Must-read books on HR processes and culture

Posted 2 years ago by GoCo

As many prominent business figures could attest, having a regular reading schedule is essential to one’s professional growth. This carries particular weight for HR workers, who must not only keep their own skills honed but also foster the career development of the personnel they support. There are six books you can add to your reading list today to get a running start on your learning.

Work Rules! by former Google HR boss Laszlo Bock

Work Rules! offers HR lessons from one of the world’s largest tech companies. It’s written by Laszlo Bock, who served as the SVP of People Operations at Google for over a decade. He shares concrete guidelines for improving employee morale, recruitment and other key HR functions along case studies from the field. Bock pairs the advice with an insider’s perspective on Silicon Valley that can make for an interesting read.

HR from the Outside In – An academic view

If you have time to delve into the more strategic side of personnel management, HR from the Outside In is a good book to pick up. The four authors are professors and executives who present a model for aligning the HR department with big-picture company goals. They focus on six areas where taking a more business-oriented approach can improve employee engagement, as well as benefit the organization as a whole. The book has received endorsements from an impressive lineup of business leaders including top HR executives at GE and Lenovo.

Back to the basics with GoCo’s Onboarding 101

In addition to finding new ways that the HR department can contribute, it’s also important to ensure existing responsibilities are fulfilled effectively. Research from Gallup shows that the seemingly most basic operational processes play the biggest role in shaping employee engagement. With that in mind, GoCo’s team has put together Onboarding 101, an e-book designed to help businesses make sure they get off on the right foot with new hires. It lays out key practices for ensuring a smooth onboarding experience, as well as specific methods and tools with which to apply them.

Delivering Happiness – a startup story

Besides establishing processes for personnel management, HR teams are also responsible for maintaining a strong company culture that motivates employees. In Delivering Happiness, CEO Tony Hsieh recounts his journey to establish a positive work environment that encourages business growth. The book contains many of the learnings that Hsieh gained while transforming his company into one of the biggest names in e-commerce. has been operating as part of Amazon since a $1.2 billion acquisition in 2009.

A culture deep-dive with Crucial Conversations

Crucial Conversations is one of the most popular books to have come out in recent years, with over 2 million copies sold. It’s not intended specifically for HR teams, but provides advice about topics that are essential to developing a positive work culture. The four authors cover things such as how to make it safe for employees to speak up about uncomfortable issues, diffuse tensions and make sure the lessons from an important conversation are applied.

Dr. Christine Porath’s Mastering Civility

In Mastering Civility, Georgetown University associate professor Christine Porath approaches work culture from a teacher’s perspective. The book provides practical suggestions for improving office life, while a companion website enables HR personnel to easily assess how their workplace stands. Porath backs up her advice with proof points from areas such as pop culture and neuroscience. Over on the back cover, one of people who have lent their endorsement to the book is none other than Work Rules! author Laszlo Bock.

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