Building a Competency-Based New Employee Development Program

Melissa Fraser-Arnott is the Chief of Integrated Reference Services at the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, Canada where she manages a team of embedded subject-specialist research librarians. She has 15 years experience in special libraries and government settings including the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and the Canadian Police College. She has a doctorate from Queensland University of Technology through the San José Gateway PhD Program, an MLIS from the University of Western Ontario, and will complete an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business in 2020. She is an active member of SLA, ALA, and ALISE. Her research interests include professional identities, LIS competencies, professional development, and library management.
Maureen Martyn, MLIS (McGill University, 1988), has more than twenty years’ experience working in the Canadian parliamentary milieu. From her early days as a reference librarian to her current role as chief of Branches and Reference Services, Maureen has been involved in many parliamentary projects, including LegisInfo and HillNotes, the Library’s research publications blog. She has held several management positions, including managing multidisciplinary teams at both the Library of Parliament and the House of Commons. She currently manages a team of more than twenty research librarians, senior research librarians and branch managers.
New employee development is an essential task for any organization, especially service and knowledge-based organizations where a highly skilled and capable workforce is central to the organizational value proposition. Ensuring that new employees have the competencies required to perform their jobs and to integrate into their new workplace culture is essential to organizational success. These goals are achieved through new employee development programs designed to socialize and train employees in order to help them function in their new role and workplace culture. This poster describes the redesign of a new employee development program for research / reference librarians in a special library setting. The Research Librarian Development Program is a year-long development program which was initiated in the library in 2012 in order to offer consistent training and development opportunities among all new research librarians. The program was redesigned in 2017-2018 to shift its focus from tasks toward competencies following competency-based management model. The program redesign included the creation of a new competency-based development grid, refinement of shared training plans, and the establishment of program milestones. The poster describes program changes, provides an overview of the development program with an emphasis on the types of learning activities undertaken by new employees over the course of their first year through this development program and offers lessons learned from reference services managers to guide the creation or modification of a new employee development program. These lessons can be applied to any new employee development program, regardless of library type. The specific set of competencies for research librarians and training approach at the Library of Parliament will be of interest to other reference services teams.

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