The purpose of this article is to reveal and dissuade the facilitation, fostering and support of silver bullet employee situations in libraries.
The concept of a “silver bullet” employee is first explained, and then brought into the context of library management in a variety of settings. Steps are given to counteract this phenomenon through strategic cross-training and knowledge management initiatives.
Silver bullet employees can be common, but they are not unavoidable aspects of institutional development. Realizing when and how a staff member is becoming too specialized can serve to save time and money down the road when this type of employee moves on.
Silver bullet employees are not discussed enough in library literature or at professional conferences. Not planning for employee departure, especially for the departure of highly skilled, talented and specialized employees incurs unnecessary stress and cost to an organization’s leadership personnel.
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