As an HR pro part of your job is to always be learning and improving. You may not always have money in the budget to take a class or attend a conference, but it shouldn’t be too hard to scrape up the money to buy a new book.
Here are five great books for human resources leaders that come with glowing recommendations.
‘Good to Great’
by Jim Collins
For his book “Good to Great,” Jim Collins studied more than 1,400 companies and came up with eleven that had made the transformation into exceptional organizations. Within those eleven companies, there were some similarities and patterns that other organizations can use to transform themselves, especially with regards to recruiting.
One common denominator they found is that these companies were vigilant about finding and hiring the absolute best people, says Allison Wyatt, vice president of human assets consulting for Koya Leadership Partners, an executive search firm specializing in nonprofit collaborations.
‘First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently’
by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
“First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman discusses how the best managers tend to reject conventional management ideas and pursue others that may seem counter-intuitive.
“One of the underlying tenets of the book is that great managers must recognize everyone as an individual, and NOT treat everyone the same,” says Wyatt. There is a lot of quality information about being an effective manager, “most of which you wouldn’t have seen before and will likely even contradict what you have seen before.”
‘Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High’
by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler
One of the hardest aspects of any job or relationship is having difficult conversations. In their book, “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High,” Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler address how to have potentially unpleasant discussions in a positive, respectful and efficient way.
In the book, the authors “define a crucial conversation as having three parts: the stakes are high, there are strong emotions, and there are many options as to what to do,” says Steve Albrecht, a workplace violence prevention expert. “This book has helped a lot of HR people get through difficult coaching, discipline, and termination events.”
‘1501 Ways to Reward Employees’
by Bob Nelson
The first version of this book had 1,001 ideas and was a national bestseller. The earlier version “surprised me with the number of great ideas — real tactics — to keep employees connected, to show them appreciation, to support their growth and to focus on the positives in the workplace,” says Chris Dyer, founder and CEO of PeopleG2, a background check and risk management consultancy.
Dyer says his business requires a lot of day-to-day contact with employees and he found the book offered a lot of valuable suggestions for how to reward and recognize individual team members. In its latest iteration, Bob Nelson’s “1501 Ways to Reward Employees” contains all the information that Dyer loves from the original, but also includes new ideas for rewarding virtual employees, millennials and freelancers in a modern workforce.
‘Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success’
by John Maxwell
Mistakes make for great learning opportunities, and as an HR professional you know even great employees will make mistakes. The way a person reacts to their mistakes can propel them to great success — and that’s the premise of John Maxwell’s “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success.”
“Good mistakes stem from taking initiative and being proactive. You want this, but only if you know how to support” your employees so they’ll learn from their mistakes, says Laney Lyons, co-author of “Don’t Be a Yes Chick!”