Improving your abilities as a worker can be difficult. If you only learn what your current position demands to, you could end in a position where you won't be able to make your career advance, whether in your current company or not.

Besides, learning things beyond the scope of your current position could be good both for the company and for you.

Reaching a balance between your private life and your career is not always easy so keeping up with the habit of reading in your free time is a challenge.

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    getting used to read books is a great ability Could be, but I can also think of other things that are good both for the company and the worker's career. Together with people are rushing through their private lives stated as a fact, this makes the question based very much on opinion. – user8036 May 27 '15 at 6:31
  • Thanks for the comment. I rephrased the question, to address the p.o.v. issue – Project Shepherding May 27 '15 at 14:32

You don't.

What people do after working hours is entirely their business. Work is not the only important thing in life. You cannot demand or even expect that everyone else should be reading technical books after working hours, neither can you pass judgements like these on people who don't.

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  • Thanks for the comment. I agree on the fact that you shouldn't demand, nor expect. But my question is asking about convincing, I mean, I think reading is great and being surrounded by people who are always learning new things could be fantastic. The point was, how could someone help to improve their workplace spreading the love for reading. Of course any help with some rephrasing to clarify will be appreciated! – Project Shepherding May 27 '15 at 14:52
  • OK, the new version of the question sounds better. If you really want to make this work, you have to show your colleagues: "What's the benefit to me?" If you can convince them, then great, if not, just let them be. By the way, have you ever considered what they think would make the workplace better? Personally, if I was surrounded by "boring" people who kept reading books all the time even in their private lives, I would find another job at the earliest. People are more important to me than career advancement and all that stuff, but that's just me. – Masked Man May 27 '15 at 16:46
  • No doubt about it. Work is just work. But reading perhaps a book a year doesn't mean you have to be boring. :). Thanks again, and rephrased the question to avoid the problem with 'convince' and focus on cooperation instead – Project Shepherding May 27 '15 at 19:35

While I share the reservations at the underlying assumptions of your question, I think you have some options here.

If you are in a position to do so, you can allocate funds to send employees on training courses, subsidize books, provide a lending library, etc. Anything that is of benefit to the company should come at the expense of the company, not the employee, and if it eats into their private time, they should be compensated fairly (a qualification that they want, additional pay, time in lieu, etc.)

If you are not in a position to do the above, but feel sufficiently strongly about it, you can take a proposal along the lines of the above to your management team and advocate for increased training options/a lending library/etc.

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  • +1 I really like this answer especially "Anything that is of benefit to the company should come at the expense of the company," and "if it eats into their private time, they should be compensated fairly". I hope every boss reads this. – scaaahu May 27 '15 at 7:41
  • I don't disagree with this answer per se, but one issue I see with this is the situation could quickly descend into [Death March](en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_march). If you ask employees to stay 4 hours more every day to complete some "beneficial" training, and raise their salary by 50% to compensate (that doesn't happen in real life, not by a long shot, but anyway, just play along), a few people would resent it right away, some people will take it for a while. End result is this is neither beneficial to the company, not does it come only at the company's expense. – Masked Man May 27 '15 at 10:07
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    @MaskedMan The company I retired from considers attending training part of the job. They allocate fund and time for the employees to receive tech training. Forever learning is part of the corporate culture. I guess this is why this company has over 100 years history and still doing very very well. – scaaahu May 27 '15 at 11:53
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    @scaaahu Yes, I also work at a similar company but OP talks of training after office hours, which means it is not a part of the job (that's my interpretation anyway). That would mean, if you attend a 2 hour training, you would be asked to work 2 hours more to "make up" for the "wasted" time. I was referring to that kind of scenario, not the one you mention. – Masked Man May 27 '15 at 12:34
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    @MaskedMan I certainly do not deny that predatory employment contracts and conditions exist; unfortunately it is a fact of our time, and it is why I emphasized fair compensation in my reply. (Though what constitutes fair in any specific scenario is dependant on that scenario.) – Saoirse May 27 '15 at 13:54

Present them benefits of learning new and improving existing skills (which can be done via other ways that just with books). Getting raises for being more efficient, opening career alterations that are closer to what someone desires (like a web developer moving to become a system architect), keeping themselves viable in the current market so that either they can move to new positions (generally you get better increases in pay switching jobs than just earning raises) or to provide career safety should something happen to their job (even the best workers can get laid off through no fault of their own).

If they still think that watching TV, going to their kid's ball game, or rock climbing is where they want to spent their extra time, then that is fully their choice.

Now, if their skills are becoming outdated enough that their performance is dropping or they are at risk of being laid off/replaced, that is between them and their manager, and your input should only be given if they request a suggestion from you.

If their lack of expansion is hurting the team as a whole, you should carefully approach the team lead/manager about this, but make sure to package the message carefully. ("Hey boss, I think if we got some training in XYZ we could be more productive," is good. "Hey boss, employee A not knowing XYZ is hurting our team," is bad.)

In short, the answer is incentives. You can explain the incentives (or if a manager, perhaps even offer incentives). But if the incentives aren't good enough... well that is their choice.

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  • Thanks for the comment!! Some of the answers are great but must be applied as a policy of the company. Is there a way, besides leading by example or pointing training needs, to let some other realize of the advantages of continuous learning? – Project Shepherding May 27 '15 at 15:09

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