Four Books To Refocus Your HR Management

Four Books To Refocus Your HR Management

Good HR management requires a combination of experience, talent and training; fortunately, it’s possible to improve your own skills and knowledge as a manager without ever leaving your office or living room.

The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems

Bruce Tulgan’s company spent years interviewing HR managers through seminars, focus groups, interviews and surveys to pin down the most common problems they face. They found that 90 percent of the responses reflected 27 fundamental challenges, which range from losing superstar performers to motivating slackers to conflict resolution. He argues, reasonably, that management is harder today than it’s ever been.

“Employment relationships today are far more short-term and fluid than they have been before in the modern economy,” he says. “Change is constantly coming at you from every direction.” He goes on to note how managers and employees alike are increasingly expected to “do more with less.” His book is designed to help HR managers tackle difficult management problems in a way that recognizes the realities of the “real new economy.” Tulgan’s book has a common-sense approach to management, and serves as both an instruction manual and a reference resource.

HR You Can Use! Answers to the Five Issues Keeping Business Owners Up At Night

Lori Kleiman’s book is especially well-suited to small-to-midsize businesses. She points out that organizations with fewer than 200 employees often don’t require – or can’t afford – an HR professional. But splitting HR duties among multiple personnel keeps HR “in a transactional rather than a transformational role.” HR is (or can be) so much more than the sum of its parts, and Kleiman makes this argument beautifully. Her book emphasizes HR practices that drive value, and covers core topics like recruiting, compliance and compensation, with added sections on outsourcing and technology.

Soup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture

Soup is written in an unusual but trendy style: the business fable or allegory. Fictional Nancy, the new CEO of America’s Favorite Soup Company, finds management enlightenment at a local soup joint. The novelized approach makes for a fast read that’s both charming and informative. The book isn’t HR-specific, but the advice will help any corporate leader grow. Author Jon Gordon poses that it’s the relationships between managers and employees that create and foster a culture of success. To that end, his business fable emphasizes principles like building trust, engaging with workers, ensuring “no one eats alone” and providing great service not just to customers but to each other.

“Good leaders say, ‘Watch what I can do,’” Gordon says. “Great leaders say, ‘Let me show you what you can do.’”

HR From The Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of HR

David Ulrich and his coauthors – drawn from the academic and business worlds – outline six core personalities that forward-thinking HR managers must embrace:

  • Strategic positioner
  • Credible activist
  • Capability builder
  • Change champion
  • HR innovator and integrator
  • Technology proponent

The authors argue that real business operates in an external context – in its marketplace and community, among its customers and stakeholders. Those external points of view must be integrated into internal practices. As stated in the book, “[HR managers] must take that outside reality and bring it into everything they do, practicing their craft with an eye to the business as a whole and not just their own department.” The ideas presented are comprehensive and well-researched, and provide an excellent roadmap for readers to develop their own competencies and improve their workplace.