ProjectHR Anniversary Celebration: A Round-Up Of Top HR Books We Loved this Year

It’s official, we’ve surpassed the second anniversary for the ProjectHR podcast! We couldn’t be more thrilled to have had amazing guests this season, and among all of these guests were a number of authors with books we just have to brag about. Without further ado, here is our second official round-up of top HR books we have loved on this season of ProjectHR. Don’t forget to subscribe to ProjectHR wherever you get your podcasts. We have a new episode each week, complete with all you need to know about Human Resources, leadership, workplace wellness, positive workplace culture, and more!

We can’t really pick a favorite, so we’re going to list this season of top HR books we’ve loved in order that their authors appeared on our podcast. We hope this will inspire you to dive in and expand your knowledge and know-how, while being inspired to implement some new techniques in your own place of work.

  1. Unquittable: Finding & Keeping the Talent You Need by Jim Bitterle. We kick off our second annual round-up of our favorite books with this excellent read from Jim Bitterle, who we have enjoyed talking to so much that he’s been on two podcast episodes: check them out, here and here! Coming from his work helping hundreds of companies become more talent-minded. This book can help organizations of any size “deliver extraordinary bottom-line improvements with relatively little up-front investment.” A goal for the creation of the book is for people to avoid making the same mistakes that companies have made in the past and to become better by learning how to avoid those mistakes.
  1. Brant Menswar - Black Sheep: Unleash the Extraordinary, Awe-Inspiring, Undiscovered You. In this book, motivational speaker and founder and CEO of Rock Star Impact, Brant Menswar, shows you how to unleash your own black sheep―the five core values that make you who you are―to empower your life. While talking with Brant, he shared how to identify your non-negotiable, personal core values; and additionally, discover your purpose!
  2. Rebecca Reid - Rude: Stop Being Nice and Start Being Bold. This witty book from Rebecca is described as a “timely, intelligent, and entertaining exploration of why ambitious women are often perceived as rude and how the power of rudeness can be harnessed in relationships, in bed, at work, and in everyday life.” Our podcast episode with Rebecca explored how "positive rudeness" and assertiveness in the workplace contribute to a more respectful workplace! You don’t want to miss out on this episode or this awesome book.
  3. David Liddle - Managing Conflict: A Practical Guide to Resolution in the Workplace. This book is “an essential guide for HR professionals needing to tackle these problems by not only resolving current issues, but also preventing future instances of conflict.” David, who is a thought leader in the areas of Organizational Dynamics, conflict resolution and Transformational Culture, discussed with us in a two-part episode the costs of conflict, the ways conflict can have a positive impact, and how to redesign conflict management in your workplace.
  4. Leslie Ehm - Swagger: Unleash Everything You Are and Become Everything You Want. If you’ve ever wondered why some people are “magnetic, confident in their abilities, in charge of their own destinies, and utterly at ease in their own skin?” Leslie, President and Chief Fire Starter at Combustion Training, would tell you that it’s all about one word: Swagger. In her podcast episode, she explains “swagger” for us in a whole new way, redefining it to mean something far more valuable. She talked to us about swagger blockers and drivers, and the truth behind “fake it ‘til you make it.” Her book is for anyone who struggles with feeling inadequate, so they can stop the negative self-talk cycle and unlock their new mindset.
  5. Elayne Fluker - Get Over 'I Got It': How to Stop Playing Superwoman, Get Support, and Remember that Having It All Doesn’t Mean Doing It All Alone. This book is based around the mindset that many, and particularly many women, believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness, ignorance, or incompetence. Instead of asking for the help that they really need, they proclaim “I got it,” instead. Author and podcaster, Elayne, discusses in our podcast interview what “I got it” syndrome really is, as well as some of the ways you can make space in your life for support. If you’re someone who struggles with asking for help (even when you really could use it!) this book is for you.
  6. Patti Temple Rocks - I'm Not Done: It's Time to Talk About Ageism in the Workplace. In this book, Patti takes a deep dive into ageism in the workplace. She covers what it looks like, how it harms people and businesses alike, and how business leaders can get on the right side of the issue. Ageism is real, and it is a form of discrimination that still exists in the workplace, and is systemically ignored in our society. We discussed with Patti what ageism is and how the right training can help to address it on this podcast episode. While it’s often unintentional, it doesn’t make it any less hurtful to those experiencing it. This book can help any and all diverse workforces!
  7. The Morning Huddle - Powerful Customer Experience Conversations to Wake You Up, Shake You Up and Win More Business! From David Avrin. Customer Experience is all about perception, including everything from how your customers are perceiving the way your company treats you, and how those perceptions affect their behaviors and drive their loyalty. Our discussion with David covered the importance of conversation in creating the customer experience, along with a few of his favorite conversation starters! In David’s book, each new chapter is a conversation starter, and will “challenge your assumptions of what your customers, clients and constituents want, need and expect from you.”
  1. Gabrielle Dolan - Magnetic Stories: Connect with Customers and Engage Employees with Brand Storytelling. Author and thought leader Gabrielle Dolan joined ProjectHR to talk about the power of Brand Storytelling, which is crafting a narrative that connects you with your customers and employees on the basis of shared values. This book is a great guide on how to develop and communicate your own brand stories to connect and engage people with your brand.
  1. The Whole-Person Workplace: Building Better Workplaces through Work-Life, Wellness, and Employee Support by Dr. Scott Behson. After a tumultuous 2020 and into 2021, Dr. Behson’s book details how, in the wake of the pandemic, employers can become more supportive of their workforce and to build a more compassionate and productive workplace! He joined the podcast to explain what makes a “whole-person” workplace, along with the benefits that compassionate and supportive leadership can have at work. This book is "highly recommended for CEOs, HR professionals, and any manager looking to attract, engage and retain first-rate talent."
  2. Perry Timms - Transformational HR: How Human Resources Can Create Value and Impact Business Strategy (2nd Edition). We were excited to have Perry as a guest on ProjectHR after he proposed a fix to the ongoing problem of HR professionals being underpaid, overlooked, and undervalued with his book, Transformational HR. This book is a practical guide that “provides tools and advice for HR professionals aspiring to become more responsive, forward-thinking and impact-led.” A great resource for anyone working in the HR field!
  1. The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It by Jennifer Moss. Award-winning journalist, syndicated radio columnist, author, and workplace well-being expert, Jennifer Moss, joined us on the ProjectHR podcast to talk about a term we are all too familiar with, especially since 2020: burnout. She covered how to build an anti-burnout strategy in your own workplace, along with the causes and consequences of burnout. Her book offers readers “insightful and actionable advice that will empower them to help themselves—and their employees—feel healthier and happier at work.” It’s a must-read for anyone who has experienced burnout at work!
  1. Steve Browne - HR Rising!!: From Ownership to Leadership. Steve, Chief People Officer at LaRosa's Pizzeria, joined us on ProjectHR to discuss not only the global importance of HR but the expanding role of Human Resources as well. We also talked about the value of connection and how important it is to take time to enjoy what we do! His book shows “what a powerful global force the HR profession can be for bringing about meaningful change in the workplace, and challenges practitioners to examine what HR is really doing to improve our organizations, our people, and ourselves.”
  2. Stacey Harris - Introduction to HR Technologies: Understand How to Use Technology to Improve Performance and Processes. We deeply enjoyed chatting with Stacey, Chief Research Officer and Managing Partner at Sapient Insights Group, on the ProjectHR podcast on this episode. Not only did we dive into what HR Technology really is, but the true value of HR tech and why it’s important to take a look at previous technologies. Her book is a great resource for anyone in the industry, and also provides a holistic view of the HR tech market in a practical way that anyone can understand!
  3. The Savage Leader: 13 Principles to Become a Better Leader from the Inside Out by Darren Reinke. Darren is the Founder and Managing Director of executive coaching and training company Group Sixty. He joined us on the podcast and helped explain the opportunity and responsibility of mentorship, along with 13 principles you can use to be what he calls a “savage leader.” Darren’s book will will give you the practical and actionable tips you need, while inspiring you to reach your full leadership potential, no matter where you may fall on the leadership spectrum.

Have you already read one or more of these top HR books? Which one will you be diving into next? Don't forget to subscribe to ProjectHR wherever you get your podcasts, and you can stay up-to-date with the latest episodes and check out all the featured books!

Books We Loved - 2020

At Projections, we've had the pleasure of interviewing many incredible guests over the last year. Not only that, we're thrilled to be able to celebrate our podcast, ProjectHR, that has officially been pumping out episodes with these guests for a whole year! Among these guests, there have been many authors with books we loved so much; we wanted to share! The following is a list of the top HR books we've mentioned on our ProjectHR podcast this last year.

We're going to shout out each author we've been able to interview along with their books and why we think you'll love them too! Whether you're a Human Resources professional looking to expand the books in your arsenal, or a leader who wants to build their team morale and boost employee engagement and retention, you'll find value in each of these books, just like we did!

  1. The Insider's Guide To Culture Change: Creating a Workplace The Delivers, Grows, and Adapts - by our guest speaker, Siobhan McHale. We enjoyed chatting with Siobhan, a company culture expert, about the importance of culture and how culture is one of the least understood topics in the workforce. We discussed the importance of culture change and how culture can apply to any aspect of how a business functions. Are cultures set in stone? Of course, we also discussed her incredible book! The Insider's Guide to Culture Change walks readers through McHale's four-step process to culture transformation, including how to:
  •  Understand what "corporate culture" really is and how it impacts every aspect of the way your organization operates
  • Analyze where your culture is broken or not adding maximum value
  • Unlock the power of reframing roles within your company to empower and engage your employees
  • Utilize proven methods and tools to break through deeply embedded patterns and change your company mind-set
  • Keep the momentum going by consolidating gains and maintaining your foot on the change accelerator.

2. The Millennial Whisperer by Chris Tuff. This book is incredible because Chris puts into context "the ways Millennials differ from previous generations and shares practical steps companies and leaders can take to immediately boost productivity without building an office full of ping pong tables, beer kegs, and participation trophies." Not only is his book incredible, our podcast episode included a free digital download of it for listeners! This book is perfect for leaders who are struggling to close the generational gap and need ideas for how to motivate today's largest workforce! Don't forget to check out our interview with Chris here!

3. Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success by John Eades. We had such a fun time talking to John about some of the leadership principles he discusses in his book! This was an enlightening conversation, so don't miss the podcast episode! His book is so beneficial to anyone who needs to identify their current leadership style and wants to develop the skills of others by understanding the "4 Stages of Role Development"! John's words, "Leadership is about empowering, inspiring, and serving in order to elevate others over an extended period of time. You are the perfect person to live this out every day." are inspiring and motivating for leaders at any level!

4. Align: Four Simple Steps for Leaders to Create Employee Fulfillment Through Alignment Leadership - Chris Meroff really made us think when he said, "I will always reward excellent failures and punish mediocre success." But this is the basis of his book, Align: leaders will learn to create alignment within their organization and develop a culture built on employee fulfillment. We had a great time interviewing Chris, and talked about eliminating uncertainty in the workplace and helping everyone find their pathways to success. USA Today and Wall Street Journal BestSeller, Align, is a fantastic read for "transforming the way leaders lead and renewing their self-confidence."

5. Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams - In Dr. Stefanie K Johnson's book, she explains what it means to "Inclusify" and how it can strengthen any business. "Inclusifying—unlike "diversifying" or "including"— implies a continuous, sustained effort towards helping diverse teams feel engaged, empowered, accepted, and valued." We talked with Dr. Johnson about how uniqueness and belonging are both important in your workplace, along with some of the common pitfalls that leaders experience.

6. Transformative Conversations: The heart of the leadership journey - Dr. Ada Luiz Gonzalez wrote this book, which is an excellent resource for leaders who are working to improve their leadership skills. Dr. Gonzalez is the owner of Transformative Conversations, a consultancy committed to helping organizations facilitate change, development, and growth through dialogue. We talked with her on our podcast about the cost of poor communication and how you can design a dialogue that can lead to transformative change!

7. The Inside Gig: How Sharing Untapped Talent Across Boundaries Unleashes Organizational Capacity - the premise behind Dr. Edie Goldberg's book is: what if the talent you're seeking to hire is already on your company's payroll but going untapped? She believes "the future belongs to companies that can access and deploy talent quickly and efficiently." This book is great for anyone who needs to uncover hidden skills in their workforce and optimize and energize their workforce, and we discussed a lot of this in our interview with her!

8. Transforming Change Management: Change or Be Changed - Disrupt or Be Disrupted - This e-book from Dr. Mark Rogers, CEO of Insights Without Borders, is all about leading change leadership in your organization. As Dr. Rogers explains, "How do we accept the fact that we're out of control and get at peace with the fact that we can't control 'control'? We can choose how we respond and the actions that we take, personally, to deal with what's coming at us, and that gives us the control."

9. What's Your Problem? To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change The Problems You Solve - Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg wrote this book that we love because it presents a simple, three-step method - Frame, Reframe, Move Forward - that anyone can use to start solving the right problems! We had an excellent conversation with Thomas and discussed how our biggest challenge might not be in finding better solutions but rather in better defining the problems we face.

10. 101 Costly HR Mistakes: and how to fix them before it's too late! - After consulting with thousands of employers, Vanessa G. Nelson discovered a pattern of costly HR mistakes. The mistakes often led to "expensive lawsuits, low employee morale, high-priced non-compliance fees/penalties, hurt profits, and damaged reputations." This is one of the top HR books and an excellent resource for HR professionals to avoid fees and penalties and learn from other businesses!

11. Recruiting Sucks...But It Doesn't Have To: Breaking Through the Myths That Got Us Here - Steve Lowisz shares a groundbreaking approach to attracting, developing, and retaining an accomplished and vibrant workforce. Our interview with Steve included how to break the recruitment myths that have locked us into our current process, what Results-Based Interviewing is, and how it can help! This book would be perfect for anyone that wants to know "how to prioritize behavior over skills, look beyond LinkedIn, be a marketer, find real ways to inspire employees, take responsibility, avoid reliance on technology, embrace diversity, and more!"

12. Courageous Cultures - Karin Hurt and David Dye share how having a courageous culture is your competitive advantage, and in this book, you'll learn practical tools to uncover, leverage, and scale the best ideas from every level of your organization!

13. The Arsonist in the Office by Pete Havel is "your survival guide for enduring the toxic workplace (and toxic people) and a call to action for a bold new approach to addressing tough issues." In our interview with Pete, we discussed ways we can all protect ourselves against toxic work cultures and the "arsonists" in our workplaces! This book is an excellent resource for protecting your workplace culture.

14. Feedback and other Dirty Words Co-authors M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Grealish explain "how feedback got such a bad rap and how to recognize and minimize the negative physical and emotional responses that can erode trust and shut down communication." M. Tamra Chandler was a guest on our podcast this year, and we chatted about the value of developmental (versus evaluative) feedback; and why feedback is the "secret sauce" to increasing a leader's effectiveness!

15. Unstuck by Craig Lemasters starts with Craig's personal experience as CEO of a Fortune 500 subsidiary, and through his story "reveals practical ways to tap into the wisdom of other people to solve problems." In Unstuck, you'll learn why we get stuck, how to identify it in your own work, and new ways to engage with people to craft workable solutions! On ProjectHR, we talked with Craig about how COVID-19 has impacted our tendency to become stuck and some steps to help your organization get unstuck!

16. Intentional Integrity In this book, author Robert Chesnut offers a six-step process for leaders to foster and manage a culture of integrity at work. He explains the rationale and legal context for the ethics and practices and presents scenarios to illuminate the nuances of thinking deeply and objectively about workplace culture. 

Which of these top HR books have you already enjoyed? 

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