5 HR books for under the Christmas tree

Published on 07-12-2018

Still looking for the one, perfect gift for a loved one? Or maybe something to add to your own personal wish list? Let us help! We selected our Top 5 HR books that offer essential insight and inspiration for the upcoming year.

As Oscar Wilde so famously states: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” In other words, you can never go wrong with a great book. This time of the year is made for staying inside, drinking tea and getting lost between the pages of a captivating book. So, without further ado, here are our top 5 HR books about leadership, corporate culture, employee engagement and recruiting the right talents in 2019!


Our top 5 HR books

#1 HR Book: How Could This Happen?: Managing Errors in Organizations by Jan U. Hagen

Don’t make mistakes. And if you do, you’re on your own
unless you can blame someone else.

Unfortunately, this is the ugly reality in terms of error management in some organisations. And although many organisations have moved on from this black and white approach, seeking to eradicate errors with an unattainable goal of zero remains top on the agenda. But why? After all, mistakes happen. They are human. And rather than stigmatized them, we should openly discuss, analyze, and, in the end, use errors as a source for learning.

In How Could This Happen? Jan Hagen does not only collect insights from the leading academics in this field himself has other practitioners write about their professional experiences of error management. In the end, this HR book will provide you with helpful insights into error management as well as inspire you as a leader how to create the culture and processes that enable your organisation to learn from its mistakes.

This is a very important book for the analysis of safety, quality, and employee engagement by focusing in detail on the many explanations for why individual and organizational errors occur, how they consistently create major accidents and organizational failures, and why organizations do not learn effectively from them. The multiple perspectives of the different authors provide a variety of explanations and apply these to many important cases.- Edgar H. Schein

#2 HR Book: 136 Ideas For Rockstar Employee Engagement by James Dodkins

Employees are an organisation’s greatest asset. They are the rockstars of every business. However, 2018 showed us that the employee engagement levels are alarmingly low in many organisations. According to Gallup, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. So, how can we make our employees feel like the rockstars they truly are?

James Dodkins wrote an HR book that tackles precisely this problem. This book provides you with 136 ideas that will increase your employee engagement. Some are more helpful than other. Some are quite specific, others are quite broad. Some ideas you’ll hate and think are totally stupid, others you’ll fall in love with (hopefully). Some are big projects, others are small. Some are silly, others are practical. Either way, all of those ideas will first put a smile to you and later to your rockstars faces and make them feel closer and more connected to each other, your company and your customers.

Employee Engagement Tip #5: Giving shares in the company to all employees (even if it’s just a small amount) drives extreme engagement and knowing that they own a little bit of the company makes them feel like absolute rockstars!

Every tip is illustrated by a small comic, making this HR book an entertaining and at the same time insightful read.


#3 HR Book: Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results by Barry O’Reilly

This book is all about transformation: O’Reilly introduces a transformative system that shows leaders how to rethink their strategies, retool their capabilities, and revitalize their businesses for stronger, longer-lasting success.

Once we learned something, we tend to rely on past achievements or get stuck in outdated thinking and practices that no longer work. So, we need to take a step back and unlearn. Barry O’Reilly illustrates how to break the cycle of behaviors that are longer relevant in the current business climate, and now limit or may even stand in the way of your success. He introduces a seemingly simple step-by-step system:

  1. Unlearn the behaviors and mindsets that prevent you and your businesses from moving forward.
  2. Relearn new skills, strategies, and innovations that are transforming the world every day.
  3. Break through old habits and thinking by opening up to new ideas and perspectives to achieve extraordinary results.

Good leaders know they need to continuously learn. But great leaders know when to unlearn the past to succeed in the future. Packed with relatable anecdotes and real-world examples, this HR book will show you the way. Find out more about leadership and culture in our new white paper.

#4 HR Book: The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

This New York Times Bestseller peeks behind the curtains of highly successful organisations and provides tomorrow’s leaders with the tools to build a cohesive, motivated culture.

Where does great culture come from? How do you build and sustain it in your group, or strengthen a culture that needs fixing? In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle breaks down the culture-building process into three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation. Furthermore he explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Illustrated with many current case studies, Coyle also illustrate what not to do, shares advice about reforming a toxic culture, and what we can learn from other’s mistakes. The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating a workplace where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded. With this HR book, Coyle puts the power into your hands. After all, culture isn’t who you are – it is what you do.

I’ve been waiting years for someone to write this book—I’ve built it up in my mind into something extraordinary. But it is even better than I imagined. Daniel Coyle has produced a truly brilliant, mesmerizing read that demystifies the magic of great groups. It blows all other books on culture right out of the water. – Adam Grant, bestselling author

#5 HR Book: Recruit Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business by Jeff Hyman

Jeff Hyman is a bestselling author, Executive Recruiter at Strong Suit, and a Professor at the Kellogg School of Management. In other words, he knows the recruiting industry like the back of his hand. In his HR book, Recruit Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business he shows you how to find, hire, and keep the best of the best. The rockstars that will help you build an organization with limitless potential.

You can either spend time on the front end, carefully finding and recruiting Rockstars, or you can spend it on the back end in the form of micromanagement, inefficiencies, and ultimately, firings, in a cycle that keeps repeating itself until your haphazard process serendipitously lands a keeper. – Jeff Hyman

In addition to providing you with guidance on how to hire the best people, Recruit Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business also gives guidance on how to get the right number of interviews, determine a cultural fit, assemble a team of driven and innovative Rockstars and much more. If you are looking for an HR book that will provide your loved one’s company with a competitive advantage, look no further.

We hope this list of our favourite HR books provided you with some inspiration. Not a fan of books at all? Try a recruiting podcast! We’ve done the research for you and listed the 5 best podcasts on corporate culture here.

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