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Employee Engagement Books: 6 Life Changing Reads for HR

April 19, 2019 by Aley Brown

If you are an HR professional in the modern era, I would bet a thousand dollars that you’re strategy includes focusing on employee engagement. (But don’t hold me to that bet, I don’t want to go broke!)

And because of this, you probably need to do some research about employee engagement. Maybe to get you pumped up about your strategy, to create an action plan, or even to gain information to use as a supporting argument to your CEO about why you should focus on employee engagement.

This is where a good book comes in handy.

But before we get started with sharing our favorite employee engagement books, let’s talk a little bit about what employee engagement actually is.

What Is Employee Engagement?

While some companies choose to specifically focus on other areas of human resources, such as leadership development, culture, or even performance, other organization create a broader HR strategy focusing on employee engagement as whole. This is because no other area encompasses as many different functions as employee engagement.

Employee engagement strategies include leadership development, culture, performance, and many different areas of human resources. So, by focusing on your employee engagement, you actually improve all of these other smaller areas of the HR puzzle.

So, now that we are all clear about what the term employee engagement actually means, let’s get into our favorite books about it.

1. Employee Engagement for Dummies by Bob Kelleher

If you are a seasoned human resources professional, this might be a little bit too “HR 101” for you. But, if you are just getting started, this is a great way to learn the foundations of employee engagement.

Employee Engagement books

Here is a summary of the book:

“Today more than ever, companies and leaders need a road map to help them boost employee engagement levels. Employee Engagement For Dummies helps employers implement the necessary plans to create and sustain an engaging culture, allowing them to attract and retain the best people while boosting their productivity and creativity.

Employee Engagement For Dummies helps you foster employee engagement, a concept that furthers an organization’s interests through ensuring that employees remain involved in, committed to, and fulfilled by their work. It covers: practical steps to boost employee engagement with your company or team; how to engage different generations of employees; the keys to reduce voluntary employee turnover; practical tools to help retain and engage your employees; processes that will boost employee retention and productivity; hiring the best fits from the start; and much more.”

2. Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT by Paul L. Marciano

With over 200 customer reviews, this book is a go to employee engagement guide for pretty much every HR professional in the world.

Employee Engagement books

Here is a preview:

“Reward and recognition programs can be costly and inefficient, and they primarily reward employees who are already highly engaged and productive performers. Worse still, these programs actually decrease employee motivation because they can make individual recognition, rather than the overall success of the team, the goal. Yet many businesses turn to these measures first―unaware of a better alternative. So, when it comes to changing your organizational culture, carrots and sticks don’t work!

What does work is Dr. Paul Marciano’s acclaimed RESPECT model, which gives you specific, low-cost, turnkey solutions and action plans– based on seven key drivers of employee engagement that are proven and supported by decades of research and practice―that will empower you to assess, troubleshoot, and resolve engagement issues in the workplace:

  1. Recognition and acknowledgment of employees’ contributions
  2. Empowerment via tools, resources, and information that set employees up to succeed
  3. Supportive feedback through ongoing performance coaching and mentoring
  4. Partnering to encourage and foster collaborative working relationships
  5. Expectations that set clear, challenging, and attainable performance goals
  6. Consideration that lets employees know that they are cared about
  7. Trust in your employees’ abilities, skills, and judgment

Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work delivers the same proven resources and techniques that have enabled trainers, executives, managers, and owners at operations ranging from branches of the United States government to Fortune 500 corporations to twenty-person outfits to realize demonstrable gains in employee productivity and job satisfaction.

When you give a little RESPECT you get a more effective organization, with reduced turnover and absenteeism and employees at all levels who are engaged, focused, and committed to succeed as a team. In short, you get maximum ROI from your organization’s most powerful resource: its people!”

3. Build It: The Rebel Playbook for World-Class Employee Engagement by Glenn Elliott

Patty McCord, the former CHRO of Netflix, quoted this book as: “Practical, thoughtful, logical advice and examples for building a high-performance culture. This is a terrific playbook by and for fellow rebels all over the world.”

Employee Engagement books

Check out the preview below:

“The old way of treating people at work has failed. Only 30% of employees are engaged in their jobs, and in this fast-paced world that’s just not enough. The world’s best companies understand this, and have been quietly treating people differently for nearly two decades.

Now you can learn their secrets and discover The Engagement Bridge™ model, proven to build bottom line value for companies through sustainable employee engagement.

Companies with the best cultures generate stock market returns of twice the general market and enjoy half the employee turnover of their peers. Their staff innovate more, deliver better customer service and, hands-down, beat the competition. These companies outperform and disrupt their markets. They break the rules of traditional HR, they rebel against the status quo.

Build it has found these rebels and the rule-breakers. From small startups to global powerhouses, this book shows that courage, commitment and a people-centric mindset, rather than money and resources, are what you need to turn an average business into a category leader.

The book follows the clear and proven Engagement Bridge™ model, developed from working with thousands of leading companies worldwide on their own employee engagement journeys. The practical model highlights the areas that leaders need to examine in order to build a highly engaged company culture and provides a framework for success.”

4. We: How to Increase Performance and Profits through Full Engagement by Rudy Karsan

If you are looking for inspirational stories about HR on every other page, this book isn’t for you. But if you are looking for tactical information, worksheets, surveys, and hands on advice you can implement immediately, this is the book for you!

Employee Engagement books

Learn more:

“What if every single employee-every single one-worked in their dream job, utilized their best talents, worked with an inspirational leader and was fully engaged in their role?

For companies, this scenario leads to breakthroughs in productivity, customer service, profitability, and shareholder value. For individuals, it means better health, stronger relationships with family and friends, and greater happiness. We sketches the landscape of today’s changing job environment and gives managers and individual employees alike a road map to full engagement.

  • Anchored with specific metrics, based on studies of 10 million people, includes engagement, retention, customer loyalty, and profitability
  • Scientific research and academic insights are translated into actionable steps
  • Authors have extensive experience in cutting-edge human resources solutions

Achieve breakthrough results for yourself and your organization with the power of full engagement from We.”

5. 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees: Help People Do Better What They Do Best by Bob Nelson

Inc magazine said about this book: “[S]hare these ideas with key members of your company. Together, select a half-dozen ideas that resonate with all of you. Next, devise a plan to systematically implement these. And watch your company grow both in profitability and as a great place to work.”

Employee Engagement books

Here is a sneak peek:

“Employee engagement has been consistently cited as a top and growing priority by CEOs, managers, and human resources leaders across the country. This new title from bestselling author Dr. Bob Nelson will help move any organization from just measuring the need to engage employees to actually changing management behaviors that will lead to a stronger culture of engagement. Your organization will become more effective at both attracting and retaining talent and maximizing the contribution of your employees.

1,001 Ways to Engage Employees:

  • Categorizes specific research-based factors proven to impact employee engagement.
  • Cites hundreds of examples of what other companies are doing to enhance employee engagement—ideas you can use right now.
  • Offers practical insights and advice from hundreds of clients Dr. Bob has worked with.
  • Highlights the key research on employee engagement you need to know and use.
  • Is the only resource on the market that guarantees behavioral change on the part of your leaders that will deliver desired results.”

6. Building a Magnetic Culture: How to Attract and Retain Top Talent to Create an Engaged, Productive Workforce by Kevin Sheridan

This book has great review, and people rave about all of the great data and case studies in the book to help inspire people to get started at their own organizations.

Employee Engagement books

Here’s a quick snippet to give you a taste:

“The perils of a disengaged workforce are well known―low productivity, high employee turnover, and failure to meet organization-wide goals. Less well known is what to do about it. How do you create a workforce that is always ready, able, and eager to take the organization to the next level?

You have to create a MAGNETIC CULTURE.

As CEO of leading employee survey and HR consulting firm HR Solutions, Inc., Kevin Sheridan knows how it’s done―and in Building a Magnetic Culture, he shares all his secrets.

Building a Magnetic Culture explains what engages and motivates employees and how to create an environment in which employees can thrive. Drawing on years of research and real-world examples from his consulting experience, Sheridan gives you the strategies and tactics you need to transform your company by creating and sustaining a Magnetic Culture.”

The Final Takeaways

Whether you are an employee engagement newbie or a seasoned HR professional, this list of employee engagement books has everything you need to take your strategy to the next level.

Aley Brown

Aley Brown

Aley is a versatile global business leader with proven experience managing high-performing teams and engaging a data-driven approach to strategies that exceed company objectives.

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