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ATD Blog

Getting the Best and the Brightest to Train Your Staff for the Price of Lunch

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

It sounds like fiction, right? Well, to be more accurate, it’s nonfiction. Providing access to a digital library of learning and development titles can be a great investment for your company. It arms your staff with the concepts and transformational guidance from the premier minds in business for the cost of taking them to lunch a single time in a year. Curating a collection of e-books and audiobooks from leaders and authors that align with your strategic goals is one of the best and most cost-effective ways for your organization to inspire, direct, and get the most out of your team.

A digital library from OverDrive Professional, the leading digital reading platform for corporate libraries, is the ideal resource to support initiatives important to the organization and provide a means to accomplish specific outcomes. A custom e-book and audiobook collection is the optimal tool for enabling a wide range of strategic goals from diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and creating an Agile workforce to branding initiatives and customer service benchmarking.

A general-interest book club can be open to anyone in your organization. It provides discussion opportunities and the ability to connect across teams and make it clear what the company values. Teams looking to align their approach to a strategic initiative can choose a related book to ensure they’re all on the same page. HR leaders can supplement their planned leadership development or DEI program with topical books and discussion. Having books about mindfulness and resilience are effective resources for employees during challenging times.
Here are some examples of learning and development titles used by leading companies, either as part of a strategic company initiative or to support particular outcomes.

  • Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, K-12 schools needed remote resources, and a burgeoning edtech provider offered an ideal solution. This was a make-or-break moment, and having the company’s leadership on the same page for moving forward was critical. The focus of this book teaches marketers and business owners to use the seven universal elements of powerful stories to dramatically improve how they connect with customers and grow their businesses.
  • Think Again by Adam Grant. Read by a Mindfulness employee resource group as a topic of need for people struggling with the volume of work and inspiration to maintain performance levels. Think Again weaves together research and storytelling to help build the intellectual and emotional muscles we need to stay curious enough about the world to change it.
  • Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Improving feedback flow and open dialogue has been a point of emphasis for companies of all shapes, sizes, and industries. Radical Candor has been read and used as a resource by multiple teams to support this initiative and has helped positively move the needle in company surveys.
  • Between the World and Me byTa-Nehisi Coates. This was included in a social justice reading list, made available for all staff during ongoing DEI work.

The cost for each book for these four companies was less than $200. They were read by and influenced an average of more than 40 people at each company—and all for less than the price of a Happy Meal on a per-person basis.

The cost-benefit analysis is solid, and so is the inevitable strategic conversation with your boss. When you face a series of make-or-break challenges dealing with a sudden shift in your business, need insight on how to re-engage your best performers, face a communication challenge that affects your whole organization, and need to support new company-wide DEI initiatives, you now have a proven solution in your back pocket. With a cost-effective digital library, you can go back to your boss and say, “I just brought in Donald Miller, Adam Grant, Kim Scott, and Ta-Nehisi Coates to help. These are some of the best and brightest minds. We’re all good!”

About the Author

Steven Rosato is a business development executive and general manager of OverDrive Professional, the leading reading platform for academic, corporate, and special libraries. Prior to joining OverDrive in 2016, Rosato was the event director of BookExpo America, spending 20 years as an executive with Reed Exhibitions. He worked extensively with senior government officials and publishing luminaries from China, Russia, Poland, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the Middle East while running BEA’s Global Market Forum program. Rosato is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in Business Management

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