When it comes to your brain, you are what you read. If better readers make better thinkers, then why don’t we encourage reading in the workplace more? I’m not talking about Twitter feeds and ESPN polls (although they have their place), but many managers have a hard time getting team members excited about work-related reading. Or worse, they aren’t even trying to. Either way, too many companies are missing out on professional development and culture building opportunities because they don’t encourage reading.

It’s the rare team member who seeks out professional development on his or her own time. So if you’ve got one, make sure they know you appreciate them. But, for most of us, we don’t have the time or motivation to do so. Which is where company book clubs comes into play. Read on for the two major benefits of a company book club.

1. Professional development. Professional development is crucial. With rapidly advancing technology changing business at an equally break-neck pace, you have to be constantly learning. But not every company has the means or opportunity to host workshops or send teams to conferences. Book clubs are an easy way to cultivate meaningful learning and growth without breaking the bank.

Reading allows you to learn something new from someone outside your company. You have access to the greatest thinkers and thoughts right on your bookshelf or tablet — take advantage of it. Book club books can be related to an industry or focused on company goals, but they can also be literature, poetry or whatever Oprah’s suggesting this month. Good books, no matter the genre, make you think. And you never know which thought or ensuing discussion will spark your company’s next great idea.

Book clubs also encourage employees to learn from each other. Whether you’re in constant communication with team members or siloed in your office, most conversations reside within a limited business context. Book clubs provide a chance to break out of that, spurring discussions and insights past that norm and learning from folks you may never interact with otherwise. Which leads to the next major book club benefit.

2. Team building. A strong team with engaged team members equals better work. Building relationships isn’t easy, especially when you’re juggling multiple interests and personalities. Book clubs create a space where individuals can come together over a shared experience and learn from each other.

Developing connections within club meetings leads to richer conversations outside of club meetings. Opening this kind of dialogue helps people tackle issues together and build on each other’s ideas. You’re creating a community of lifelong learners who are applying their findings in the workplace. What more could you want? It doesn’t matter the business, the sector or the book — when teams are on board, book clubs work.

Book clubs don’t have to look the same. Maybe the owner always picks the book, or perhaps team members rotate who chooses what to read. There’s also a program called the Better Book Club, which pays people in organizations to read. Team members choose what they want to read from a library of relevant titles for their field, they share what they’ve learned with fellow book club members and then they get paid. Companies cultivate eager readers, their teams are rewarded for the time and engagement and everyone gets to learn and grow together. It’s a win-win-win.

Whether you do a program like Better Book Club or have informal meetings in the break room, figure out what kind of book club works best for your company, and start reading.

This story was originally published in The Tennessean.