When employees are having fun, they’re often more productive. There are lots of ingenious ways to combine fun and productivity, and an employee book club is one idea you may want to consider.
To make the most of the experience, consider using the club as an employee training or learning experience. Choose books that you think might make your employees better leaders, more effective communicators, or stronger sales people. For instance, Amazon founder and chief executive office Jeff Bezos requires his executives to read a number of books, including "Made in America" by Sam Walton, "Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies" by Jim Collins, and "The Innovator’s Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen, as well as many others. Similarly, you may want your employees to read books that make them better employees or books you find to be inspirational.
Keep in mind that you can’t require your employees to work after hours for free. If you have employees who’re paid hourly, you may need to give them time to read the book or listen to the audio version. Then, as people do with social book clubs, you may want to set aside some time to chat about the book. Again, this should be on work time, but to make it fun, you may want to bring in some food or head to a restaurant.
To keep the conversation on task, consider drafting a list of questions or conversational prompts based on what you want your team to get from the book. Alternatively, many books come with a book club guide, and that can be a great template for your post-reading conversation.
The right books can help your employees fine tune their business skills, but beyond that, a book club can bring your team closer together and improve their ability to communicate. You don’t necessarily have to choose business books for your club. Even Jeff Bezo’s list has at least one novel on it.He encourages employees to read Kazuo Ishiguro’s "The Remains of the Day" because its description of a loyal butler underlines the importance of loving what you do and committing yourself to an organization. Similarly, you and your employees may also want to add a few inspiring fictional tales to your own lists.