Rewarding your team for reading is what makes the BetterBookClub program truly special. That extra incentive can really help drive participation and engagement with your team. Before you roll out the book club to your company, you’ll need to establish your point system and how team members will be rewarded.
In this guide, we'll cover:
- How Points & Rewards Work
- Assigning Points to Books
- Book Reports
- Why have rewards?
- Rewarding Your Team
- When to Give Rewards
- Rewards Ideas
The BetterBookClub program can essentially be summed up in three words: Read, Report, Reward. So, what does this actually look like in practice? It’s simple:
- Assign a point value to each book
- Members submit a book report after reading
- They earn points when a Champion approves the report
- Members receive their reward
While you can customize your own point system, we recommend a 0-100 point scale in 25 point increments. No matter what you decide, just keep it simple and consistent. The key is making it easy for your employees to understand.
There are no hard and fast rules for choosing a point value for a given title, but typically books are ranked by length, complexity, relevance, and/or importance. In a nutshell, books that are longer, more complex, or more relevant to your industry will have a higher point value.
Here’s an example of what this could look like in practice:
- If you have any orientation materials, training manuals or videos, etc. that are required for your employees, you can add those into your library and assign them zero points. This way you can track when employees read or watch required materials without making them eligible for a reward.
- These are short, easy to read books that you could finish in about a day or weekend. While there may not be a lot of “meat” to the book, they still provide valuable insight. This is a great place to start for people who don’t deem themselves to be readers.
- Length: Typically less than 100 pages
- Examples: The Dip by Seth Godin, Fish! By Stephen C. Lundin, 212 by Sam Parker
- Books at this level are a little longer and typically take a week or so to read - a bit more information but the content is relatively easy to digest.
- Length: Usually 100-250 pages
- Examples: The Corner Office by Adam Bryant, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary D. Chapman
- These have more content and take longer to digest, but they’re worth the time investment.
- Length: Usually 225-350 pages
- Examples: Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey, Contagious by Jonah Berger, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
- Books in this category may be similar in length to 75 point books, but the information is more complex. This could also include shorter books that are relevant or important to your industry.
- Length: Usually 275+ pages
- Examples: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
In order to earn points after reading a book, team members need to submit a book report for their Champion to approve. Book reports are comprised of a series of questions that members fill out in order to earn points. Completed reports are sent to the Champion, who will either approve or decline the report.
Book reports serve two main purposes:
- Allow members to share key takeaways from books they’ve read
- Show the Champion that members have absorbed the information from the book
We provide default questions that come pre-loaded for your book reports. You also have the ability to add, edit, or delete the questions to better fit your book club.
To edit book report questions, hover your mouse over the gear icon in the top right corner and click on Define Report Questions.
As always, keep it simple! We suggest not requiring a ‘minimum word count’ for answers, as this makes book reports a tedious and time-consuming task for both members and Champions. Instead, give members a free reign so long as they provide thoughtful answers. Some may only write a sentence or two while others will write paragraphs – and that’s okay! The important part is that members are absorbing and sharing the information.
The general rule of thumb for Champions is that it should be clear to them whether the team member read and absorbed the information from the book.
Approving and Declining Reports
Book report questions should be worded in such a way that there is no right or wrong answer. Therefore, as long as a member has fully completed the book report, it can be approved by the Champion.
Declining a report will likely be a rare occurrence. The most common reasons for sending a report back are:
- A question was left unanswered.
- The answers provided were a little too vague.
When the Champion declines the report, he or she will have the opportunity to briefly explain why it was declined. The report will then be sent back to the member to make the appropriate changes and resubmit the report.
When Arnie, our Founder and President, first started a book club at his advertising agency over 10 years ago, he quickly realized that in order for this idea to work he needed to incentivize his team to participate. It was a win-win – Arnie was thrilled his team was absorbing valuable concepts and everyone benefited from both the knowledge they gained and the extra money they earned from reading.
Incentivize and Reward Growth
When you reward your team for reading, two major things happen:
- You’re showing that growth is valuable to your company.
Companies that invest in employee training and development have a stronger, more engaged workforce. And don’t just take our word for it!
- Non-readers will join in.
Arguably one of the best parts of rewarding your team for reading is that even those who never pick up a book will participate!
This is the fun part! You get to choose how you will reward your employees for reading. A successful reward system can fit into any budget, big or small.
Rewards are what will motivate even the non-readers in your office to participate in your BetterBookClub program, so it is imperative that the rewards you offer hold real value to your employees. (Receiving a pen or notepad isn’t exactly the best incentive for reading a 300+ page book.)
To make things easy for your team to understand and your Champion to execute, we highly recommend determining a “reading period” for your team (i.e. monthly or quarterly).
Your reading period is when and how often:
- Book reports are due
- Rewards are distributed
- Meetings take place (if you have them)
Here’s an example of what this would look like in practice: Book reports are due at the end of each quarter and members can be rewarded for up to 100 points per quarter. Once the Champion has approved the book reports, he or she will distribute the rewards. If you have book club meetings, they would be scheduled at around the same time or shortly after book reports are due.
You can get as creative as you’d like with your reward system – the sky is the limit! Below is a list of ideas to help get your creative juices flowing.
Money or Gift Cards
- Reward $1 for every point earned (50 points = $50)
- For budgeting purposes, set a reward cap.
- Example: 100 points or $100 per quarter.
- Gift Card Examples:
- Visa or Amex Gift Cards
- Local restaurants
Gifts or Prizes
- More points = better gift
- Tickets to the movies, a concert, play, or sporting event
- Horseback riding
- Ice Skating
- Headphones or speakers
- MP3 player
- Subscription Services
- Music streaming (Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc.)
- TV or Movie Streaming (Netflix, Hulu, HBONow, etc.)
- Movie Theatre Subscription (MoviePass)
- Meal Prep (Blue Apron, Freshly, etc.)
Branded Company Swag
- Important: Avoid throwaway items such as pens and sticky notes. These should be high quality or valuable products. Here are some examples:
- Water bottles or tumblers (S’well Bottles, Camelback, Yeti)
- Moleskin Notebooks
- Jackets or Sweaters
Free coffee, lunch, or dinner
- Gift card to local establishment or a company group outing
- 25 Points = $5 - $10 coffee shop gift card
- 50 Points = $15 coffee shop gift card
- 75 Points = $20 restaurant gift card or company lunch outing
- 100 Points = $50 gift card to a nice local restaurant
Catered breakfast or lunch
- When members earn x-number of points per reading period, they can participate in a catered breakfast or lunch.
- The company owner, Champion, or other key members of your company could join in an effort to further show appreciation to those who participate in the book club.
A longer break or excused tardy
- When members earn x-number of points per reading period, they can have an extra 30-minute break, come in 30 minutes late, or leave 30 minutes early.
- Utilize the Leaderboard in the application to reward top readers.
- Recognize top readers in staff meetings or through staff communications.
- Offer small perks to top readers, such as an extra break or excused tardy.
- At year-end, reward the top 3 readers of the year with a special prize.
Determine whether you’d like your team to meet and discuss the books they read! Learn more about Book Club Meetings in the next guide.