Ioana Oprea from Bookster, the first modern library in Romania, was a speaker at BR’s Working Romania conference, where she held a presentation titled “Why they work for Bookster”, detailing the company’s Read & Learn policy, where every employee periodically presents a book or another type of material in front of all their colleagues, and how this practice has helped the Bookster team grow and improve.
“Once a week, each of us takes their turn presenting a book or article in front of the team – it’s like our own Ted Talks. The reason behind it is that our founder wants us to learn continously, and this system requires us to do so even when we are very busy at work.
When I joined the team 6 years ago, my presentations were quite boring and unstructured, but over time I got much better at it.
We extract two or three ideas from our book and wrap them up in a nice story for our colleagues,” Oprea said.
The Read & Learn initiative, Ioana Oprea explained, helps Bookster employees educate themselves on various topics in a very short amount of time, while improving their presentation skills and gradually diminishing the stage fright everybody experiences.
She also told the audience about another Bookster initiative, the quarterly theme – which has a double role: reflects the company’s priorities and it’s perceived by the team members as fun and engaging.
“Once every three months, our management team takes a break from daily operations and looks back on the previous 90 days, to see what went well and what could be improved and set new 3-month priorities. It has helped us go from a few dozen books delivered per week to over 1,000 companies and 15,000 books delivered every week.
The quarterly theme reflects these priorities, but we do it in a fun way. For example, in Q1 2019, our focus was on recruitment, as we wanted to find some new members for the team, so we used the ‘bring a friend’ approach. We had various tasks, such as finding a GIF to illustrate what life is like at Bookster or selecting a few Facebook or LinkedIn friends with whom we’d like to work.
Like many other companies, Bookster also struggles to find and retain employees – the right people doing the right things the right way. But these types of initiatives help us tremendously as it provides the team with a friendy work environment that we use as a playground where you can learn and have fun at the same time,” she said.