Supercharge your HR department with these books on hiring, motivation, and more
You’re on the hunt for the best HR practices and you come across this HR superstar who reads like 5 books a week. You can’t even finish one. How do they do it?
Listen, you want to be a learning machine too. Absorbing all the best HR practices and applying them directly to your team and company culture. But your days are just as intense as the next HR pro.
The truth is that most of us don’t have the time to stay current on all the studies that are published on how to motivate employees, how to hire, how to design effective office spaces, and how to gain a competitive advantage in the knowledge-based economy.
The best part of it all? You’re not alone. People have written about it. And they give clear advice about what to do next.
7 books every HR department should read
Ron Friedman synthesizes over 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles on employee engagement, productivity, and corporate culture. Don’t let this scare you. He presents this body of work in digestible bites, so you know what they mean. And a checklist of action items at the end of every chapter is provided so you can apply these learnings directly to your job. The book is written in a fun, approachable tone, so it’s hard to put down. If you are looking for the current playbook on motivating employees, hiring tactics, and effective office space design, this is the book that will give you a competitive edge in our knowledge-based economy.
For many companies on Fortune’s list, the calculus is simple. Happy employees mean greater profits. -Ron Friedman
Keller is the founder of one of the largest real estate companies in the world and shares his simple secret to success: focus on “the one thing”. We live in information overload, which triggers competing norms like multi-tasking and high output. But multitasking is a productivity killer, Keller argues. The more time you spend switching to another task, the less likely you are to get back to your original task. This is how loose ends pile up. Also, task switching wastes time. Bouncing between activities creates a cognitive delay. All the milliseconds add up as your brain reorients to a new task. Want to reduce wasted time? And simplify your workload? Read this book. You’ll learn how to supercharge your hr team by cutting the clutter, dialing down the stress, and mastering what matters to you.
Be like a postage stamp: Stick to one thing until you get there.
This isn’t your typical change management tome. Dan and Chip Heath bring together decades of research in psychology, sociology, and emotional intelligence to show how to engage our emotions and reason to create real change. There’s no 10-Step Plan or Come-to-Consensus moment. Instead, the Heath brothers present a clear 3-part framework: Direct the Rider, Motivate the Elephant and Shape the Path. Applied to dozens of use cases ranging from a Healthcare executive’s 6-month runway to “save 100,000 lives” to feeding children in poor villages in Vietnam, this same three-part framework resulted in sea change despite great difficulty. As an HR pro, you are consistently introducing or managing change in the workplace. Why not learn from real-world anecdotes about identifying, motivating, and executing difficult changes?
Mindset is filled with vivid stories from everyday people to the celebrated in business, science, education, and sports, illustrating how a fixed mindset limits us while a growth mindset can liberate us. This is not just a how-to manual; each chapter ends with a checklist for evaluating your own mindset and questions that trigger reflection on life consequences. Carol Dwek repeatedly points out it’s never too late to change a mindset that is limiting one’s potential and accomplishments in life. Is the growth mindset transferable to the workplace? Think of this use-case: How else will an under-performing employee grow if you think they can’t change? Read this book if you want the playbook on motivating employees.
Want to learn how to have loyal customers and engaged employees? Read Simon Sinek’s book. It introduces the idea of articulating a clear why to naturally build trust with employees and customers. And how companies like Apple, Southwest, Continental, and even the Wright Brothers, achieved remarkable ability to innovate and succeed by inspiring instead of manipulating employees (or customers) to act. For HR teams faced with competition, customer or employee churn, this book can provide insights to turn the ship around. This is the ultimate HR manual on retaining and re-engaging employees.
There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or influence it. -Simon Sinek
I know, this is restaurant book. But it’s written by one of the most prominent restaurateurs in American history and hospitality rock star, Danny Meyers. What do HR pros have to learn from hospitality? Hospitality is about solving for the customer. Solving what for the customer? Anything. Think about it: human resources solves for the employee. Your employee is your customer. One of main lessons in the book Meyer’s calls, Enlightened Hospitality, shows how you can’t expect employees who mistreat each other, to then turn around and treat the customer with respect. Poor internal relationships mirror poor external relationships. If you have direct and frequent contact with customers, train or supervise those who do, or your company has trouble attracting and retaining employees, this book is for you.
Ever wonder why you agreed to do something or make a purchase you didn’t really to? Cialdini sites 6 widely used marketing tactics to get you to say yes: reciprocity, scarcity, liking, authority, social proof, and commitment/consistency. Each tactic is examined in its ability to produce an automatic, mindless compliance from people. And this book is filled with entertaining examples that illustrate how each tactic plays out in everyday life, from purchasing jewelry at a store to accepting a new job offer. While you may not be required to influence a purchase decision like marketers, HR activities still put you in situations that require negotiation and influence–like recruiting, talent management, or getting buy-in for a new health initiative. Read this book to learn how to use the psychology why people say yes and how to apply these learnings to make your team influential human resource professionals.
The ever-accelerating pace and informational crush of modern life [makes] an automatic, mindless compliance from people more prevalent…making it increasingly important for society to understand the how and how of automatic influence. -Robert Cialdini