I thought, as part of this ‘year’ of development, it would be useful to discuss my annual work appraisal that happened on Friday 15th July 2011 at 9am. Its not a blow-by-blow account of the meeting rather a flavour of what was reflected upon and what is to be achieved.
Working within the NHS, yearly reviews or appraisals are common throughout the overall organisation – if not a requirement. I have had one every year since I started in 2004, with both my line managers. They are intended to be positive experiences (looking at what went well, employee strengths etc.) with a focus on improvement (developmental needs) rather than recrimination and punishment. Each organisation has a different method of review, and I think NHS Bolton’s is quite a straightforward process – focusing on the previous year’s aims/objectives, other highlights from the year, objectives for the upcoming year and developmental requirements.
I believe I have a very good and open relationship with my line manager, we know each other’s strengths/weaknesses and we respect and trust each other. He is not a library person, which is a good thing as he is not bogged down with a library mentality, and especially the old-school NHS library mentality which unfortunately still prevails in some areas. This has allowed us to develop the service without any constraints and to how it benefits the service users, not the way ‘it has always been done’ and to be innovative etc. He allows me to make the decisions for the library and I do not feel the need to shy away or hide things or be ‘not as honest as I could be’ when developing ideas or services. I think he dreads the ‘I’ve just picked a fight with…’ emails though. Working with him has also developed relationships with other people within the ‘health community’ in Bolton as he is well respected and well liked by most people he works with, and is very good at sharing networks and useful contacts. I never had any issues with my previous line manager – in fact, without her I would not be where I am today – it’s just I have a very different working relationship, more of a partnership (with his obvious seniority) versus the more traditional line manager relationship that was prevalent before. Maybe I am more mature as person. I believe I am getting (as one should) more developed as a person year by year.
The previous year I felt was good but could have been a lot better. I am quite pessimistic when it comes to my own performance, and while I do not honestly expect to achieve greatness every single day, often I have felt days and weeks go by where I have not been at the level where I should be. I often feel that I often attempt to do a lot, but often do not achieve everything, possibly because I attempt so much. I feel have developed as a line manager, and as member of staff for the organisation, and within the library community. My manager was more positive about the previous year, discussing how I had developed and grown within the organisation, saying as well as himself, senior staff both in the organisation and in the wider library community he had spoken about me too. This was very nice to hear, as often I exist within my own little bubble, and the fact that I am recognised is very reassuring. I thought the ‘wins’ from the past 12 months were the development of the library as a strategic organisation including an actual strategy, marketing plan, annual report etc none of which it has had before. The library has had its first stock audit in at least 8 years (possibly ever) and the library as a ‘brand’ has developed adequately.
We had agreed 5 general aims in last year’s appraisal:
- LQAF – Whilst receiving an acceptable and fair LQAF score, I felt it could be a better. I feel it was low because of a lack of organisation on my part, as I have overall responsibility for this.
- Masters Course – For the taught section I have received a merit. Whilst OK, I lost interest with the course very early on, and did not put as much effort in as I could and probably should have. I feel a distinction mark was easily achievable as the work, at no point was remotely challenging.
- JSNA Development – This is still ongoing, and as a core member of the development team, I know we are on schedule. When this project is launched I will be managing the ‘hub’.
- PHIT Reports – I contribute to the Public Health Intelligence Reports, and have produced the expected work. Due to the release of the NHS Bolton Public Health Annual Report, the emphasis on ‘library corner’ has been downplayed.
- Cancer Information Points – Due to TCS changes, these did not happen. However the separate ‘Health Information Points’ have launched in all the branch public libraries, though not without difficulties.
The aims for the upcoming year are:
- Complete Masters Dissertation – The dissertation is focusing upon knowledge management in the public sector, and more specifically the launch of the aforementioned JSNA ‘Knowledge Hub’. It is not due until April 2012, though I have yet to really focus upon this.
- Complete Chartership – I began the Chartership process on May 2nd 2011. I fully expect to complete it within the allotted 12 month period.
- JSNA Knowledge Hub – To ensure it launches effectively as it should, by taking a leading role in the development, launch and management of hub.
- To ensure that the library completes and develops it LQAF score by 5% this year gearing towards a 15-20% improvement in 3 years.
- Library Future – To ensure library has a future (something I am more concerned about than line manager) and that it is in its correct position of supporting both NHS/Social Care Staff and Health & Wellbeing board in the evidence-based decision making process.
- Library Re-Brand – The library has been due a re-brand for years. It needs to develop its brand to fully realise its potential.
- New User Groups – With the changes happening within NHS, there is plentiful opportunity to reach out and secure new user groups that will allow library to expand scope.
- Improve management skills – I feel I need to develop my project management, time management and line management skills more to work more effectively in achieving these goals
- Departmental relationships/networking skills – I need to become more associated with the head office & beyond the department I need to network more, and network better.
- Improve classification skills – The library needs a total re-classification. I lack the skills at this time to do this and they were not provided within the masters course.
- Improve web development skills – The library web presence needs improvement. To fully do this (with no money to) I will need to develop my web development skills (HTML, basic code, CSS etc.). I lack in this area and they were not provided within the masters course
I realise there is a lot of work here to be done, and this is on top of the work I already do. It may not all be achievable, but I will try. I am driven to be better, to get better, and try and be the ‘best’ that I can be. I am going to try to achieve this by a mix of being self-taught in certain areas, shadowing other staff (such as other PHIT members to learn basics of SPSS that will help with dissertation etc.) and go on courses – such as those provided by the local library network i.e. Marketing; in-house i.e. NHS LQF Project 360 management course as well as further afield – for example I am currently embarking on a self-funded Prince 2 project management course. As I have said I have strong support and a good relationship with my line manager as well as a good peer-support network. I think this is do-able, and that the next 12 months are going to be challenging and worthwhile.