Book clubs can boost employee retention

It’s time to start a book club, writes Christian Smythe

[button type=”large” color=”black” rounded=”1″ link=”″ ]READ THE FULL GRAPHIC VERSION[/button]

In October, BuzzFeed announced that it will partner with Amazon to create a book club. The two are offering a “dedicated space for reading and discovering new books together”. This is big news. One of the largest and most popular digital publishers partnering with the biggest online retailer to breathe new life into the book club idea speaks volumes on how people connect over content; in this case specifically books. It is worth examination – there are many lessons here that can be applied to the corporate world. Office book clubs are not only a great learning tool, but can also be used to increase employee retention.

On average, Millennials change jobs every two years. This is a new challenge for businesses, and employee retention is still a tricky nail to hammer down. Some techniques work but are expensive – such as high-wage structures, elaborate perks and unlimited days off; while others cost less but have significantly less impact, such as employee-of-the-month awards, free fruit and visits from the in-house masseur.

First, retention is not just about money. It is about value, and how the workforce feel valued. A key concern for Millennials is not being appreciated and not being given the opportunity to develop. This is where a book club comes in. We look for external experts to help us with our understanding and development. Books provide that expertise and a chance for professional and personal evolution. In addition to knowledge, there are four other key benefits that an office book club provides that can directly improve retention.


A book club brings together different perspectives from all over an organization. You may not think a book is worth the time until another person shares their valuable takeaways. It is a forum that helps employees develop personally and professionally.

Teamwork development

A book club allows employees to become familiar with more people inside the organization and make new connections. This helps in building trust and familiarity with each other. Additionally, it allows people to find a mentor or someone who can help solve an existing problem or challenge.


In addition to problem-solving, book clubs can spark innovation. New ideas discussed in a book club can easily be applied to any aspect of your business, and help employees advance within the company. It also allows them to work on things that are meaningful to them personally.

Stress relief

One of the most important parts of a book club is that it is fun! It’s great to get together with like-minded people and discuss exciting ideas. Think of it as a happy hour for the soul!

The struggle to retain top talent is an ever-present challenge. Learn more at about the most advanced HR solutions and customized systems for ongoing compliance in the industry. It is necessary for companies to look for new ideas that will add meaning to their employees’ experience. That includes providing an opportunity for them to grow professionally and connect with their co-workers. Although book clubs have been around for years, they are not just for that latest fiction release. Office book clubs can be an effective tool in building teamwork, driving innovation, and creating a happier work environment.

— Christian Smythe is head of content & partner strategy at BlueBottleBiz

[button type=”large” color=”black” rounded=”1″ link=”″ ]JOIN THE CONVERSATION[/button]