21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: Tackling the Reorganization Chart

August 31, 2006 at 7:05 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


Tackling the Reorganization Chart

Ramona Metcalf, Electronic Acquisitions Librarian; and Serenity King, Reserves Coordinator, both from University of Texas at Dallas
Reported by Xan Arch  

Ramona Metcalf and Serenity King described the reorganization recently undertaken by the technical services Units of the University of Texas at Dallas. Going through the process step by step, they detailed ways in which the reorganization succeeded and aspects that could have been done better. 

The UTD library had Acquisitions and Cataloging Departments separated by a physical wall and suffering from a lack of clear communication. The reorganization removed this wall and merged these two departments into a single more efficient Technical Services Department.  

The first step in this process was telling the two departments about the change. The presenters suggested that this be done on the same day, so as to eliminate rumors and confusion. The next steps concentrated on streamlining practices. First, staff members explained their job duties to the group.  A consideration at this stage should be who performs each task, not just what tasks are performed.  After the move, staff will benefit from knowing who of their co-workers can be resources for which type of questions. Next, staff ranked the job duties according to importance, and the list was compared to the reference staff’s list of importance. This helped the units gain perspective on how much time and staffing should be allotted to each task. 

The next set of steps focused on the physical moving process. Staff members were asked to develop a desired floor plan for the new merged department. The presenters stressed that this brainstorming should be understood as a wish list, rather than a final blueprint, since some ideas may not be feasible. Next the departments worked on morale-boosting. Staff members were encouraged to graffiti the dividing wall while music played. Finally the demolition took place. At this stage, the presenters suggested managers watch for the health of the employees, because the demolition process can involve dust, debris, and loud noises.  

After the reorganization, the final step was to ask the library staff for feedback. A suggestion at this point is to offer the option for anonymous feedback, to encourage honesty. Some of the negative feedback came from the reference staff, who mentioned that they had a hard time finding out peoples’ new locations and duties. The presenters suggested that managers communicate effectively with other parts of the library while going through this type of change. The major successes of the reorganization were more streamlined practices, more efficient service, and the staff’s feeling that they had been included in the whole process.  

Overall, the presenters suggested that any department contemplating reorganization understand their staff and their environment, stay flexible, be prepared for complications throughout the process, and take time to listen to the needs of the people involved.


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