High Praise for Human Resources Workshop to Be Held Twice This Fall

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In response to enthusiastic feedback from booksellers who participated in Winter Institute 10’s Advanced Learning Session on Human Resources, the American Booksellers Association has invited the session’s presenter, Dr. John Sherlock, director of the Master of Science in HR program at Western Carolina University, to lead two Human Resources Workshops this fall.

The in-depth education programs will take place in conjunction with the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) and New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA) annual trade shows in October.

Tracy Taylor, general manager of The Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle and an attendee of the Advanced Learning Session in Asheville, said she was one of those booksellers who requested that Dr. Sherlock repeat the session at the regional shows.

“I’m going to the PNBA workshop with one of my managers because I think we will both benefit. Dr. Sherlock is very dynamic and knowledgeable,” Taylor said. “I think all bookstore owners and managers should go, even if they only have one or two employees. Small businesses need to know the guidelines, laws, and expectations.”

Janet Geddis, who owns Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia, said the Wi10 Human Resources session was one of the best programs she’s attended in many years of bookselling conferences. 

“I think I would’ve stayed in that room twice as long if the schedule had allowed,” Geddis said. “My bookshop is small and my team members are very close, and that’s amazing — but it also comes along with its fair share of interpersonal conflict and management difficulties. [Since the Wi10 session], I have done a better job of meeting one-on-one with those who have more responsibility at my store and have been proud of how I have been firm, but understanding, when job performance at Avid didn’t match my expectations.”

Harriett Logan of Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights, Ohio, told BTW: “Dr. John Sherlock’s session on Human Resources is one of the best educational programs offered by ABA that I have ever attended. Dr. Sherlock expanded the concept of HR beyond the needs of hiring and firing to considerations of conformity and diversification, expertise and training.

“Recruitment, company policy and handbooks, morale, retention, as well as salary, insurance, and tax issues were all part of the short session at Winter Institute 10. We needed more time, more questions from the depth of booksellers in the class, more insight from the energetic and engaging Dr. Sherlock. This is sure to be a powerful program that will answer questions you didn’t even know you had. Just because you’re a good ‘people-person’ does not guarantee that you can run an efficient and happy company.  I highly recommend this HR workshop; I only wish that one was being held in the Midwest!”

Topics at the upcoming workshops on HR essentials will include recruiting; training and development; employee performance; and organizational culture, followed by a discussion of workplace policies and the legal side of HR. Participants will also have time to create their own HR strategy and action plan.

Registration for both workshops is separate from registration for the trade shows and is open to all ABA member bookstore owners and managers.

The first workshop will be presented at the Holiday Inn Portland-Airport in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday, October 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., just before the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show.

The second workshop will take place over two days: on Tuesday, October 6, from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Wednesday, October 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Biltmore Hotel Providence. The workshop is being held in conjunction with the New England Independent Booksellers Association trade show at the Rhode Island Convention Center.

The registration fee for the workshops is $75 per person; space is limited.

Owners and managers can register for the workshop and learn more here. The registration deadline is September 21.