Top 10 Must-Read Books for HR Professionals – Part 1

By Published July 28, 2017
Books for HR professionals

“Today a Reader; Tomorrow a Leader”

                                                                                                  – Margaret Fuller

Truly said. Margaret Fuller’s words are applicable for all and sundry. However, as a human resource (HR) professional, one needs to cultivate the habit of good reading, as the job involves directly dealing with people. Reading not only opens up our minds to new ideas, but also helps us cultivate our own thoughts as well as develop new ideas.

Books for HR professionals

The subsequent paragraphs take a look at some of the most inspiring and influential books for HR professional must read in 2017.

#1. Awakening Compassion at Work

– Monica Worline and Jane Dutton

Anguish in the workplace can deprive our colleagues and coworkers of humanity, self-esteem, and enthusiasm. Surprisingly, suffering is an unrecognized and costly drain on structural potential. Putin in order, evidence from two decades of field research, scholars and consultants Monica Worline and Jane Dutton show that alleviating such suffering at workplace confers measurable competitive advantages in areas like collaboration, innovation, service quality, and talent attraction and retention.

The duo outline four steps for meeting suffering with compassion and show how to build a capacity for compassion into the structures and practices of an organization—because ultimately, as they write, “Compassion is an irreplaceable dimension of excellence for any organization that wants to make the most of its human capabilities.” This book is definitely worth a read.

#2. The Art of People

– Dave Kerpen

People skills are arguably the most significant competencies that a person can possess; and no other talent or even acquired knowledge can make up for this kind of a deficiency. After all, people do business with people. Therefore, possessing people skills is highly essential in order to succeed in the world of business.

This thought forms the basis of NYTimes Best Seller Dave Kerpen’s latest venture The Art of People. Kerpen in his work, firmly argues that in today’s world, folks with the best people skills are best equipped to achieve success and in fact, they do succeed more often than others. More importantly, he provides the readers with numerous pieces of practical advice regarding how to enhance their own people skills and eventually improve their rate of success in whatever they do. Divided into 11 sections, the book contains Kerpen’s personal anecdotes explaining every advice that he gives. All in all, The Art of People provides a wealth of immediately actionable tips that are genuinely helpful.

#3. Designing Human Resources: A Leader’s Guide

– Jayant Mukherjee

In the present era of intense competition most organizations have become extra careful in managing their human resource. HR departments are expected to design HR systems of their organizations in their unique contexts, after taking into view the specific ground realities surrounding them.

Mukherjee’s work in this domain, claims to help HR leaders to help design HR systems for a better working of organizational values and competencies. It does make an attempt to understand and also make HR leaders understand that importance of HR designs at workplace and how leaders should make themselves work. Mukherjee discusses theoretical concepts as well as practical steps involved in designing various HR steps and HR systems including job analysis, HR planning, performance management, recruitment and selection, and other functions as well.

Overall the book is fairly comprehensive and innovative in its approach. It reflects a good amount of practical approach by the author in HR systems and designing and also provides an insight, as to how to handle people issues within an organization. It would prove to be one of the great reference books for HR leaders and even line managers.

#4. Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace

– Christine Porath

Incivility is slightly chipping away at people, organizations, economy and even the society at large. Slights, insensitivities and rude behaviour can cut deeply across and of course hijack focus. Ultimately, incivility cuts down the focus, the bottom line.

It is within this backdrop, that Porath weaves her non-fiction masterpiece on the importance of human resources at workplace. Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace is a slender but compelling guide to treating others respectfully at work and also protecting oneself from those who do.

The book cites several examples related to incivility within the corporate jungle and focuses on the serious business risks involved by failing to foster a culture of civility. Needless to say, Porath’s work is a must read for every HR leader and manager who sincerely want to bring about positive changes in a workplace.

#5. Under New Management

– David Burkus

In his seminal work Under New Management, Burkus argues that the practices that have evolved from the traditional factory work economy, are no longer relevant in today’s modern workplaces or today’s knowledge-based work economy. He walks the readers through compulsive case studies of companies who have abandoned traditional and age-old leadership practices in favour of new paths to organize and lead.

Burkus does a lot more that to simply profile companies with interesting practices. He implements academic research and various other sources to explain why is he in favour of new management practices and why are they more effective than the archaic ones.

Some of the mind-boggling examples cited by Burkus, include outlawing email, ditching performance appraisal, firing the manager, paying people to quit and others. Overall, Under New Management is an exciting piece of work and will pose as a great handbook for HR leaders of the modern times.

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