Beyond wellness programs and social events, there’s a new trend in the working world: companies are organizing book clubs for their employees.
Some are optional; half social, half learning events. Others, like the book club at TrueBridge Resources, a recruiting firm, are required of all employees. From The Art of War to Steve Jobs’ biography, these clubs aim to help teach their employees important lessons that they can apply in the office and in their personal careers.
The idea for the TrueBridge book club started when only six people worked in the office, President Scott Kriscovich said. “We thought, what could we do to differentiate ourselves and help us grow with a common language?”
Employees are actively involved, from nominating books to read to volunteering as facilitators of the meetings. That has helped “strengthened our bonds, gives us something to talk about, a common rallying point,” Kriscovich said. “We’ve all picked up some important valuable nuggets that we will be able to take with us.”
The book club at Pinnacle Financial Partners also started from the top down, back in 2000 when the company was still small. CEO Terry Turner hosted the first book club at his home, inviting their 40 or so associates over for dinner and discussion, said Chief People Officer Rachel West.
Today, West says the book club is wildly popular, with meeting signups maxing out months in advance. Employees can volunteer to host the events at their homes, which are part social and part professional development.
“With this format, it helps associates really get to know other associates they might not get to work with everyday,” West said. “It really just creates a better culture for all of us.”
In addition to strengthening company culture, Pinnacle’s goal is for their employees to gain valuable professional lessons. “We try to take our lessons that we learn and translate them into positive behavior and look at those results,” West said.
West noted that it takes a lot of work to organize these events, but that it’s worth it to help set their company apart as one with “a culture of great associate engagement.”
“If people don’t have a club, they should create their own program to read for their own development,” Kriscovich said.
Does your company or organization have a book club? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Hadas Gold is a journalist in Washington D.C. Born in Israel, raised in Arizona and now a capital resident, she is always on the lookout for the next adventure.