Best-Selling SHRM Books of 2017

By Matt Davis December 29, 2017

Based on sales through the SHRMStore, retail booksellers, college bookstores and special sales, here's your list of top-selling Society for Human Resource Management books over the past year—just in time to inspire you to create your resolutions for 2018.

1. HR on Purpose!!: Developing Deliberate People Passion, by Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP

The No. 1 title on Amazon's "Hot New Releases" list in Human Resources, HR on Purpose!! asks the question "Can you be in HR for more than 30 years and still be geeked about it?" The answer is, according to author and "Everyday People" blogger Steve Browne, an unequivocal "YES, you can!!" HR on Purpose!! takes a fresh look at HR through an engaging assortment of real-life examples, insights and epiphanies and encourages practitioners to drop the preconceptions of what HR should be and instead look to what HR could be. Read this book and rekindle your passion for our growing, vibrant and vital profession.

Quotable: "The most insightful book on HR ever written."—John Jorgensen, SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

Learn more: HR Magazine feature and HR Storytellers video

2. California Employment Law: An Employer's Guide, 2017 Edition, by James J. McDonald, Jr., SHRM-SCP, JD

It is often said that it's impossible for an employer to fully comply with all of California's employment laws. They're just too numerous and too complicated with too many traps for the unwary. Written for HR professionals, business managers and anyone who must contend with employment law in California, the Guide is an essential resource for avoiding those traps. In February, look for the thoroughly updated and revised edition for 2018

Quotable: "It's California employment law simplified."—Ann Huston, SHRM-SCP, SPHR. 

Learn more: McDonald writes for SHRM Online on employment at will and California's WARN Act

3. The Power of Stay Interviews for Engagement and Retention, by Richard Finnegan

This perennial best-seller continues to challenge the perceived value of traditional employee surveys and exit interviews and explores the practical value of the stay interview, a powerful retention tool for proactively addressing potential workplace issues. Look for a second edition in June 2018 featuring new guidelines for using stay interviews with Millennials, five new interview questions and an introduction to Finnegan's Rainbow, a science-based process for improving retention and engagement. 

Quotable: "Blows the lid off something we all secretly think—that exit surveys and annual employee surveys do not impact engagement and retention as we'd hoped—and provides smart solutions for moving forward."—Paul R. Uhler, Vice President, Global HR. 

Learn more: Webcast with Finnegan on turnover and a SHRM members-only HR Q&A on stay interviews.

4. Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success, by Sharlyn Lauby, SHRM-SCP

HR Bartender blogger Sharlyn Lauby offers wide-ranging best practices and practical tools for designing a manager onboarding program. Filled with real-world stories and examples about how companies' onboarding programs work for the full spectrum of employees—from entry-level employees to new managers and leaders—it's the "go-to" guide to onboarding that works. Look for Lauby's new book, The Recruiter's Handbook, in February 2018. 

Quotable: "You'll learn the theory, but more importantly you'll gain practical insights into how you can help new managers be successful in their own careers and for your organization."—Susan Meisinger, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, JD. 

Learn more: HR Magazine's Q&A with Lauby and SHRM Online's coverage of Lauby's SHRM Annual Conference session on creating an onboarding program for managers. 

5. Business-Focused HR: 11 Processes to Drive Results, by Scott Mondore, Ph.D., and Shane Douthitt, Ph.D.

From employee selection to multi-rater feedback, this step-by-step guide provides the latest in best practices to effectively implement various HR processes in organizations of all sizes. Written by business analytics experts Mondore and Douthitt, Business-Focused HR addresses 11 core HR processes and offers practical tips for successful execution. Intended for HR generalists and managers, this invaluable manual covers many key HR topics, including leadership development, diversity and job design. Look for Mondore and Douthitt's new book, Predicting Success: Connecting People to the Bottom-Line with Smarter Analytics, in June 2018. 

Quotable: "A 'must-read' for HR professionals, Business-Focused HR serves as a critical roadmap for assuring that HR secures opportunities to meaningfully impact the strategic direction of the organization."—Steven Rogelberg, professor, University of North Carolina—Charlotte. 

Learn more: A webcast with Mondore on metrics of strategic planning and Mondore and Douthitt's 2009 SHRM-published book, Investing in What Matters: Linking Employees to Business Outcomes. 

6. 101 Sample Write-Ups for Documenting Employee Performance Problems: A Guide to Progressive Discipline & Termination, Third Edition, by Paul Falcone

For nearly two decades, Paul Falcone's best-selling handbook (Amacom/SHRM) has been an invaluable resource for business owners, HR managers, department heads and first-line supervisors. This newly revised third edition reflects the latest developments in employment law and features 20 additional write-ups addressing the misuse of social media, cyberbullying, medical marijuana, FMLA abuse and other contemporary issues that may affect the workplace.   

Quotable: "More than 100,000 copies sold."—from the Third Edition book cover. 

Learn more: SHRM Online articles from Falcone on due process, progressive discipline and probationary periods

7. Defining HR Success: 9 Critical Competencies for HR Professionals, by Alexander Alonso, SHRM-SCP, Ph.D., Debra J. Cohen, Ph.D., SPHR, James N. Kurtessis and Kari R. Strobel, Ph.D.

Defining HR Success explains the SHRM Competency Model in detail and provides practical guidance on how to use it to advance the careers of HR professionals. The model defines what it means to be a successful HR professional, identifying nine critical competencies that HR professionals need to address the most pressing people issues of the day and to deliver HR strategy to enable businesses to evolve into the future.  

Quotable: "Defining HR Success is an excellent example of applying science to the practice of HR. Read this book, learn the competencies, and build you plan to lead."—Jeffrey M. Cava, Executive VP and Chief Human Resource Officer. 

Learn more: SHRM Competency Model and Alonso's special report on certification

8. From Hello to Goodbye: Proactive Tips for Maintaining Positive Employee Relations, Second Edition, by Christine V. Walters, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, JD, MAS

Evaluating the complete employment relationship in reverse—from departure through hire—From Hello to Goodbye is the HR professional's indispensable guide to understanding the various ways business relationships end, managing disability and leave issues, properly classifying workers, maintaining an inclusive workplace, and avoiding litigation. Updated to reflect new research and proactive practices in addition to recent legal and regulatory compliance complexities, the second edition also features new practical tips for preventing workplace bullying and the appearance of retaliation. 

Quotable: "A terrific hands-on practical and legal guide to employee relations and the perfect resource for the HR practitioner. This is one book you will want to keep within easy reach."—Scott Elliot, HR Manager. 

Learn more: SHRM Online articles from Walters on common FMLA questions and managing leave issues and HR Magazine's book review

9. Developing Business Acumen: Making an Impact in Small Business, by Jennifer Currence, SHRM-SCP

The first volume in the "SHRM Competency Series" on applying the SHRM HR behavioral competencies to small business, this timely book fills an important gap for the HR professional with best practices, examples, recommendations and practical tools to help those undersized HR departments of one develop business acumen to solve everyday issues and advance HR careers. Be sure to check out the second volume in the Competency Series, Applying Critical Evaluation, published in 2017 and Mastering HR Consulting, due to release in June 2018. 

Quotable: "A great tool and practical resource for helping HR professionals take a seat at the table because of the strategic value they bring to the organization."—Richard Fagerlin, author of Trustology. 

Learn more: Currence's HR Magazine article on using competencies to boost your HR career, HR Magazine's book reviews on Applying Critical Evaluation and Developing Business Acumen

10. Developing Proficiency in HR: 7 Self-Directed Activities for HR Professionals, by Debra J. Cohen, Ph.D.

HR behavioral competencies are critical for success today, and Developing Proficiency in HR provides a roadmap for HR professionals to help themselves and their HR colleagues develop the behaviors necessary to be successful. Designed to transform passive learners into active learners by helping HR professionals develop their HR behavioral competencies at their own pace and based on their own needs, it features guidance on how to approach personal development in day-to-day activities rather than in a formal course setting. 

Quotable: "Developing Proficiency in HR will become the go-to source for HR professionals who aim to optimize their career success!"—Thomas M. Darrow, SHRM-SCP. 

Learn more: Excerpts from the book on self-directed learning and purposeful discussions.


Matt Davis manages SHRM's book publishing program.

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