Running a book club is not a new concept. They’re a well-established, fun way for people to get together and share a common interest – and even if they have nothing else in common, they’ve all read the same book. It’s a way to make friends, find kindred spirits, and engage in interesting dialogue.

If you take this concept and bring it into the workplace and you’ll gain far more. Earlier this year, Engagement Multiplier launched our very own book club.  It’s one of our favorite engagement activities and ideas.

Life at Engagement Multiplier is always busy – but we’re never too busy to learn! Both collectively and individually, we’re constantly on the lookout for better ways to improve who we are, what we do, and the value we deliver to our clients.

Outside of running our own Engagement Multiplier survey (naturally!), we do this through all the routes you’d expect in the business world. We analyze data, track market trends, and read the very latest research and surveys – to name but a few. This is all essential work – but, in typical Engagement Multiplier style, we wanted to create an opportunity to involve our whole team – and inject a little fun into the mix. So, in July of this year, we launched The Engagement Multiplier Book Club.

The ‘rules’ of the club are simple. Each month, every team member is given a book chosen by our Chief Engagement Officer, Stefan Wissenbach. Then, all they have do is note their top three transferable insights that either they personally, or Engagement Multiplier as a business, can implement that will a positive difference to the organization, our team members, or our clients and partners.

Then, at our monthly team meeting, everyone has a voice – they share their insights and rationale for their thinking. A lively discussion ensues and at the end of the meeting, the top five insights are voted upon and are taken forward to implementation.

Top 5 Benefits of an Office Book Club (from an Engaged Leader’s perspective)

  1. The open, free-flowing nature of a book club increases trust and transparency among team members, which strengthens their bonds and contributes to a strong culture.
  2. Not only do you learn something new from the book itself, you also learn about the people within your organization. Discussing a book together gives you the opportunity to get to know your employees in a very unique way.
  3. When you embark on a journey to learn something new together, you learn even more from what your employees and colleagues found to be insightful in the material. Not only might they see something you missed, but you also get a glimpse into how they perceive the business and gauge what’s important.
  4. With your post-book-club insights, when you allow your team to implement the insights, it creates a greater sense of ownership and team spirit.
  5. Running a Book Club is a great tactic in fostering an environment of personal and professional development, you’ll grow and build a strong, cohesive culture.

Does your organization already have an office book club, but no way to tell if it’s helping? It may be time to learn more about measuring employee engagement.

Top 5 Benefits of an Office Book Club (from the employee’s perspective)

  1. It’s great to sit around the table, in a safe and welcoming environment, and let ideas and opinions flow freely.
  2. Some people may not enjoy the book, but everyone can agree that it taught them something that translates not only into the work they do at the office but also their personal lives and relationships.
  3. Not only were we able to take away useful insights from the book itself, but we learned more about what each member of our team values and how they think and perceive new ideas. It’s very enlightening!
  4. We have a close team already, but with each book club meeting, we discover more of what we have in common, and what we each bring to the table.
  5. Reflection is a major part of our company’s foundation. With everything we do, we make sure to communicate what worked, what didn’t work, and what we can do to improve in the future. The material we read as part of the Book Club provides the opportunity to view what we’re doing from a different perspective and gives us new ideas on how we better fulfill our purpose.

Transferable Insight: The Keys to a Successful Office Book Club

  • Choose short reads that are easily digestible.
  • Choose books that relate to your Engaged Purpose or have a transferable insight into your everyday activities.
  • Ensure everyone comes to the meeting prepared to speak and share their insights.
  • Keep meetings upbeat and energetic – keep the pace moving at the right speed so that everyone has time to share their insights.
  • Don’t allow the meeting to get too bogged down into the detail of ‘how’ to make an idea work – instead, focus on ‘why’ it will work.
  • Host your book club regularly (we suggest quarterly), so everyone has a chance to do the reading without being rushed.
  • Create a relaxed, casual environment around the book club table – this should be a productive experience that’s taken seriously – but it should also be fun!
  • When you uncover insights that may be helpful to your business, be ready to put them into action and/or empower your team to implement them. It’s important to demonstrate to your team that you are ready to take action on good ideas. It’s a great opportunity to prove your commitment to real improvement – and watch your Engagement Multiplier score rise as a result!

If you don’t have a Book Club already, try it and enjoy the benefits.