15 must read books HR and benefits professionals can't put down

summer reading

Summer is here and if you are looking for a good book to take with you on vacation or to curl up with at home, we’ve compiled a list of some industry insiders’ favorite reads. From titles on wellness programs to workplace culture, HR and benefits professionals have their noses in a variety of books.

Did we miss one of your favorite books? Do you have a recommendation for our editors to check out? Let us know on social media and tag us using @EBNbenefitnews or @EBAadvisernews. Happy reading!

David Contorno, founder and CEO, benefit consulting firm E Powered Benefits
“Unaccountable” by Dr. Marty Makary
Contorno says, “If you ever wondered why our healthcare and health systems continue to decline in quality and increase in cost, this will tell you part of the tale. Our perception of our healthcare system is much different than the reality, this book will help you understand why.”
Dr. Steven Rogelberg, author and professor of management, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
“How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie
Rogelberg says, “I find this to be an excellent treatment of stress and coping. The examples are highly dated (although kinda fun to read from a historical perspective), but the advice is rock solid and highly actionable. I have recommended this book to many, to friends and clients. No one has been disappointed.”
Tal Gilbert, CEO, wellness program provider Vitality Group USA
“Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family” by Bob Chapman
Gilbert says, If more employers embraced Bob Chapman’s mission to truly care about their people, organizations would benefit from improved happiness and wellbeing of their employees.”
Carrie Bartlett, senior client executive, OneDigital Health and Benefits
“Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance and What We Can Do About It” by Jeffrey Pfeffer
Bartlett says, “Are your employees working long hours? Juggling family obligations? Stressed about their finances? Overweight and not exercising? “Dying for a Paycheck” addresses that the relationship between employees and organizations is terribly broken.

Written for any business leader, it provides clear evidence that employers using schemes to maximize a company’s profits, such as low wages, long hours and minimal healthcare benefits, are ineffective. Pfeffer argues that implementing reforms to provide a healthier working environment for employees will benefit the company by increasing engagement, reducing turnover, increasing job productivity. This is a necessary read if you have implemented, or have considered implementing, a worksite wellness program.”
Keith Falk, regional managing director of HR consulting, OneDigital Southern California
“Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead” by Laszlo Bock and “The Culture Code” by Daniel Coyle

Falk says of "Work Rules!", “He was the senior vice president of Google people operations and is regarded as the brightest mind in HR. He has a new HR artificial intelligence company too.”

Falk says of "The Culture Code," “It’s incredible. It features great groups that are really tight and why they are so close-knit. [For example], Navy Seals andNew Zealand All Blacks [rugby team].”
Misty Guinn, director of benefits and wellness, Benefitfocus
“Measure What Matters” by John Doerr
Guinn says, “This is my go-to book this summer. My favorite quote from it is, ‘Ideas are easy. Execution is everything.`` Doerr's methodology of setting objectives and key results, which the book calls ‘OKRs,’ brings my strategies to life. At Benefitfocus, I’ve used this framework on my quest to design a culture and environment that allows our associates’ total well-being to flourish with different programs, products and policies. I can set OKRs based on our organization’s shared vision to achieve this goal and contribute to Benefitfocus’ overall success. The book helps you tell the story of why and how in order to achieve success, which makes it a must read for all benefits professionals.”
Ira Wolfe, president, Success Performance Solutions and TEDx speaker and author
“Artificial Intelligence for HR: Use AI to Support and Develop a Successful Workforce” by Ben Eubanks
Wolfe says, “I picked up a copy of "Artificial Intelligence for HR" t in advance of my presentation "Keeping the Human in HR" at the SHRM conference. Before I got home, half the book was highlighted and pages dog-eared. This is a must read for every HR professional and business executive. Ben does a spectacular job of taking a very complicated subject and making it understandable and easy-to-apply, especially for HR non-techies.”
Rebecca Ray, executive vice president of human capital, The Conference Board
“The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace” by Lindsay Pollack
Ray says, “It’s important that we understand the desires and motivations of all workers and, where there are generational differences, plan accordingly. Lindsay has written a great book to deepen your understanding.”
Theresa Lund, acquisition manager, Glassdoor
“The First 90 Days” by Michael D. Watkins
Lund says, “Many experts have established how critical the first 90 days are in a new job, whether you're early in your career or stepping into a new executive role. First impressions really do matter, and how we establish ourselves within those first 90 days sets the tone for our tenure in a role or at a company. [This book] provides a practical road map on how to start out on the right foot and walk a path that will lead to long-term success. In today's workplace, where our roles evolve and grow faster than ever, this book provides masterful insights into a seamless and successful transition into a new position or job.”
Rod Reasen, co-founder and CEO, Springbuk
“Trillion Dollar Coach” by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle
Reasen says, “[This book] is a must read for any leader or manager. The story of Bill Campbell, a personal coach, and mentor of leaders from Apple and Google encapsulates a combined approach of using tough love with relationship to encourage individuals personal growth. We bought copies for our entire leadership team and look forward to being better coaches through Bill's example.”
Mark Stevens, founder and CEO, the Square and the Triangle Coaching and HR Consulting
“The Square and the Triangle: The Power of Integrating Relationships and Results in Workplace Culture” by Mark Stevens
Stevens says, “This book establishes a simple to understand approach to effective leadership that balances personal awareness and leadership styles. With its focus on relationships and results, it helps people understand their own leadership style and how to put it to greater use.”
Beck Bailey, director of the Workplace Equality Program, the Human Rights Campaign
“Belonging At Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take to Cultivate an Inclusive Organization” by Rhodes Perry
Bailey says, “Rhodes Perry is an important voice on the emerging conversation of belonging at work and what it means to be truly inclusive. This book has practical examples on how we can individually shape an inclusive workplace climate and strengthen the sense of belonging for everyone.”
Michael Thomas, district talent acquisition partner, Lowe's Companies
“Recruiting in the Age of Googlization” by Ira S. Wolfe
Thomas says, “I picked up this book expecting it to explain how to better leverage technology in recruiting and how to create a better candidate experience — it delivered on that and it provided so much more. The book dives into the questions surrounding what the future of work looks like and explains how companies and their leaders will need to prepare for an uncertain future.. Even if you aren't a recruiter, we can all learn something from this book.
Johnny Taylor Jr., president and CEO, the Society for Human Resource Management
“The Price of Pettiness: Bad Behavior in the Workplace and How to Stomp it Out” by Alex Alonso
Taylor says, “Beyond the usual everyday annoyances and exasperations we all experience in the workplace, pettiness limits careers and opportunities on a broad scale and sometimes crosses the line into unquestionably criminal behavior. Based on new SHRM research, this groundbreaking book examines the seemingly limitless depths of workplace pettiness — as well as the remarkable heights of creativity it seems to inspire in people — and delivers proven tools for anyone to spot pettiness and deal with it directly.”