What is the best way to encourage/empower employees through reading?
I believe that the company I work for may benefit from employees reading books/articles on subjects like time management, health, industry studies, etc. Should our company invest in actual books similar to a library? Kindle memberships, Barnes and Noble gift cards possibly? Is anyone currently part of a similar program?
Andrew, I commend your dedication to increasing the knowledge-base of your current team through reading materials. A small corporate library can be a nice perk, when placed in a location that is accessible. However, depending on the type of industry you work in, there may be employees who cannot benefit from an on-site library, due to working remotely or not having time to sit down and read a physical book. Digital and audio books, as well as educational videos, reports, and articles are all a good option, and can be easily distributed through a Sharepoint library on the company intranet. Consider that employees need regular introductions to professional development materials and industry trends through leadership, so maybe a monthly column written by the CEO or HR Director on the company blog with a link to a free resource would be a good place to start? Give employees both a reason and the time to read and learn, and the return will be worth the effort.
That's an interesting question.. Great that you want your employees to grow through information. For me, I don't have time to read, nor do I enjoy it, like I used too. I now listen to audiobooks, podcasts and watch videos for my information. I absorb more and retain more. Why don't you get a 'corporate' group rate for Audio book membership?
Sounds like you want to enhance and expand the knowledge base of your employees. As you may aware that reading habbits are generally in decline as people look for immediate solutions - like a pick up and consume only what you want as opposed to cultivating the mind for long term impact. It may be useful to start circulating short read articles of 3 to 5 minute duration as a first step. The topic could be based on management, industry, health and wellness that the employees can relate with their daily routine. A tea time 15 to 20 minute discussion session can be organised by based on turn based reading assignment. This will enable compliance for the unwilling reader and motivate the fence sitters to participate and educate the group.Later on this can be extended to books as people get more interested.
Sure Mr Andrew, Reading is a wonderful and empowering habit. But, employees should be able to implement what they have learnt from Reading.
Otherwise, its a waste of time. Florence MacDonald
I am not part of a similar program but I love this idea. I also have some questions: how would your company benefit? Would the knowledge gained be used for brainstorming or to implement new programs that would improve work/life balance? Is this an opt out program? How would your organization keep track? Would people who don’t fully engaged be penalized?
Remember, your organization can have a great program in place but unless you make it easily accessible to employees…it’s dead wood. What’s easily accessible look like? Well, for one think employees won’t engage with a program if they feel like its homework. Carving out reading time at work is one way to get employees engaged. Don’t leave it up to individual employees to schedule the times themselves; some will do it and others will find a distraction not to do it. And don’t expect people to read during their lunch break that sets everyone, including the program, up for failure.
Audiobooks are great resource; especially for commuters who may be more willing to participate if they can listen to it on their drive/trip to the office. Other employees might listen while they work out. Good luck!
Try to tell a story at the beginning of a meeting. Preachers do this all the time. They use a quote(s) from a book that ties into what they are saying. Application. They say the author and the title within the sermon. This can give employees the necessary encouragement to reading and researching based on the sermon so-to-speak.
I think this is a great idea. The company can provide employees with a gift card at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I would go one step further and encourage people to form groups and discuss what they have learned end experienced. I would say for $20.00 a month or something a company would get a great ROI. I would set up so the employees sign up for the program so you are not spending money where people have no interest.
I believe your company could benefit from employees ACQUIRING knowledge in the subject areas you mentioned. To insist on the specific method is a prescription for stress on the part of both parties - especially when that method is reading.
A better approach would be to acquire some 15 minutes videos on the topics, establish a lunch and learn day, have the employees bring their lunch and show a video during lunch.
You could then organize a fun team building game or exercise between episodes. In this way, they are getting the knowledge, applying it and everyone benefits including the company.
Give it a try, won't you?
You will appreciate from the many insightful responses Andrew that your question suggests that you are definitely putting “the cart before the horse”. Neither the employees nor the company will benefit directly from reading about management topics. There are many worthwhile suggestions here as to how self-improvement programs could be established. Almost all of them may encourage a portion of the company’s employees to partake in some (usually voluntary) further reading. Most people may read some recommended follow up documents, if there is an incentive, others simply will not. Therefore, you should not invest in or rely on reading as your catalyst for change or empowerment. In your particular case maybe a good book on teambuilding, motivation and reward programs would be a more effective starting point.
One suggestion is to find someone (may be yourself) who can talk to the employees and articulate the practical benefits of specific targeted reading to them.
Focus on what are the practical benefits for them otherwise there will be few takers.