When thinking about starting a book club, relating it to the workplace may not be the first setting that comes to mind. However, there are many benefits of creating a book club within the office, including increased employee engagement, the ability to encourage learning and enabling more strategic thinking.
Driving employee collaboration and engagement is vital at KC Communications, with our team running many initiatives such as the Coaching Circles. Running a book club contributes to our high levels of employee engagement by allowing each member of the team to give their ideas on what we can take from the book, discuss common themes as well as choosing the material to read. Practising discussions within the book club setting also grows confidence within the team to be able to speak up around ideas and suggestions in other contexts, such as client brainstorms or training sessions.
By choosing particular information-based books that align with company strategy, this can encourage the team to think more strategically about the business as a whole, aided by creating discussion points to get the team to think specifically about certain topics. If your company has specific learning objectives for a certain time-frame, use the book club to enhance the learning and delve further into the knowledge required.
However, running a book club within an office setting doesn’t always mean you have to read non-fiction books. Reading fiction books helps to increase employee’s empathy, a skill that our Junior Account Manager Kayleigh has within her top strength repertoire. Having this soft skill helps people understand others’ situations, something that can help with collaboration in the workplace. It also helps more junior members of the team to be able to develop storytelling skills and introduces them to a variety of writing styles – something that is an integral part of working successfully across a range of accounts and industries.
To get started, nominate a member of the team to choose your first book and agree on expectations on how often you are going to meet. As well as this, decide how much you need to read by the meeting. The book club leader should ensure there is sufficient space for everyone to meet, as well as check-in on everyone to remind them to read! Before the book club meeting, send around a summary of the discussion points to allow for idea generation. We suggest a monthly meeting if reading a fiction book and a weekly digest for a learning/non-fiction text of a specific chapter or two).
We opted for a fiction book for our first book, with discussion themes focusing on storytelling and how we can utilise good storytelling in an agency setting. The book is ‘Pretending’ by Holly Bourne – we will report back on how we get on! We’d love to hear some success stories about book clubs you have implemented in your office settings, let us know if that is you!