The Best 9 Books for HR Challenges

There are books written by HR leaders to help you overcome every challenge.

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The Best 9 Books for HR Challenges

Here's what you need to know about the best 9 books for HR challenges:

  • General leadership or business books are great, but let's be real – HR has its own specific function and needs.
  • The higher the motivation and employee engagement, the higher the productivity.
  • There's help for anyone looking to take their department to the next level and streamline operations.

Facing a growing number of complex, ever-shifting demands in the workplace, an HR professional has a lot on their plate. From helping employees navigate interpersonal conflicts to new-hire onboarding and benefits strategies, the task list is greater than ever.

The good news is that there are resources out there for Human Resource pros. There’s help for anyone looking to take their department to the next level and streamline operations. If you’ve already exhausted YouTube videos and podcasts, there are books written by HR leaders to help you overcome every challenge.

Books to help you address your HR challenges

General leadership or business books are great, but let’s be real – HR has its own specific function and needs. Workforce analytics, talent management, encouraging diversity, and crafting a sound company culture are incredibly specific human resource processes.

That’s why we’ve curated this list of nine books, each linking to solving a common HR challenge.

Challenge #1: High employee turnover rates

In the era of the Great Resignation, convincing an unsatisfied employee to stick with it instead of shop around for new opportunities is challenging. It’s important to have the right kind of incentives.

Watching co-workers walk out too often can also lower morale and bring down the overall atmosphere at work. It creates a culture of folks looking for a way to break free instead of bringing in fresh, can-do attitudes.

Suggested Reading: I Love It Here, by Clint Pulver, offers a delightful insight into an organization’s fatal flaws that drive away top talent and how to build an enriching, fully engaged workplace culture employees adore. Having that vital understanding of what makes a great team tick and thrive is essential for talent management. In this easy-to-read HR book, Pulver highlights how you can link company culture with better retention rates and lower turnover.

Challenge #2: Inefficient employee onboarding

As any HR professional knows, providing an engaging, effective onboarding experience for new hires is a complicated process. Poor onboarding contributes to a whopping 20% turnover rate within the first 45 days. Only 12% of employees are actually satisfied with the onboarding process.

Workers want to feel that they have the correct information and tools they need to thrive in their new positions. They don’t want to feel that they’re drowning in a lack of resources. Overwhelming demands that make them feel like they’re set up for failure instead of growth and success also set you up for failure.

Suggested Reading: The Essential HR Handbook, by Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell, is a handy, thoroughly detailed guide dedicated to handling all things HR.

Written with all business types and sizes in mind, it offers suggestions for a wide variety of issues. In addition, it also provides handy tools for navigating the muddy waters of interpersonal conflict in the workplace, such as:

  • Example forms
  • Checklists
  • All kinds of tips

Challenge #3: Low employee engagement

An ideal workplace that retains great talent isn’t simply a place to clock in and clock out for the sake of a paycheck. Employees want to feel they have a real future in a company, not only to stick around. They want to consistently contribute throughout their careers, devoting real-time and energy beyond the bare minimum.

The higher the motivation and employee engagement, the higher the productivity. A truly engaged employee feels like their employer offers opportunities. That they have a chance for substantial growth and aren’t just a replaceable cog in a machine.

Suggested Reading: Talent Keepers: How Leaders Engage and Retain Top Performers, by Christopher Mulligan and Craig Taylor, is a riveting guide to significantly improving employee motivation and guaranteeing success for the company and its vital talent.

Based on six successful case studies, Talent Keepers is an incredible resource to help invigorate the best work an employee can offer, complete with genuinely implementable plans of action for your business to follow.

Challenge #4: Finding the root cause of employee conflict

No one wants to be the employer trying to encourage team bonding with activities their workers secretly dread behind polite, impatient smiles.

If teamwork is less than stellar between workmates and everyone mentally escapes to a vacation six months in the future whenever they’re asked to do team-building exercises, you want to be intentional.

The wrong kind of activities and strategies will not only fall flat, but any interpersonal conflicts that may arise could quickly blow up into disaster if morale and motivation are low.

Recommended Reading: Bring Your Human to Work, by Erica Keswin, is a wonderful guide on how to truly bring authenticity into your company’s work culture.

Say goodbye to meetings where employees silently roll their eyes, wishing it had been an email instead. This book will help you have:

  • Substantial, meaningful practices that genuinely get in touch with workers as people,
  • Connect meaningfully with colleagues
  • Enhance employee wellness

These efforts will help you earn respect, goodwill, and sincere effort from employees in the process.

Challenge #5: Lack of Diversity in the Workplace

Unique viewpoints from different races, gender, and even generations can bring a work culture that is well-equipped to bounce creative ideas that can build off of one another. Having the same kind of people with similar backgrounds and experiences tossing ideas back and forth can be counterproductive. The fact is, a lack of diversity can lead to unhappy, even hostile, work environments. When HR is needed to navigate and guide through differences in culture, religion, and social upbringing, it can spell disaster if it’s not handled correctly.

Recommended Reading: Unleashing the Power of Diversity: How to Open Minds for Good, by Bjørn Z. Ekelund, provides excellent discourse regarding cultural, social, and even environmental issues that can make or break relationships in the workplace.

By building trust across a multitude of backgrounds and creating a solid, accessible common language to nurture individuals from all walks of life, the HR team can drive a more successful and cooperative workplace.

Challenge #6: Poor company culture

Loneliness at work can be depressing for talent on a personal level. It can also severely impact morale and productivity.

Feeling like one doesn’t belong at work has been shown to negatively affect communication and commitment to the company. In fact, it can even harm teamwork and turnover rates.

Recommended Reading: Rituals for Work: 50 Ways to Create Engagement, Shared Purpose, and a Culture that Can Adapt to Change, by Kursat Ozenc and Margaret Hagan, contains knowledge about creating truly meaningful connections in the workplace. Including real-life examples of creating rituals that bring about healthy habits, creating bonds, and promoting a thriving work culture.

This book breaks each ritual down to make the same reality accessible for your organization’s talent.

Challenge #7: Low productivity and performance

Everyone wants to feel like what they contribute matters. This is particularly true about the workplace where they spend so much time out of their day.

To boost morale and keep talent from daydreaming about running out the door while scrolling through job ads, make sure employees’ hard work and accomplishments don’t go unnoticed.

Recommended Reading: Belonging At Work: Cultivate an Inclusive Organization, by Rhodes Perry, focuses on helping the modern HR leader in the workplace to build an inclusive culture that ensures workers genuinely feel seen and valued at work, and that is what they contribute to the company is respected and acknowledged.

A critical aspect of employee engagement and performance hinges on an employee feeling included.

Challenge #8: Managing problems within an HR Team.

Just like any team on the work floor, even if they are adept at helping regulate problems between employees or between workers and management, an HR team can clash among themselves.

HR jobs tend to attract different types of personalities and backgrounds. However, if the HR department is unbalanced internally, it is far more difficult to navigate and guide employee:

  • Wellness
  • Training
  • Recruiting
  • Interpersonal conflict

Recommended Reading: The 9 Faces of HR: A Disruptor’s Guide to Mastering Innovation and Driving Real Change, by Kris Dunn, analyzes nine different personalities typically found within HR departments.

This helps to discover an individual’s driving traits and also paints a complete picture of their strengths and weaknesses. It provides a comprehensive, nuanced understanding of these archetypes. That knowledge helps a diverse HR department approach solutions based on how to access and bring out the best in everyone’s natural strengths.

Challenge #9: Understanding People Operations

As HR continues to evolve, People Operations, sometimes called People Ops, is the newest role in town. And this position has one job—to put employees first.

Many tasks overlap within HR. This specified role is so new that many HR professionals are still adjusting to what it entails.

Recommended Reading: People Operations: Automate HR, Design a Great Employee Experience, and Unleash Your Workforce, by Jay Fulcher, Tracy Cote, and Kevin Marasco, is your ultimate guide to this new role.

More than just skimming over general principles of human capital management, People Operations delves deep into the new nature of work, including remote workforces, automation technology, and more.

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