The Top 13 HR Books That Every Professional Needs to Read

It’s that time of the year again and as we enter the offseason, it’s a great opportunity to catchup on that reading list that fell to the wayside.

Whether you’re in recruiting, human resources or people operations, this list helps you to go beyond the seemingly mundane, tedious day-to-day and dive into thought leadership that can help in cultivating a positive and productive work environment.

From motivating employees, to retention strategies and shaping a company’s culture, here is a quick list of 13 HR books we think should be top of mind for any People professional when it comes to offseason reading.

First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman

One common theme stands out in First, Break All The Rules: great managers always apply innovative methods that shape productive teams. Although relatively focused on overall business management, the same strategies inspire people and recruiting operators to break the mold in creating a more productive organization.

The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

Ron Friedman PhD

An award-winning psychologist, Ron Friedman takes audiences through the advances in behavioral science in supporting workplace excellence. Combing through thousands of academic research studies, Friedman provides readers with practical tips that can help elevate any organization.

Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, Annie McKee

It’s been known that the most successful managers not only have an elevated IQ, but an even higher EQ. For decades world class organizations have been built by leaders that are able to connect with others and drive results while harnessing competencies like self-awareness. Primal Leadership shows the upside of leading with emotional intelligence.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

Jim Collins

What makes a good organization great? Jim Collins shows in his book Good to Great. In this eternal guide on taking a team to the next level, Collins digs deep and uncovers the truth about how organizations move the needle and transition to formidable companies, and how others fail to make that jump up.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Angela Duckworth

A New York Times bestseller, Grit, written by psychologist Angela Duckworth, dives into how anyone can achieve outstanding results with a blend of passion and persistence. Taking audiences a bit deeper via experiences of a West Point cadet on their first day to National Spelling Bee finalists, Duckworth shows that long term perseverance and passion combine to create results when talent runs out.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Other’s Don’t

Simon Sinek

A worldwide public speaker and well known optimist, Simon Sinek dives into how organizational leadership is a lot more defining and cascading than most people think in his latest book, Leaders Eat Last. In it, Sinek notes that leadership is a full circle exercise that results in organizations being a direct reflection of its leadership. A great read for any HR professional looking to elevate a people-first organization to the next level.

The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals

Shawn Smith, Rebecca Mazin

Although the book’s second edition arrived in 2011, this comprehensive guide remains relevant as a baseline for any HR professional looking to gain a practical foothold in the industry. The updated and expanded version holds information regarding compensation laws, FMLA considerations as well as tools and checklists.

Love’em or Lose’em: Getting Good People to Stay

Beverly Kaye, Sharon Jordan-Evans

Given a tight job market, retention plays an increasingly important role in the people operations game. And, with the cost of replacing a worker now more expensive than keeping one, both Kay and Jordan-Evans offer key insights into how to retain your company’s best workers — keeping them focused on performing and not heading for the door.

Smart Staffing: How to Hire, Reward and Keep Top Employees for Your Growing Company

Wayne Outlaw

Wayne Outlaw presents this quick guide offering strategies and tips on how to identify, screen and attract talent to your organization as well as keeping team morale high in supporting an effective team.

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

Laszlo Bock

Quantitatively focused, Laszlo Bock’s Work Rules! continues to add value to organizations since its publication by offering up an in-depth look into how one of the world’s most recognized brands transformed the role of People Operations. Laszlo also provides teaching examples, referencing companies that underperformed due to uninspiring environments as well as those that succeeded by valuing their employees. A must read for HR Professionals.

Cubed: The Secret History of the Workplace

Nikil Saval

A quick and comical deep dive into how the modern workday environment has evolved, Cubed takes audiences through a journey of everything office related — including the invention of the fluorescent light bulb. Through Cubed, Saval shows readers why we work the way we do and how we might want to change everything.

Why Work Sucks and How to Fix it: The Results Only Revolution

Cali Ressler, Jody Thompson

Changing how people think about the work day, Ressler and Thompson are leading a new movement that emphasizes results in modern day teams. In Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It, the book’s authors show that team results improve and employees are happier when they are allowed the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want — as long as the work gets done.

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

Hiring conversations aren’t the easiest, especially when emotions are involved. Crucial Conversations helps professionals navigate through those not-so-easy conversations and transforms emotional confrontations into meaningful dialogue. Be persuasive, not abrasive.

SquarePeg helps teams solve for the soft skills when it comes to business hires with our proven AI hiring platform. Sign up for a personalized demo to see how SquarePeg can help with your new business hires or learn more at SquarePegHires.