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No Collar, No Library Service? Surely Not…

Posted by Lucidea on 10/19/2017

no-collar-hs.jpgIn a recent post, The CKO of Microsoft Services Has a Surprising Perspective on Knowledge Management, KM blogger Nancy Dixon summarizes a conversation about people, process and technology with Jean Claude Monney, CKO of Microsoft Services. Mr. Monney touches on “no collar” workers, who should be added to “white collar” and “blue collar” when we talk about the people side of knowledge exchange.

The Gig Economy

The term “no collar” is really associated with the emerging “gig economy,” which is a trend resulting in the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.

While many temporary employees find themselves in that role because of economic pressures, it’s true that gig workers often adopt gigging as a lifestyle, because they want flexibility and a particular quality of life; they don’t want to be chained to one organization and they want to do the kind of work they enjoy. Many are doing work within large entities, in roles such as software development, product research, scientific R&D—activities normally associated with being embedded in an organization, and which require access to (and creation of) intellectual capital. So, what happens to the knowledge produced, acquired or enhanced during a gig?

How can special librarians support gig workers?

Because special librarians are the custodians and managers of organizational knowledge assets, providers of information literacy training and research guidance, and play a significant role in making sure the right information is only seen by the right people, gig workers will likely present a unique challenge if the trend continues as predicted.

Three areas of impact that come to mind are:

  • Customized onboarding—role-based, timely, proactive and brief
  • Permissions management—leverage an ILS or KM platform with very granular access rights
  • Exit interviews—work with HR to develop a structured and mandatory knowledge capture framework for all gig workers

Have you been thinking about how special librarians may be affected by gig workers, and ways to share and capture the knowledge needed and generated by this new group of collarless employees? If so, please comment below.


Topics: Library Management, Knowledge Management, Management