We’ve rounded up a list of the best HR books every HR leader should read in 2023.
HR leaders are facing more challenges than ever when it comes to building a strong culture, employee burnout, seasonal stress and supporting a dispersed workforce. The workplace looks and feels different, and the relationship between employees and employers has evolved.
These inspiring reads are the inspiration every HR leader needs right now. From the secrets of extraordinarily successful groups to unleashing the power of diversity — dive into the must-reads from market thought leaders, industry experts and organizational psychologists.
Best new and noteworthy books for HR leaders
As an HR professional, you’re responsible for keeping your team of employees happy and productive. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, these two books can help you lead your team in the right direction.
You don’t need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to building a high-performance culture. Examine the critical art of team building and the proven approach from co-authors Phillip Sandahl and Alexis Phillips. Teams Unleashed is a great go-to resource for anyone who works with or leads teams and needs tips, exercises and activities for navigating change management to respond to the new status quo.
Popular Peloton instructor Tunde Oyeneyin’s new book, Speak, “takes us through lessons about loss, love, body image, and how she has successfully created an intentional, joyful life for herself.” If you’re feeling stuck, this uplifting read shares a unique perspective that will inspire you to reassess your priorities and practice resilience.
The best HR strategy books for 2023 are the ones that can help you establish a winning business strategy. Use this list to learn from the most successful people in the HR industry, and apply their insights to your own business.
Let’s face it, HR needed disruption — and Lars Schmidt will help you transform the future of this ever-changing industry. Perfect for executives, managers and human resource professionals, Redefining HR provides a powerful framework, rooted in real-life stories from Chief People Officers and HR executives, for how to motivate employees, develop high-performing teams, and use data to improve company culture.
The war for talent isn’t over but Laszlo Block, former head of People Operations at Google, provides a blueprint for how to attract the best people. He simplifies “15 years of intensive worker research and development into principles you can easily put into action, whether you are a team of one or a team of thousands.” This book is meant for HR practitioners who want to understand how business analytics and human psychology are integral to the future of recruiting.
How do you instill deep trust and commitment between an employee and a company? A popular and highly rated read, Leaders Eat Last dives into what Sinek calls the “Circle of Safety” to help workplaces, leaders and employees foster trust and cooperation.
An HR professional’s life is full of change and challenges but that’s what it means to be human. Unfortunately, HR has been dehumanized over the last decade. This book is designed to help you connect the dots across HR to find more fulfillment at work and create an enjoyable work environment for your people.
One-size-fits-all never works with humans. If you’re looking to explore and experiment with HR practices, this book is an essential guide for HR leaders wanting to improve and modernize their practices with an agile philosophy. Agile HR covers every aspect of the HR function to explain key concepts and give ideas on how to transform the workplace.
Best books for how to improve culture at work and retain employees
It’s no secret that a positive company culture is important for attracting and retaining top talent. But if you’re not sure where to start, or how to build one from the ground up, these books are a great place to begin.
Building and sustaining culture takes work. Author Daniel Coyle takes a look inside some of the world’s most successful organizations to reveal what makes them “tick.” No matter the size of your team, company or goal, The Culture Code can teach you the “cultural chemistry that transform individuals into teams that can accomplish amazing things together.”
A real company understands that employees are human beings. And with that, comes navigating and building relationships. Grab this book to better understand how by “bringing your human to work, you can design a workplace that is good for people, great for business, and just might change the world.”
Patti Perez isn’t just an author, she’s an attorney, HR expert, and former state regulator who has conducted over 1,200 workplace investigations. Perez shares practical tools that will help your employees feel valued and motivated and keep drama, disengagement and lawsuits away. This book will teach you how to anticipate situations and prevent problematic scenarios, which ultimately helps you maintain a healthy workplace culture.
Dr. Edmondson coined the term “psychological safety,” which means the absence of interpersonal fear. This book equips you with innovative ideas and practices to maximize organizational performance and reminds us that the role of a leader is to create an environment where both productivity and morale are high. If you appreciate scenario-based explanations paired with a clear path forward, this will be an easy framework to digest.
Recruitment shouldn’t be measured by re-offers accepted but instead Lou writes, “the paradigm-shifting of not declaring hiring success until the first-year anniversary date rather than the start date is the game-changer.” The core concepts in this book are presented with clear visuals that are guaranteed to up-level your hiring game.
Best books for how to improve diversity and inclusion at work
One of the biggest challenges for leaders today is how to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. Diversity and inclusion are about more than just recruiting and hiring diverse talent — it’s about creating cultures where everyone can thrive.
The good news is that there are plenty of resources available to help leaders navigate this important issue. Here are a few books we recommend:
“Business leaders know that their only true competitive differentiator is their people. Knowing how to transform from traditional HR practices to an employee experience set of approaches means disrupting status quos without adversely impacting business outcomes. People Operations explains why the shift is important and provides the practical insights and tools that small business leaders can use to transform how their people experience work without risking business results.” —Patti Fletcher, CMO, Limeade
This is an easy to digest framework for moving away from traditional HR and into people operations. Fulcher advocates for less time on HR administration duties—”paperwork”—and start focusing on the “peoplework” that truly fuels employee growth and productivity.
I Never Thought of It That Way is a timely book for anyone looking to bridge the gaps in understanding in their professional and personal relationships. In a time of fake news, social media, political divide, and cancel culture, Guzman champions for empathy and curiosity. You’ll love this honest, comical, and surprising guide to help you take immediate action for better understanding.
At Limeade we know that people power your business, so of course we champion for your number one competitive advantage – your people. Bacon’s book is not your traditional HR book but instead a blueprint for fostering community: “People Powered pulls together over 20 years of pragmatic experience into a clear, simple methodology and blueprint to not just answer these questions but deliver results.”
Ruchika is an author, speaker, and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) consultant with an urgent message about the “I” in DEI – inclusion must be intentional! She offers six strategies for turning empathy into action — be uncomfortable, reflect on what you don’t know, invite feedback, limit defensiveness, grow from your mistakes, and expect change to take time. She recommends placing women of color at the center of your strategy and remembering that inclusion takes awareness, intention, and persistent action.
This visionary book serves as a blueprint for cultivating inclusion in the workplace — and will challenge your assumptions to help you think about the environment we live and work in today. Emphasizing the need for employees to be their true selves at work, Perry shares “when we focus our attention on what we want, we not only shift our perspective, but we begin building a movement for other people and organizations to join us in imagining what could be possible.”
So there you have it — the best HR books every HR leader should read in 2023
As we move forward into a new year full of challenges, struggles and successes, let these books be your guide as you navigate the uncharted waters of the modern workplace. You’ll find inspiration; you’ll gain insight; and you’ll come away with a better understanding of how to build a culture that makes your employees feel valued, respected and appreciated.