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5 Brilliant HR Books Every Professional Should Read in 2022

We asked HR professionals what books they would recommend to anyone in the industry. Here are the top 5 suggestions that stood out to our team!

by Nick Schurk - June 9, 2022

It happens to most of us in Human Resources. Whether you’re new to HR or a decades-long veteran, you’re committed to learning and personal development. There’s always room for each of us to improve our skills and catch up on the newest trends and developments.

That said, HR decision-makers are busier than ever navigating the new normal of managing a remote workforce, emphasizing employee health and safety while trying to make sure longstanding responsibilities – such as BenAdmin and compliance – don’t fall through the cracks. It’s completely understandable that many of us don’t have the time to seek out the best content to help us hone our skills.

Our main focus is working with people. People are dynamic and change on the regular, and that should be reflected by us staying on top of how to best support our teams! That’s why GoCo recently asked HR professionals what books they would recommend to anyone in the industry. We received a lot of great suggestions, both new and old, covering a wide variety of topics. Here are the top 5 that stood out to our team that we think you should read in 2022!

The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey (2006) and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (2002)

Suggested by Jenny Voigt, Sr. Human Resources Generalist at Amplify Credit Union

I’ve always been a fan of two books – The Speed of Trust, by Stephen M. R. Covey, and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. They play hand in hand rather well since both have a focus on trust and how that drives business. That single component – trust – is the lynchpin to success. When you trust your team members, they are willing to go the extra mile. They are happier because they don’t feel micromanaged. The confidence you have in them multiplies their desire to inspire that confidence through their actions.

By the same token, if your team members trust you, they know that you will follow through on your commitments to them. And that breeds loyalty. Sometimes managing people can seem like an unsolvable puzzle, but these two books help crack that code.

Bring Your Human To Work by Erica Keswin (2018)

Suggested by Agnieszka Goulin, Head of People at Spacelift

Bring Your Human To Work by Erica KeswinBring Your Human To Work by Erica Keswin is a breath of fresh air in the HR literature. It explores how companies can put human connection at the center of their business and outlines the financial and social benefits of encouraging better communication and deeper relationships between coworkers.

Two things contribute to this recommendation:

    1. It’s a well-researched and practical book written in an accessible and comprehensive style. It offers strategies for humanizing technology, hiring the right people, designing a smart office layout, etc.
    2. It outlines the importance of people and their well-being. Nowadays, more companies use different practices to ensure an inclusive and meaningful workplace that nurtures innovation. And Bring Your Human To Work is a must-read for those who want to keep up with the times.

There are classics of HR everyone should be familiar with, some more than the others. Still, reading this back in 2019, I found it to be insightful, modern, and most importantly, it set off my journey into a more contemporary way of thinking in my career.

Victory Through Organization by Dave Ulrich, David Kryscynski, Wayne Brockbank & Mike Ulrich (2017)

Suggested by Katy Smith, HR manager at Airgram

The subtitle to this book says almost everything. It’s no surprise that I went for a book subtitled “Why the war for talent is hurting your company,” but the takeaways I came out with were astounding.

HR managers in relatively small businesses tend to have challenges with small talent pools. I read this book when we were going through the ravages of the great resignation as a business. I wanted to find employees during the labor crunch, and the book gave me the greatest ideas on how to go about it. The book shows the value of employee experience and people-centered HR practices and highlights that businesses should package their HR practices to attract more talent.

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“..if your team members trust you, they know that you will follow through on your commitments to them. And that breeds loyalty.” –
Jenny Voigt, Sr. Human Resources Generalist at Amplify Credit Union

Good to Great by Jim Collins (2001)

Suggested by Max Hauer, founder, and CEO of Goflow

Jim Collins explains how certain sets of companies defy the norms and perform exceptionally well and why some companies do not sustain success, highlighting strategies as to how mediocre or bad companies achieve success and greatness.

Collins and his team identified various reasons and parameters that enabled some companies to scale up the ladder and become good to great while others just either stayed good or perished over time. The findings of the Good to Great study emphasize different styles of leadership, the culture of discipline, the role of technology in defining the paradigms of business, and more.

This book is a must-read for HR professionals to understand the ingrained structure of organizations and what drives people to succeed.

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