Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Succession Planning

Transcript: http://bit.ly/1WkXzrz 

Succession Planning #medlibs chat
Thursday, October 29. 2015
9:00pm Eastern/6:00pm Pacific
Led by Michelle Kraft (@Krafty) 

A few years ago the previous Executive Director, Carla Funk, explained the Medical Library Association's demographics as being shaped like a dumbbell.  There were a lot of librarians who were 60+ on one end, and a lot of librarians in their 20's on the other end.  There were few librarians in the middle.

If you look at Nielsen's Millennials: Breaking the Myths, a nice little graph (bottom of page) supports Carla's observations of MLA's members.  Gen Xers are the second smallest population with the Boomer, Millennials, and Gen Z clearly all tied for 1st place with 24% of the total population.  While Nielsen's information naturally focuses on marketing, a nifty little infographic the Generation Gap in Your Office, discusses the "rapid baby boomer retirement" where Millennials "will be given high levels of responsiblity earlier in their careers than previous generations." Now as a cynical Gen Xer I can tell you I heard that same song back when I was in library school 20 yrs ago and the library schools were clamoring about a large wave of job openings due to retirements.  

While I don't think the library job doors will be thrown wide open and their will be a massive increase in library jobs, there definitely appears to be more people retiring and a lot of open positions announced. In my institution alone there are 5 people who are within 5 years of retiring. One would hope that as a person retires, the library will be able to hire a new person for that position (or another library type position). However, there is also the chance that when the person retires the position retires as well.  

Succession planning isn't just for the job. As President of MLA and a former Board Member I have noticed the generational workplace shift happening within the association.  

Wikipedia says many or most companies that have well-established practices such as:
  • Identify those with the potential to assume greater responsibility in the organization
  • Provide critical development experiences to those that can move into key roles
  • Engage the leadership in supporting the development of high-potential leaders
  • Build a data base that can be used to make better staffing decisions for key jobs
Three of those four practices seem to be important to libraries as well the Medical Library Association.

So here are some things to think about for Thursday night's discussion:

  • How involved is your institution in succession planning? Some are very involved while others are not.
  • How can succession planning work within medical libraries?  Is it something just large academic institutions can do or do hospital librarians have a role?
  • Is it difficult to do succession planning when librarians seem to move around from job to job to gain experience?
  • How do you see MLA using a type of succession planning for the future of the association?

Join us on Twitter using the #medlibs hashtag Thursday evening to share your stories and engage with colleagues.  Never been to a Twitter chat before? Check out this overview and come on in - all are welcome including first timers, lurkers, students and others interested in the topic and the field. 

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