How Much Flair?

hhibner —  August 23, 2013 — Leave a comment
photo credit: svet via photopin cc

photo credit: svet via photopin cc

One of my job assignments as a Department Head is to write and deliver annual performance reviews. This is something I don’t mind doing, but which I think is usually a missed opportunity. There is a form I am supposed to fill out about each person, rating them in different areas. It is the same form for each staff person. There is room for commenting, but mostly I am supposed to check a box indicating at what level the person meets each requirement.  The listed requirements are split in half with tasks in one chart and attributes in another. I just check the box for things like “Doesn’t make work for others” (attribute) or “Complex projects” (tasks).

One of the missing pieces to this setup is benchmarks. The form does not define what a complex task is, and it does not say how many or what kind of complex tasks are required to get a check mark in that box – or what it takes to move up to the next level. Attributes are especially tricky. We certainly want our employees to be flexible, not make work for others, and have a good attitude, but how do you measure “nice”? I keep thinking about the movie Office Space where the restaurant manager wants the waitress to wear more “flair” but won’t tell her how much flair is enough.

The other missing piece is that even among librarians, who have the same basic job description, they have different job assignments. For example, all librarians have collection management assignments, but the business reference collection has different goals than the fiction collection. They should be evaluated differently in the collection management category on the “tasks” chart. Their collections have different objectives and benchmarks. I wish I could give credit to each of them for their individual knowledge base and for how well their efforts have translated to patron satisfaction. Just checking a box for “Yup, you did collection management at level 3” is a missed opportunity. Thankfully, I don’t have any co-workers who are difficult to evaluate, but if I did, I would want to give them some defined benchmarks to work toward.

Again, though, that would be really hard to do in the attributes section of the form. How do you quantify attributes for evaluation? How much flair is enough? I would like to see those categories linked to stated core competencies, like those listed at ALA.



Adult Services Coordinator at the Plymouth District Library with a mild obsession for collection quality. Ok, maybe not so mild. Find me on Twitter at @hhibner and over at Awful Library Books (!

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