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Cost-Effective Corporate Reading
A guide to engagement, critical thinking and cross-team collaboration
By Adina Sapp

It’s widely known that reading contributes to the overall intelligence, communication skills and knowledge of individuals, giving people advantages both personally and professionally. Many business leaders attribute their success to regular reading. For example, Bill Gates publishes an annual suggested reading list1 and Warren Buffett spends up to 80% of his day reading.2

Reading can also contribute to group success on the corporate level by driving engagement, critical thinking and cross-team collaboration. And fortunately for budget-pressed L&D leaders, corporate reading programs are budget friendly, versatile and customizable to business needs. Books can be incorporated into meetings, conferences and events, to support new-hire onboarding or career development workshops.

Most importantly, corporate reading programs foster a culture of continuous learning, which can have a positive impact on a company’s overall success. “The fast pace of innovation requires us to be continuous learners,” says Rebecca Janairo, senior business development manager for Amazon Kindle. “Many companies are turning to quick, short-attention-span, bite-sized content for talent development. But that doesn’t really address the complex business challenges of today. We recognize the advantages of bite-sized information, but to address complex issues, professionals need time to dive deep and think critically.” Companies can tackle macro learning challenges (those that involve a larger time commitment) by creating a reading program that includes a collective, comprehensive look at a topic, questions that generate smart conversation, and an online forum for live participation.

Many companies work with experts like Janairo to find the right books to fit their business goals. “We curate book collections aligned to our customers’ company mission and vision, as well as employees’ job roles and objectives,” Janairo says.

For example, Janairo suggested Blindspot to a company whose diversity program focused on shifting the cultural mindset. The book helped drive thoughtful conversations, which is where the impact of an initiative-based reading program occurs.

Regardless of what tools and resources are used, the emphasis should be on facilitating critical thinking and collaboration across teams and within peer groups. By bringing peers together to discuss complex challenges, reading programs can support business initiatives and drive cultural change. “The importance is in the execution, which takes the form of a continual conversation,” says Janairo. “This helps deliver business results and improve organizational performance, which is the goal of any L&D program.”

The development programs implemented by ABS illustrate this commitment to continuous learning. ABS needed to reach employees around the world in a way that worked for both the employee and the enterprise. To that end, ABS developed internal leadership and development programs that incorporated a blended approach to learning, with eBooks as a pivotal component. To facilitate efficiency of time and costs, it sources eBooks through Amazon. “eBooks are a great tool because they can be used on multiple devices and they allow us to centralize the budget for our leadership and development programs,” says Lacey Hedrick, director of talent management, ABS.

Meeting discussing Cost-Effective Corporate Reading

One of the biggest challenges for L&D teams is how to make budgets go further. To that end, Janairo encourages L&D professionals to conduct an audit of current book/eBook subscription services at their organizations and consider overall usage, format, access and age of content. Ensure that you have access to the books your employees want, and that you can add an element of customization that meets a variety of needs.

To make a good return on investment, Janairo advises that quality is more important than quantity, and a blanket purchase may not be the best use of funds. “We’ve talked with customers who have been subscribing to eBook services as a means to make a one-time purchase for a large number of people. But many of those titles go unread. Instead, we’re focused on allowing you to buy what you need when you need it, return unclaimed copies (within 60 days), eliminate waste and ensure your budget really focuses on supporting a lifelong love of learning.”

Learn more about Amazon’s enterprise eBook service at: www.amazon.com/ebooksforbusiness.

Incorporate books and eBooks into your company ’s initiatives:

Career Development

  • TO ENERGIZE AND EQUIP NEW HIRES DURING ONBOARDING.
  • TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE AND TEAM SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES (FROM COMMUNICATIONS TO SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT).
  • TO REINVIGORATE YOUR SALESFORCE WITH PROGRESSIVE STRATEGIES.
  • TO DEVELOP LEADERS’ KNOWLEDGE AND CAPABILITIES.
Employee Engagement
  • TO RECOGNIZE EMPLOYEES AND TEAMS FOR A JOB WELL DONE.
  • TO CELEBRATE EMPLOYEE COMPANY ANNIVERSARIES.
  • TO SUPPORT KEY COMPANY ENGAGEMENT PHILOSOPHIES.
Client Engagement
  • TO THANK CLIENTS FOR THEIR BUSINESS.
  • TO REINFORCE RECOMMENDED CLIENT STRATEGIES.
  • TO GIVE TO CLIENTS AND POTENTIAL CLIENTS AT COMPANY-SPONSORED TRAININGS, SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES.
1 Kozlowska, H. (2018). “These are Bill Gates’ favorite books of 2018.” Quartz
2 Popomaronis, T. (2019). “Warren Buffett and Bill Gates prove that quitting this 1 bad habit will help make you more successful in life.” Make It.
Harvard Business Publishing - Corporate Learning
Amazon Kindle makes it easy to develop and inspire your workforce through reading. With Amazon’s business-friendly eBook solution, companies can order one or hundreds of eBooks from Kindle’s massive selection and deliver to teams of any size in minutes. Your recipients can read and learn on-the-go on their phones, tablets, and laptops. Discover a new way to enhance your learning programs with eBooks: www.amazon.com/ebooksforbusiness.