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Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce Report 2023 has concluded that 23% of employees are only engaged at work, conclusively the highest ever recorded. This indicates the need to incorporate employee engagement solutions into the organization to drive growth. Apparently, an employee engagement survey by Gallup has revealed that an engaged employee can show
- Improvement of productivity by 14%
- A 10% increase in customer ratings
- Increase in profitability by 23%
- Lastly, an improvement in organizational participation by 13%.
In addition, according to the employee engagement statistics, 71% of executive managers regard employee engagement as a critical factor for a company’s success. However, building a successful employee engagement program requires building the foundation with the best books.
Some leaders have already discovered such tactics in books. Therefore, this article aims to deliver the must-read titles on employee engagement with reviews from business founders and managers who have picked them for this list.
Top 15 books on employee engagement you must read
Below is a selection of books that will help you engage workers and watch as they grow together with your business.
1. Employalty by Joe Mull
In the era of sky-high turnover rates, how can you engage your workers and prevent them from leaving?
One-word answer: employalty.
It is translated as “employee loyalty” and bottomed on three factors that cultivate work commitment and contribute to employee retention:
- Ideal job
- Great boss
- Meaningful work
Joe Mull nudges you to start an employalty movement in your company and make your workers committed to what they do.
Carlos Barraza, Founder of Carlos Barraza:
“At first, I looked at Employalty with some skepticism. It’s one of the newest employee engagement books released in 2023 and I didn’t expect much from it after reading No More Team Drama published by this author earlier.
But Joe Mull literally helped me kill the myth of the lazy worker, take a more humanized approach to workplace wellness, and enable people-centered employee experiences.”
Where can you get it: Buy “Employalty” from Amazon
2. Armstrong’s Job Evaluation Handbook by Michael Armstrong
Let’s talk about fair compensation.
Pay isn’t just a number. It’s a marker of the employee’s value and one of the critical employee satisfaction factors. Michael Armstrong claims the more fairly you evaluate a job, the more engaged and motivated your employees will be.
Grab the book and learn how to develop a job evaluation scheme for your business and industry, use performance appraisal methods, guarantee pay fairness, and boost engagement.
Raman Shalupau, Founder and CEO of CryptoJobsList:
“Quite often, employers simply pull salary numbers out of the air or, in the last case, from the average statistics. This book shows the right path to job evaluation.
The authors instruct business owners and HRs on how to conduct a computer-aided job analysis, design job descriptions or role profiles, and re-evaluate jobs regularly. His scheme also allows employers to establish fair pay without discriminating against workers due to their race, gender, disability, age, or anything else.”
Where can you get it: Buy “Armstrong’s Job Evaluation Handbook” from Amazon
3. Cultivating Culture by Brad Federman
Nobody can deny that organizational culture is a foundational pillar for employee engagement.
Under the guidance of Brad Federman, you can build a strong company culture and achieve skyrocketing engagement rates. For that, take his course chapter by chapter:
- Developing talents
- Fostering inclusion
- Harmonizing the team
- Looking for solutions
- Prioritizing safety
- Serving customers
Stephan Baldwin, Founder of Assisted Living:
“Brad Federman reminds us that employee engagement starts with a healthy workplace culture. Without it, your business is destined to fail. So, if you’re trying to nurture one, this is a must-read book on employee engagement and corporate wellness. Among other things, it helps put employees’ health and well-being first and take precautions to ensure safety at work.”
Where can you get it: Buy “Cultivating Culture” from Amazon
4. Clone Yourself by Jeff Hilderman
If you think this title got into our list by accident and has nothing to do with employee engagement, you’re mistaken.
This book can empower you as a leader to create an omnipotent cultural gene in your business engine and “implant” this gene into every worker. Jeff Hilderman proves there’s a strong connection between culture and engagement. He also believes organizational vision and corporate values should be more than just words on the wall.
Anthony Martin, Founder and CEO of Choice Mutual:
“You won’t find a more empowering read for business leaders who want to ignite passion in themselves and their employees. It’s a must-read book for open-minded founders and managers struggling to inspire their staff and build the team of their dreams.”
Where can you get it: Buy “Clone Yourself” from Amazon
5. Engaging Virtual Meetings by John Chen
Organizing 400+ virtual meetings yearly, John Chen, CEO of Geoteaming, knows his staff quite well. So well, actually, that he teaches other leaders how to keep remote employees engaged during an online meeting. To name a few how-tos from the book:
- How to prepare (speaker’s checklist)
- How to engage introverts and quiet attendees
- How to control your meeting’s chat
- How to use meeting openers or icebreaker games, etc.
Jesse Hanson, Content Manager at Online Solitaire & World of Card Games:
“I’d call it the best book about employee engagement that brings game elements into the remote work context. The author gives you all the tools to breathe some fresh life into virtual communications. From barnstorming techniques to fun games, his ENGAGE method is perfectly suitable for leading great meetings with a remote workforce.”
Where can you get it: Buy “Engaging Virtual Meetings” from Amazon
6. Recognition Rebooted by Sam Jenniges
Did you know that only 13% of employees globally are fully engaged at work? Despite different recognition programs up and running in workplaces.
Sam Jenniges highlights their ineffectiveness and suggests some smarter ways to appreciate employees and engage them more effectively. For a start, you should know the recognition delivery essentials, aka TIPPS:
At the end of the book, you can find some useful employee recognition software and tools to celebrate smaller and bigger wins.
Jerry Han, CMO at PrizeRebel:
“Quite often, we want to put an equal sign between recognition and reward. Recognition Rebooted is a go-to resource for those who do just that and can’t tell the difference between the two.
This handbook on employee recognition armed me with the most important sequential principle: first recognize, then reward.”
Where can you get it: Buy “Recognition Rebooted” from Amazon
7. 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees by Bob Nelson
Is it possible for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results in the workplace?
1,001 times yes.
That’s how many employee engagement ideas Dr. Bob Nelson, the president of Nelson Motivation Inc., shares in this book. He provides real-life situations and examples of companies engaging their workers in simple but creative ways.
Eric Mills, Owner of Lightning Card Collection:
“Dr. Bob Nelson managed to write one of the best employee engagement books. He stepped aside from dull theory and instead revealed some practical techniques to motivate and power up employees every single day with more than just a thank-you. From one business owner to another, he passed me the keys to winning the quest for employee engagement.”
Where can you get it: Buy “1,001 Ways to Engage Employees” from Amazon
8. Designing & Aligning Employee Benefits Globally by Cedric Ng Mong Shen
Supposing you already know that employee benefits are pivotal for building a happy and engaged workforce. Now you need to develop an employee benefits plan that caters to the needs of every worker on your team.
How to do it the right way, especially if you lead a distributed team of employees from different countries?
Cedric Ng Mong Shen has got your back covered. Plus, the author provides some examples of benefits that differentiate the following employer brands:
- Asana, and others
Mark Pierce, CEO of Cloud Peak Law Group:
“Even though it’s a rather short read, it can become an indispensable guidebook for any HR manager. It uncovers the legal landscape of employee benefits in different countries. Every single detail is inside: from global benefits strategies to tax laws impacting benefits (sorted by country).”
Where can you get it: Buy “Designing & Aligning Employee Benefits Globally” from Amazon
9. The Engagement Ring by Lee Ann Pond
Employee engagement starts with great leadership, in the first place.
In her book, Lee Ann Pond, Founder and CEO of Engaging Leadership, will help you become a better manager and increase engagement in your staff with a unique leadership style. For that, you should implement the RING strategy:
- R – build meaningful relationships
- I – let everyone be included
- N – make everyone feel needed
- G – promote professional and personal growth
Morgan Taylor, Co-Founder of Jolly SEO:
“I completely agree with the manifesto of this book: there’s no “I” in a team. A leader is an integral part of the colleague-ship who can either drown it or ensure a pleasant journey for everyone.
It’s a perfect table book to consult from time to time and recall the main points on employee engagement. Btw, there’s a helpful diagram with a summary at the end of the book.”
Where can you get it: Buy “The Engagement Ring” from Amazon
10. The Psychological Safety Playbook by Karolin Helbig and Minette Norman
Why should you prioritize psychological safety at work?
When your workers feel completely safe, they aren’t afraid to ask questions, propose ideas, or share emotions. They eagerly communicate and collaborate with teammates and drive greater work results.
You can achieve higher levels of psychological safety with the proven communicative strategies and inclusive activities from this playbook.
Dan Petkevich, Founder & CEO of Fair Square:
“The Psychological Safety Playbook should be a starting point for every HR manager or business leader. It focuses largely on the emotional well-being of employees and the feeling of safety in the workplace. Any of the twenty-five approaches mentioned in this book can help foster a trustful environment and boost engagement in teams.”
Where can you get it: Buy “The Psychological Safety Playbook” from Amazon
11. The Truth About Employee Engagement by Patrick Lencioni
If asked, could you tell how your employees spend their free-from-work time?
There’s a high chance you don’t really know your employees’ interests, hobbies, likes/dislikes, etc. It’s only one of the three reasons why your workers may feel disconnected or disengaged. Read this fable by Patrick Lencioni to discover the other two factors and take several simple steps to keep employees engaged and satisfied at work.
Witold Stawarz, CEO of Foter:
“This story is unlike any other books on employee engagement you have read, trust me. It’s a cautionary tale about workplace happiness and a reminder that even the tiniest details matter greatly for job satisfaction.
I particularly like the narrative style. It reads like an unputdownable work of fiction and doesn’t overwhelm you with complicated terms. Instead, the author offers simplistic explanations to everyday cases in the work of a manager.”
Where can you get it: Buy “The Truth About Employee Engagement” from Amazon
12. Hire for Higher Performance by Jeff Blake
By 400% or even better.
That’s how Jeff Blake and his team outperformed their goals five years in a row when following the principles of Hire for Higher Performance.
Dive into the book. The author shares his insights on recruiting top talent and engaging high-potential employees. See how his strategic approach to hiring brings positive business outcomes.
Max Wesman, Founder & COO at GoodHire:
“You can often spot this title in the collections of books for HR managers because it concentrates on the hiring process and candidate engagement. However, it also discloses the post-hire dos and don’ts. After reading, you understand what exactly you should do to involve new employees in the business faster and more efficiently.”
Where can you get it: Buy “Hire for Higher Performance” from Amazon
13. 7 Deadly Myths That Will Destroy Your Company Culture, Workforce Engagement, & Sales Growth by Anita Emoff
A pay raise decides everything, right?
A gift card is the greatest incentive for employees, right?
Consider these and five other typical myths and employee engagement strategies to avoid.
Tatjana Savkovic at VanillaSoft:
“If you’re looking for good books about employee engagement, you can’t miss out on this one.
In just about 100 pages, you get seven misleading beliefs that may cost your company thousands of dollars, destroy your corporate ethics, and result in employee dissatisfaction. At worst, they can lead your business to stagnation.”
Rating: not rated yet
14. Employee Engagement (HR Fundamentals) by Emma Bridger
In her book, Emma Bridger explains the ABCs of employee engagement for HR professionals and managers.
The author describes employee engagement as an umbrella term that includes so many other concepts like organizational commitment or workplace motivation, for example. After that, she provides clear instructions on how to plan, act, and do measurements with the help of employee engagement surveys or alternatives to them.
The final chapter lays out the future of engagement.
Linda Shaffer, Chief People Operations Officer at Checkr:
“If you’re in human resources management and haven’t read this employee engagement book yet, you should hurry up. Once you read it, you’ll change the way you manage teams for good and for better, of course. It gives you all the tools and techniques for appreciating your workers and motivating them towards peak performance.”
Where can you get it: Buy “Employee Engagement (HR Fundamentals)” from Amazon
15. Measure What Matters by John Doerr
The NYT bestseller starts with a foreword from Larry Page, Co-Founder of Google.
Not without a good reason. The book explains how the OKRs methodology drives Google’s employee engagement. OKRs, aka Objectives and Key Results, is one of the most popular goal-setting frameworks that became a game-changer for –
- The Gates Foundation
- Intuit, and other organizations
You can find their case studies in Measure What Matters.
Jack Underwood, CEO & Co-Founder of Circuit:
“Want to drive employee engagement, intrinsic motivation, and high performance? Then this book is definitely for you. The OKRs framework described by John Doerr will help you keep focused on what really matters and give room for your employees to participate in the goal-setting process.
Even if you’re well familiar with the OKRs method and have already introduced it in your company, you will enjoy reading about the cases of using it in multinational organizations and get first-hand experiences from their CEOs.”
Where can you get it: Buy “Measure What Matters” from Amazon
You’re one book away from engaging your employees
Keeping employees engaged at work can be daunting at times. Luckily, you can turn to this ultimate list of books for employee engagement. Some of these titles have ready-made answers. Others may serve as invaluable references to develop your company's unique employee engagement strategy.
Enjoy some or all of the above books and grab their best ideas to keep your staff highly motivated and involved.
Need some more reading on people management?
Check out the best books for HR leaders.