Introduction and Context
The Claremont Colleges Digital Library (CCDL) is a core division of the Claremont University Consortium (CUC). The CUC provides library services to seven undergraduate and graduate liberal arts colleges in California. The CCDL was established as a means of addressing demand and need for digital collections by each institution. In this paper, three critical components of the Human Resource Management (HRM) process will be examined as they relate to the creation of the CCDL: employee recruiting, employee training, and employee separation. Employee separation will be discussed as it relates to turnover, specifically.
Critique and Implications: Employee Recruiting
When seeking employment, many candidates consult websites such as Glassdoor.com, or local news publications to determine if the employer has a history of breaking or bending federal employment laws, a history of disparate treatment or adverse impact, or sexual harassment. Through similar research, I have determined that the Claremont Colleges Library has had no such reports and has a healthy Glassdoor rating of “3.7 / 5.0” (2019), suggesting that the environment is compliant with federal regulation and reasonably pleasant to work in.
With a healthy track record, the recruiting process, or “developing a pool of qualified job applicants,” should yield better results (Williams, 2015, p. 227). External candidates in particular will be more apt to apply in response to a job posting at a well-reviewed institution. In the case of the CCDL, recruitment of such external candidates was particularly strong in 2008 and 2009; producing “4 full time staff and 2 part time staff” candidates who were hired to fill the “Digital Production unit” of the digital library (Crane, 2011, p. 5). In addition to the external candidates recruited, the CCDL also employed “26 students over the course of the year” and these recruits are a particularly interesting facet of academic libraries, as the selection and validation processes can be streamlined (Crane, 2011, p. 5). I argue that these student candidates are similar to internal candidates, as they come from within the Claremont Colleges and have specific internal qualifications (their majors and GPAs) that can be used to determine their aptitude for the position. Further, employing students for federal work-study programs is a method academic institutions in particular are required to comply with federal regulation, which the CCDL clearly abides.
Critique and Implications: Employee Training
Although specific documentation with regard to internal review processes or training evaluations was not found in the course of my research, I did find evidence that the CCDL did an excellent “needs assessment,” an evaluation process of determining “learning needs of employees,” during the formative stages of its development (Williams, 2015, p. 233). This suggests a concern for, and emphasis on, the importance of employee training.
In particular, CCDL development documents show a concern in addressing “access challenges” of the digital collection, and employee training needs with regard to these challenges are emphasized (Clemens, et. al., 2003, p. 4). The CCDL task force suggests that the current library catalog system, Blais, may not be adequate to address user access, and introducing a “digital access management system, such as Luna Imaging’s Insight® or OCLC’s CONTENTdm®” to fulfill this need is discussed, along with the note that the CCDL needs “cataloging staff trained in describing digital media in order to provide adequate, robust access to digital items that have a variety of characteristics different from books and journals” (Clemens, et. al., 2003, p. 5). The discussion of specific training of cataloging staff illustrates that the CCDL is identifying a performance deficiency and the employees who need training to address that deficiency. It is particularly important that the CCDL identifies both the training objective (improved cataloging of digital media) and the employees who need the training (cataloging staff), as training needs must be tailored to particular requirements and employees in order to be most effective.
Critique and Implications: Employee Turnover
During 2010, the CCDL unfortunately experienced a reorganization process which spurred employee turnover. Employee turnover is the “loss of employees who voluntarily choose to leave the company” (Williams, 2015, p. 246). During this period, the “Digital Production Librarian” and “Digital Initiatives Librarian” left the CCDL for new positions. As they left, the CCDL digital production lab was physically moved in a campus reorganization to a space “2 miles off campus” and as a result “the number of students working dropped dramatically as they had to provide their own transportation between the lab and campus” (Crane, 2011, p. 6).
The loss of the Digital Production and Digital Initiatives Librarian, as well as numerous student workers, was a great detriment to the CCDL. As they lost many high-performers, the loss was dysfunctional and was costly to the organization; the Digital Production Librarian, notably, was not replaced for a year as a result. Further, the physical location of the lab compounded this dysfunction and resulted in additional turnover. Where possible, it is best for management to anticipate solutions around such physical limitations – requesting funding for student shuttle services, for instance – to help reduce these effects.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Although the CCDL experienced a period of high turnover, 2011 proved to be a renaissance. During the period, the two empty full-time positions were filled. Digital Initiatives with an internal promotion that likely buoyed the employee to be more motivated in a period following such downturn. In order to maintain a healthy atmosphere, I recommend the CCDL, and CUC more generally, continue to emphasize accurate and frequent needs assessments and train their employees to address deficiencies in the system. Coupled with their excellent reputation, I think an emphasis on effective training will make the CUC library services more relevant to users. This relevance will make the CUC library services better able to petition for funding, thus increasing their staff and collections respectively.
Clemens, B., Emery, M., Bachli, K., Marsh, C., Moss, M., & Trainor, C. (2003) Developing the Claremont Colleges Digital Library. Retrieved from http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/adl/id/16/rec/22
Crane, L. (2011). The Claremont College Digital Library: A model for digital projects [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/adl/id/53
Glassdoor. (2019, April 9). Claremont Colleges reviews. Retrieved from https://www.glassdoor.com/Overview/Working-at-The-Claremont-Colleges-EI_IE28941.11,33.htm
Williams, C. (2015). MGMT8: Principles of Management. Cengage Learning.