13 years of my early life. I also do what I can for animals, I love almost all animals (bees and I just don't see eye to eye) and want to see them all in happy homes. I am in my 20th year at Iowa State University Parks Library, Digital Repository. I enjoy ice fishing, a good book or movie (if that comes with popcorn), traveling around (by foot, bike, car, plane, boat, train) to see different places, time with family and friends and hanging out on the old porch with our kitties and especially enjoy the time with my husband Kevin Smith

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