Omega Concierge has a practice that gets some puzzling looks when I tell people about it: we pay our employees to read. You read that right: we pay hourly employees for every book report they hand to me—salaried employees are required to turn in quarterly book reports. We have a library of books on a variety of topics relating to personal and professional growth. Employees can borrow a book from us, or they can propose a book of their own.
So why exactly does Omega Concierge pay our employees to read? There are several reasons, and I’m happy to share them with you:
It’s a core value
Omega’s core values are ethics, excellence, and education. The first two make sense to most people, but I often get questions about the third. While it’s true that we aren’t rocket scientists, and that our services don’t require a large knowledge base, we believe in continued growth—both personal and professional. I consider myself a lifelong learner, and I strive to learn something new every day. I believe it makes me better at what I do, and I want the same for my employees. For this reason, “Education” has earned a spot among our core values. Paying employees to read instills this core value in our company.
Company culture on display
It’s easy for any company to say that we want our company culture to reflect our core values, but how do we show it? That is, how do we take those three words—ethics, excellence, and education—and make them part of our daily work? What does this look like? Valid questions, and the answers are not always easy come by. I will write about core values in a future post, but regarding education, I have found that paying our employees to read is one way to put our company culture on display.
Reading is an important way to educate oneself, and I want Omega’s staff to know that. I can talk about what I’ve read, I can recommend books to my employees, or I can pay them to read. These are all effective tactics, but the third has proven especially effective.
Giving employees the tools to grow
We’ve established that personal growth is important to Omega and to our company culture. That is, we value education, and I want our culture to reflect that. But how can I expect my employees to grow if I don’t give them the tools to do so? Paying employees to read is me putting my money where my mouth is—literally: I give them the books, and I compensate them for their time. The best way to create buy-in to our core values and to our company culture is to make it easy for the employees to buy in. Paying employees to read makes it easier for them to do so.
Furthermore, I know that employees are not going to work for Omega forever, and I personally believe it is an employer’s duty to help employees leave with more skills than they came to us with.
Embracing education, instilling our core values, and setting our employees up for success—maybe the idea to pay our employees to read isn’t so crazy after all. If you have any books you recommend adding to our library, please feel free to send them my way.
Ben Zapata is the Founder & CEO of Omega Concierge Services. He is also an entrepreneur, a problem solver, a lifelong learner, a husband, and a father. Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 985-264-6214.