Human resources as a strategic partner 25
individuals with library-related education or experience. As technology and user needs
have changed, so it has the attitude toward focusing solely on library credentials.
The other change to traditional pathways for hiring is that almost all recruiting
activities are now accomplished through electronic means. This is almost a first level
of competency related to working in a library environment, the ability to negotiate
through the online hiring system used by most institutions of higher education. Job
seekers should prepare themselves accordingly when pursuing a career in higher edu-
cation and/or an academic library.
3.3 Human resource best practices
Good hiring practices require an investment by each hiring authority in order to bring
in the “right” talent needed, without creating a high turnover environment. Turnover
can be costly, as it generates costs from the time and effort of the hiring activities as
well as lost productivity from position(s) being vacant. Many academic libraries work
with a central campus human resource department to follow a common set of steps for
recruitment and hiring. Some, usually larger, academic libraries have a dedicated staff
or librarian who oversees the human resource functions of the organization and serves
as a liaison to the larger campus institution.
Much of the role for a human resource department is centered on compliance with
legal aspects of hiring for the protection of both employer and employees or potential
employees. And most human resource departments on campus will have a wide range
of functional areas to support the larger institutions management of the human aspect
of the institution. There are usually four functional areas that impact the larger insti-
tution, as listed in Figure 3.1.
Within the library, these functions are either delegated or coordinated by others but
ultimately must be held accountable to the central human resource department.
Focusing on the academic library staff, Munde (2013) has published a distinctively
unique guide of best practices in an academic library. She covers all positions from
dean or director to student workers and distinguishes clearly the difference between
management people and developing positions. Munde’s goal is to demystify the hu-
man resource functions that are vital to running a smooth operation through the human
Figure 3.1 HR functional areas.
Adapted from SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (2014).