9 Books That Will Make You a Better Workplace Leader in 2019

by Elizabeth Dukes on December 10, 2018

As you think about your priorities for the coming year, improving your workplace and your employee experience should be at the top of the list.

It’s a tall order, but we know you’re up for the challenge—and you don’t have to do it alone.

There are plenty of workplace leaders who have traveled this road before. They’ve studied some of the world’s most successful companies or worked there themselves. They’ve literally written the book on this. If you need some inspiration, here are nine books that should be required reading for every workplace leader.

1. The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate (Jacob Morgan)

You probably already know Jacob Morgan as one of the premier experts on the employee experience and the modern workplace. In his third book, The Employee Experience Advantage, Morgan takes a deep dive into the three environments that make up the employee experience: cultural, technological and physical.

He outlines how workplace leaders can objectively evaluate their organization’s employee experience and design an agile environment that inspires innovation, attracts and retains top talent and engages the workforce.

The book is essential for workplace leaders seeking to hire more talented people and improve employee retention.

2. The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees (Jeanne Meister)

The war for top talent isn’t going to get any less competitive. That means as a workplace leader, you need to do everything in your power to create a workplace that blows your rivals out of the water.

In The Future Workplace Experience, Jeanne Meister illustrates how workplace leaders can create an agile, employee-centric workplace where technology is used as both an enabler and a disruptor. She explains how to leverage the strengths of the multi-generational workforce and embrace the workplace of the future today.

The book doesn’t predict the future but helps workplace leaders prepare for many different possibilities so they can stay ahead of the curve.

3. The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees—and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line (Leigh Stringer)

Promoting a healthy work environment doesn’t start and end with putting a fruit basket in the break room. Taking a page from the playbooks of companies like Google, Apple and Aetna, Leigh Stringer discusses the most impactful ways to improve employee health and wellbeing in the workplace.

In The Healthy Workplace, workplace leaders will learn how to decrease absenteeism and increase productivity by building an office focused on reducing stress, inspiring movement and energizing the workforce.

This book brings a unique perspective that combines design, health and wellbeing, and its timing is perfect for the changing workplace.

(P.S. —Check out Leigh’s recent interview on our own Workplace Innovator Podcast, where she discusses outdoor coworking spaces and biophilia.)

4. The Elemental Workplace: The 12 Elements for Creating a Fantastic Workplace for Everyone (Neil Usher)

In Neil Usher’s opinion, everyone deserves a fantastic workplace and no one should have to put up with a mediocre office. That’s why he wrote The Elemental Workplace.

His candid, down-to-earth guide demonstrates how to use a simple framework to build a work environment that supports education, professional development and collaboration in organizations of all sizes. The assessment at the end of the book is helpful for workplace leaders who want to evaluate their real estate from an objective perspective.

5. The Healthy Workplace Nudge: How Healthy People, Culture, and Buildings Lead to High Performance (Rex Miller)

The average annual premium for an employer-sponsored family health plan is now over $19,000. And since year-over-year increases have been consistently around 3 percent, by 2025, employers can expect to pay almost $25,000. This doesn’t even take into account revenue lost through employees taking time off for illness.

Using research from 100 large organizations, Rex Miller explains five ways workplace leaders can create healthy cultures that are sustainable and cost-effective in his book, The Healthy Workplace Nudge. He discusses how to take a better approach to employee wellness programs and also explores the positive impact healthy buildings can have on performance and employee engagement.

(Rex is also a Workplace Innovator Podcast alum! Listen to his conversation with Mike Petrusky about healthy workplaces.)

6. If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement (Jill Christensen)

Despite knowing that high employee engagement is critical for long-term success, many company leaders delegate the responsibility of improving company culture to the HR department. In If Not You, Who?, best-selling author Jill Christensen examines the underlying problem with employee engagement: a lack of support from senior leadership.

Christensen lists the four principles and four leadership traits workplace leaders must incorporate into their daily routine to improve employee engagement and performance.

(For more advice on inspiring positive change in your organization, check out Jill’s interview on the Workplace Innovator Podcast.)

7. Culture Hacker: Reprogramming Your Employee Experience to Improve Customer Service, Retention, and Performance (Shane Green)

Every company has a culture, whether or not workplace leaders are paying attention to it. The question is, does that culture support a positive employee experience and, in turn, a positive customer experience?

World-renowned business consultant Shane Green wants to provide the tools workplace leaders need to make sure the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!”

In Culture Hacker, Green offers 12 “hacks” that empower you to improve your workplace culture and create an employee experience that supports the success of the multi-generational workforce. He draws upon his experience working at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and helping brands like the NBA, Cisco, and BMW to create loyal customers and raving fans.

8. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility (Patty McCord)

As the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, Patty McCord knows what it takes to recruit and motivate a team of high-performers. In Powerful, McCord eschews traditional corporate approaches to engagement and shares how radical honesty and challenging work are the actual secrets to creating a culture of motivation and innovation.

McCord writes with a distinctive voice that is both humorous and sarcastic, but always authentic.

9. Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve (Whitney Johnson)

If there’s one thing Whitney Johnson hates, it’s using one-size-fits-all management techniques. And if there’s another, it’s taking a “set it and forget it” approach to an employee’s professional development. According to Johnson, the key to engaging your employees and ensuring they grow along with the company is to give them ample opportunities to use the skills they have now and learn the skills they’ll need in the future. In Build an A-Team, Johnson outlines how best to evaluate where your employees are, where they need to be and how you can get them there.

What titles would you add to this list? Give us a shout on Facebook or Tweet at us to let us know!


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5