The pandemic has left HR professionals in unchartered waters. Just as things were starting to return to normal it seemed, the virus has a new variant that spreads quicker and easier than the initial variant, leaving states pondering the re-instatement of mask mandates and companies trying to figure out if their hopes for a hybrid workforce need to be shelved for a while.
Along the way, HR professionals are learning a lot. While that in the moment, on the job type of learning is incredibly valuable, it never hurts to draw from the experiences and expertise of industry analysts and experts. A good read is not only relaxing, but also a valuable tool in helping you see beyond the scope of a problem or the walls of the company.
To help you develop a reading list that can fuel your own growth, we’ve provided a list of the best HR focused books to read in 2021.
Looking into the future feels tough at times, especially when the world is as unpredictable as it is in 2021. A byproduct of our current circumstances is an environment where transitions happen fast and regularly, whether it’s transitioning to new technology or the location of where people work. The First 90 Days, once an international bestseller, has been updated and expanded from its original version and is considered one of the 100 Leadership & Success Books to Read in Lifetime by Amazon Editors. Its focus is on leadership transitions and the pitfalls new leaders encounter early on.
- The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth
Psychological safety is key to bringing the most out of teams, from creativity and innovation to effective communication and streamlined processes. People simply need to be able to be themselves and bring their skills to the table without fear of not fitting in. The Fearless Organization focuses on this to provide a step-by-step framework for establishing psychological safety and create a culture where ideas can thrive.
Simon Sinek is a well-known speaker and in this book, he examines how to create a workplace where people feel inspired and trusted by leadership. He draws on a variety of examples of successful management and offers up an entire chapter focused on leading millennials, a generation now taking on management and leadership roles themselves.
Diversity is a pressing issue at a time of social unrest and uncertainty, issues that run so deep it’s impossible they don’t permeate and find their way into the workplace and without common languages that reinforce positive identities and build trust in both people and process, businesses and their diversity efforts are not sustainable. In this book, you’ll see a comprehensive approach to communicating with people who have different mindsets, perspectives and cultural backgrounds.
With a subtitle like “Insights from Google that will transform how you live and lead”, this book sets a lofty goal from the start, but that makes sense given its written by Laszlo Block, the former head of Google’s People Operations division. He emphasizes growth, culture and humanity as the central tenets of an HR philosophy.
A deep dive into what the book dubs “the science of total motivation”, Primed to Perform uses psychology as a tool in building performance cultures. The goal is to help you “unlock people’s innate desire to innovate, experiment and adapt.” Along the way, readers learn how to measure motivation and track improvements. As case studies, it looks at a number iconic companies and how they use the approach to develop their cultures.
Candor is sometimes interpreted as being harsh. But as this book asserts, you don’t have to sacrifice kindness in an effort to avoid being a pushover. Radical Candor examines how to avoid obnoxious aggression, manipulative insincerity and what it calls “Ruinous Empathy”. Kim Scott, another former leader at Google, has published the book in 2017 and has since spun it out into an executive education company. It’s a must read for any leader.
- Surrounded by Idiots: The Four Types of Human Behavior and How to Effectively Communicate with Each in Business
Looking at four key behavior types that define how we interact with and perceive the people around us, author Thomas Erikson aims to help readers understand how someone’s pattern of behavior is the key to successful communication. In doing so, the book helps readers hone their communication skills while improving their confidence and ability to resolve conflicts and improve team dynamics.
During a time now being dubbed “The Great Resignation”, many an HR leader is asking themselves how to retain talent. Perhaps there’s no better resource than the sixth edition of this bestseller. The new edition places increased importance on diversity and inclusion and in its usual A-to-Z format designed to make the 26 strategies memorable.
Photo Courtesy of Stock Photo Secrets