One of the most amazing things about working in the modern age is that knowledge is everywhere. How-to videos, Ted Talks, online guides, social content, and self-directed courses have made learning more accessible than ever. The only barrier? Knowing where to look.
To help you get started on your 2023 HR reading list, we’ve compiled a list of top books for people pros. We looked at a wide array of topics and trends that cover everything from employee culture and well-being, people processes, and HR software, to DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging), and the rising importance of data.
12 HR books you should read in 2023
Bring Your Human to Work
By Erica Keswin
Workplace strategist and business coach Erica Keswin, has spent over 20 years working with business leaders to build successful organizations that honour relationships. Featuring case studies from brands like Lyft, Starbucks, Mogul, and SoulCycle, Bring Your Human to Work encourages fairness, devotion, and joy in the workplace. By bringing your human to work, you can design a workplace that is good for people and great for business.
Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters Most
By Cassie Holmes
Our most precious resource isn’t money. It’s time. We have 24 hours in a day, and we live in a culture that make us feel “time-poor.” Since we can’t add more hours to the day, how can we experience richer lives? Based on her wildly popular MBA class, Professor Cassie Holmes demonstrates how to immediately improve your life by changing how you perceive and invest your time. Happier Hour provides easy-to-implement tools that will help you optimize how you spend your time, avoid distractions, create moments of joy, design your schedule with purpose, and look back without regrets.
Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World's Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations
By Josh Bersin
In this book, renowned industry analyst Josh Bersin introduces a new way to think about organizational design, employee engagement, and employee development. Following seven practical yet profound management principles, Bersin outlines how business leaders can create enduring companies that thrive with improved customer satisfaction, employee retention, and business agility. Each chapter includes tips on how to bring organizational behaviour lessons to life. Inspiring and pragmatic, Irresistible is a leader’s handbook for today’s unpredictable business world—where people and culture are more important than ever.
Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work
By Ruchika Tulshyan
Inclusion on Purpose shows leaders how to foster a culture of inclusion, diversity, and equity in the workplace. Putting the experiences of women of colour front and center, it provides impactful inclusion strategies that not only benefit marginalized employees, but every employee in an organization. Ruchika Tulshyan is a best-selling author and journalist whose work focuses on diversity, inclusion, and leadership. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and Forbes.
Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World
By Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross
How do you find talent with a creative spark? To what extent can you predict human creativity, or is human creativity something unique each time it appears? Obsessed with these questions, renowned economist Tyler Cowen and entrepreneur Daniel Gross set out to study the art and science of finding talent at the highest level. In this book, Cowen and Gross guide the reader through scientific research relevant to talent search. Topics include: how to conduct an interview, how to judge personality and match traits to jobs, how to evaluate talent in online interactions (like Zoom), why talented women are still undervalued and how to spot them, how to understand the special talents in people who have disabilities, and how to use scouts to find talent. Talent is a book for people searching for talent, and for those who wish to be searched for.
Talent Keepers: How Top Leaders Engage and Retain Their Best Performers
By Christopher Mulligan and Craig Taylor
A strong U.S. economy. Record-low unemployment rates. The shift to Millennials becoming the largest generation in the workforce. All are challenges facing organizations when it comes to engaging and retaining employees. Talent Keepers puts a new spin on a systematic approach to employee engagement and retention with methods that have achieved proven results. In the book, you’ll find research-based ways to engage employees from the moment they are hired. Featuring client case studies that show how organizations put engagement plans into practice and achieved success, you’ll get actionable strategies you can begin implementing immediately in your organization. If you’re an HR leader looking to engage and retain your best performers, Talent Keepers has you covered.
Leading Inclusion: Drive Change Your Employees Can See and Feel
By Gena Cox
In this groundbreaking book, organizational psychologist Gena Cox educates, challenges, and empowers leaders and executive boards to lead a diverse workforce. Drawing on psychological science, interviews with corporate leaders, the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) experts, and her own experience in corporate America, Cox goes beyond the business case for diversity and answers the clarion call for human-centered organizational leadership. Leading Inclusion is not a how-to book, it's a how-to-be book. You'll learn the historical facts that created the racial inequities and systemic injustices that show up in the workplace, even today. Leading Inclusion shows the importance of taking the pulse of all your employees, so you can identify meaningful actions to build an inclusive, respect-first organizational culture.
People Processes: How Your People Can Be Your Organization's Competitive Advantage
By Rhamy Alejeal
Unmotivated employees. Poor performance. High turnover. Addressing these problems should be the highest priority of HR managers, but you don't have time, because you spend so much of your time dealing with repetitive paperwork. To do right by the people who work for you—and your clients—you need to free HR from the burden of redundant, soul-draining processes. People Processes reveals how you can use technology to streamline your personnel operations. Taking you through every component of HR workflow, Rhamy Alejeal lays out the steps for optimizing procedures such as onboarding, scheduling, payroll, reporting, compliance, and communication. Learn how to make big changes that will increase your productivity and boost your ability to attract and keep talent.
Agile HR: Deliver Value in a Changing World of Work
By Natal Dank and Riina Hellström
Agile HR is a practical guide on how the HR function can develop processes that save time, boost performance and support overall business goals. From tech start-ups to large enterprise companies, organizations need to be fast, flexible, and digitally empowered to succeed. Covering every aspect of the HR function from people processes, ways of working, and HR services to organization design, operating models, and HR teams, Agile HR is an essential guide for all HR practitioners wanting to drive business performance but don't know where to start. This a great read for HR professionals in organizations of any size needing to adopt fast, flexible, and evolving agile approaches to compete in the new world of work.
Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace: A Practical Guide for Employers and Employees
By Gill Hasson and Donna Butler
In this book, Gill Hasson and Donna Butler delve into the significance of mental health and its effects on both businesses and employees. They provide practical advice on how to promote mental well-being in the workplace and assist those dealing with mental health challenges. With in-depth case studies, the authors offer a diverse range of perspectives from both employers and employees. This comprehensive guide serves as a valuable resource for managing employee mental health concerns and developing a comprehensive well-being strategy for your organization.
Making Numbers Count: The Art and Science of Communicating Numbers
By Karla Starr & Chip Heath
Which statement is easier to remember? "Pakistan has an area of 340,000 square miles" or "Pakistan is about the size of 2 Californias." In Making Numbers Count, Karla Starr and Chip Heath offer readers methods for sifting through data and statistics to reveal relatable stories. By sharing real-world examples, this book demystifies data— giving readers a better understanding of numbers, how to communicate with them, and how to make data-based decisions more effectively.
Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility
By Patty McCord
When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was chief talent officer. In this book, she advocates practicing radical honesty in the workplace, saying goodbye to employees who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs, and motivating with challenging work, not promises, perks, and bonus plans. McCord argues that the old standbys of corporate HR—annual performance reviews, retention plans, employee empowerment, and engagement programs—often end up being a colossal waste of time and resources. Her road-tested advice, offered with humor and irreverence, provides readers with a different path for creating a culture of high performance and profitability.
Additional Reading Links
1. 10 Great Books That Every Leader Should Read
2. 2023 Resolutions for Payroll Pros
3. HR + Payroll: How to pave the way to partnership
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