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    The 22 Best Performance Management Books for HR

    September 27, 2022

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    Performance management books are essential for HR professionals who must stay up to date on the latest trends, insights, and success stories. We share recommendations for 22 must-read performance management books that cover every aspect of the subject.

    Performance management has changed dramatically over the past few years. Annual appraisal systems have been retired in favor of continuous feedback processes. A significant change happened in 2020-2021 with the introduction of the hybrid work model. Recent research shows that performance management is now a high or medium priority for HR professionals. These 22 books on performance management will help you execute your performance management process efficiently and effectively:

    1. ReCulturing: Design Your Company Culture to Connect with Strategy and Purpose for Lasting Success

    Culture is an important tool in performance management as it helps attract, sieve, train, and retain the best employees. However, despite several companies setting up a culture development strategy, it often gets sidelined or discarded. Why? Is it a problem with the culture itself or with its implementation? ReCulturing is a performance management book that talks about building an organizational culture that integrates the why, what, and how of the organization into each employee’s daily activities.
    Melissa Daimler, the author of ReCulturing, is a speaker, panelist, and contributor to Forbes and Harvard Business Review (HBR). She is currently Chief Learning Officer for Udemy and has hands-on experience working with Adobe, Twitter, WeWork, in addition to starting her own company, Daimler Partners.

    undefined-Sep-27-2022-06-21-10-15-AM2. We're All in This Together: Creating a Team Culture of High Performance, Trust, and Belonging

    Author Mike Robbins' We're All In This Together is a book that tells you how to foster team spirit and encourage team building. Having a great team in any business or organization requires a combination of talent and a collaborative team spirit. The book explores every aspect of this, including how to create and grow a better work environment that fosters a sense of belonging, tackles conflict early on, and provides a balance between expectation and empathy.
    Robbins, who has written four other books, is an authority on team building and performance management having worked with companies like Google, Schwab, Microsoft, eBay, etc. He is also noted business author and hosts weekly podcasts on his website.
    This book is among the best performance management books you will find because Robbins doesn't just give tips on team building. He shares powerful and proven tools, techniques, and actual exercises that he has successfully implemented multiple times.

    Were all in this together3. Diversity and Inclusion Matters: Tactics and Tools to Inspire Equity and Game-Changing Performance

    Diversity and Inclusion Matters offers professional instruction and guidance in bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion to an organization. The book engages the reader and provides a clear blueprint of how to implement a successful diversity program. It teaches you how to manage and lead a diversity council, how to set the right expectations for your program, and how to achieve early results. The book also outlines the popular DEI CAPE Inclusion technique developed by the author Jason R. Thompson.
    Ensuring that the work environment is diverse and inclusive in ensuring that all employees feel a sense of belonging to the organization and perform to their best so as the elevate the overall performance of the organization.
    Thompson is a respected diversity officer, with a proven track record of leading several diversity programs across the health, educational, sports, and technology sectors.
    Learn More: 5 Tips to Improve Performance Appraisal Process

    Diversity and Inclusion Matters4. Learning at Speed: How to Upskill and Reskill your Workforce at Pace to Drive Business Performance

    Learning at Speed is an important performance management book for new-age businesses. It highlights the importance of identifying skill gaps and developing and implementing strategies to fill those gaps fast. The book’s key selling point is that it teaches organizations how to monitor important business metrics. It also provides templates, worksheets, case studies, and other guidelines that simplify the implementation of these strategies.
    Author Nelson Sivalingam is a performance development strategist based in the UK. He is the CEO and Co-founder of HowNow, Founder and CEO of One Minute City, and the Co-founder of award-winning production company Barking Mad.

    Learning at Speed-1-1

    5. HR for Hybrid Working: How to Adapt People Practices to Support Employees and the Organization

    When people talk about HR and performance management, it is easy to overlook the fact that hybrid work is the norm in several organizations across industries. In the post COVID-19 era, HR managers must know how to handle their remote employees, foster interpersonal relationships, plan performance management programs, etc. in a distributed work environment. HR for Hybrid Working is a guide that helps an organization face all the performance management challenges encountered in a hybrid model – from managing transitioning, onboarding, exit interviews, contracts management, payments, etc.
    In addition, HR for Hybrid Working gives expert advice on what tech solutions are suited for your type of business. More importantly, it outlines and explains the necessary skills all HR professionals must have to survive in the hybrid working ecosystem.
    Author Gary Cookson is the founder of a consultancy firm targeted at improving the performance of his client-organizations. He also specializes in online training programs design and delivery for corporate workforces.
    Learn More: The Evolution of Performance Management System

    HR for Hybrid Working6. Power Phrases for Performance Reviews

    Performance review is one of the most important aspects of managing HR in an organization. The words, phrases, and terminology used in these reviews must be able to express the intent of HR, managers, and the organization as a whole. Power Phrases for Performance Reviews by Amanda Symonds is a go-to short guide for an organization’s review needs. The book has over 300 power phrases you can use for the most effective and constructive performance reviews.
    The book has a unique feature – each phrase is categorized based on performance review use cases, depending on the message that has to be communicated from work ethic to problem-solving, thinking, communication skills, etc. Amanda Symonds is an upcoming author, specializing in the use of words and phraseology in different business contexts. Other notable books by her include LinkedIn Profile and Resume Power Phrases and Report Card Comments.

    Power Phrases for Performance Reviews-17. Exemplary Performance: Driving Business Results by Benchmarking Your Star Performers

    Exemplary Performance is a performance management book co-authored by Paul Elliot and Al Folsom. It helps managers achieve better performance with the same teams and people assets. It also teaches how to make up for the performance gap between an organization’s “just good” and “best-performing” workers.
    Exemplary Performance is among the top performance management books to read in 2022 because it helps identify key insights from exemplary performers, and discusses how one can translate these into measurable results, and resolve gaps in training, recruitment life cycles, job descriptions, etc.
    Paul Elliot is a founder and principal consultant at Exemplary Performance, a firm he founded with his co-authors. Al Folsom holds a PhD and is Vice President of Ops and Chief Performance Officer at Exemplary Performance. He specializes in the use of technology for HR optimization, and consults with companies across petrochemicals, insurance, and the public sector on how to improve performance. Prior to joining Exemplary Performance, Folsom was CLO of the U.S. Coast Guard.

    Exemplary Performance

    8. Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High-Performance Teams

    Lessons from Hanoi Hilton is a captivating book whose style and approach towards performance management is truly unique. The authors, Taylor Baldwin Kiland and Peter Fretwell, have drawn from both their personal and professional experience while writing this book. Lessons from Hanoi Hilton describes the hard truths discovered by prisoners of war (PoW) captured and locked up for years in the “Hanoi Hilton”–a euphemism for the Hỏa Lò Prison–during the Vietnam War. After their release, many of the PoWs went on to be incredibly successful in their careers, providing lessons on leadership, resilience, and team building.
    What makes this book such a useful guide to performance management is not just that these principles have been tried and proven successful. It also has to do with the leadership style described in it. Lessons from Hanoi Hilton help understand that a sustainable performance culture is one that does not depend on only one individual and is genuinely central to an ongoing project or a current organizational target.
    Kiland specializes in writing military nonfiction. A former naval officer with a master’s degree in marketing communication, she provides deep insight into the principles of performance management. Peter Fretwell has studied the Stockdale leadership style (based on survival psychology) and organizational culture for years, beginning from his MBA days.

    Lessons From The Hanoi Hilton9. Performance Management: Toward Organizational Excellence

    Performance Management by T V Rao teaches organizations how to shift their focus from unattainable goals and pay attention to continuous improvement in individual and team performance.
    Rao is the Chairman of the research-based consulting firm TV Rao Learning Systems (TVRLS), prior to which he was a professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. With over 60 books to his credit, he has worked as a consultant at many organizations including UNESCO, FAO, USAID, etc.Performance Management Towards Organizational Excellence-1

    10. HBR Guide to Performance Management

    HBR Guide to Performance Management helps ensure that your organization hires and retains the right talent. The book offers a multi-step, cyclical method to stay on track with your employees' performance. This allows an organization to note areas for improvement and know how to foster growth. The book is vital for every organization because it explains how to set clear employee goals that resonate with company objectives. It also teaches how to close performance gaps and when to use performance analytics.
    Published by Harvard Business Review (HBR), the book is filled with practical lessons gleaned over time. HBR is among the best sources of smart business structures. It provides professionals with the best ways to lead their organizations to the top.
    Learn More: Top 10 Performance Appraisal Methods to boost Workplace Culture

    HBR Guide to Performance Management

    11. Fixing Performance Management: How to Develop and Use KPIs and Appraisals to Manage Your Team

    Fixing Performance Management provides a better approach towards performance management than annual appraisals, and also discusses how corporate KPI target allocations can be best optimized. It suggests unique approaches to problems from the perspective of senior managers, line managers, and junior employees. All these stakeholders have a role to play in performance management – and this book explains these roles clearly.
    Author Andreas Petrou is an associate professor at Cyprus University of Technology. During his postgraduate degree, performance management was one of his major research interests. He has worked with industries and large companies where he learnt to design and implement performance management systems.

    Fixing Performance Management

    12. Performance Management in the Public Sector (Routledge Masters in Public Management)

    Performance Management in the Public Sector is an insightful book by Wouter Van Dooren, Geert Bouckaert, and John Halligan. It offers actionable insights into a complex subject, helping HR managers, organizational leaders, and students of public management. A notable aspect of the book is that it takes into consideration the scrutiny currently placed on the effectiveness of performance management practices in the public sector. It deals with its various aspects and delves into the technicalities of measuring performance.
    Bouckaert and Halligan are both professors and Van Dooren is an associate professor in in public administration.Performance Management in the Public Sector-1

    13. The Peak Performance Formula: Achieving Breakthrough Results in Life and Work

    The Peak Performance Formula is a performance management book for readers from any background. It details steps to boost individual and team performance. For HR professionals just getting started, it can be a highly motivating read. It even has a 30-day performance optimization challenge that readers can apply in their daily lives.
    The author, Bob Lesser has significant experience in researching leadership and management at Vassar College, and Harvard University in the US, and is also a Silicon Valley executive coach. He has authored several books on the subject and is an advocate for prioritizing professional and personal development.

    The Peak Performance Formula-1

    Learn More: The Ultimate Guide to Performance Management 

    14. Performance Management, Fourth Edition

    Performance Management by Dr Herman Aguinis, published by Chicago Business Press, puts forward a research-based model that focuses on the designing and implementation of performance management systems. One of the book’s key advantages is that it focuses on best systems and practices, while outlining the necessary steps one needs to take.
    Aguinis is a scholar, professor, and chairperson at the George Washington University School of Business. He was conferred the Losey Award by The Society for Human Resource Management. His work has been published in over 200 articles, 12 books, as well as the Wall Street Journal, and several notable magazines.

    Performance Management, Fourth Edition-115. Leader Board: The DNA of High Performance Teams

    Leader Board: The DNA of High Performance Teams by Omar L. Harris is a guide that will help any organizational head recharge how they approach their leadership style or approach to hiring. According to the book, great leaders are those who magnify their team's collective effort and inspire them to be and do better. It is one of the best performance management books because it answers the most important questions around how to maximize a team's potential.
    Harris has 15 years of experience working in corporate organizations across four continents. He is an award-winning and bestselling fiction author, an entrepreneur, and a veteran of the pharmaceutical industry.

    Learn More: Performance Management: Definition, Meaning, Importance, Scope, Objectives, Elements & Role

    Leader Board-116. CIMA Official Exam Practice Kit Performance Management

    The CIMA Official Exam Practice Kit Performance Management, written by Henry Lunt and Jo Avis, is a handy book to aid understanding of performance management. The book contains the latest industry standards and practices used by HR worldwide.

    Performance Management, The Key to your CIMA Future

    17. The Performance Pipeline: Getting the Right Performance at Every Level of Leadership

    The Performance Pipeline, by Stephen Drotter, is a guide that defines the results an organization must obtain at each level to witness consistent success. The book digs deeper than just advising readers to employ workers with leadership skills – it talks about how to elicit business results at each level of leadership. It is considered one of the best performance management books because of the lessons and examples it offers.
    Drotter who is CEO of Drotter Human Resources company draws on over 40 years of experience in the field. His company helps other organizations successfully hire the most suitable CEOs. He is an experienced economist and a prolific writer.

    The Performance Pipeline18. Managing for Quality and Performance Excellence

    Managing for Quality and Performance Excellence, by James R. Evans and William M. Lindsay, offers a deeper understanding of the performance management space by examining its fundamental principles. It also dives into the “total quality” concept, which views performance management through the customer’s lens. The book includes examples from leading organizations demonstrating how theories and principles are actually implemented.
    It is among the best-rated performance management books on Amazon as it covers all the requirements for ISO 9000 certification, Six Sigma, and the U.S. Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
    Co-author James R. Evans is an emeritus professor at Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati, and has published over 100 research papers. James R Evans and Dr William Lindsay received the Crosby medal for their work on this book.

    The Management & The Control of Quality

    19. Unlocking High Performance: How to Use Performance Management to Engage and Empower Employees to Reach Their Full Potential

    Unlocking High Performance offers a new model for performance management based on the planning, nurturing, and accountability required to execute it successfully. It is among the best performance management books to read because it doesn't just teach the reader how to create goals and give feedback. It outlines how principles of performance management can improve employee-employer relationships, along with practical guidance on how to implement them.
    Lauritsen is a business consultant and public speaker. He specializes in boosting employee engagement and defining business/organizational cultures.

    Learn More: Performance Management to Arrest Attrition

    Unlocking High Performance

    20. McKinsey 7S Framework: Boost business performance, prepare for change and implement effective strategies

    Developed in the 1980s, the McKinsey 7S framework is a management model that aims to boost performance by leveraging seven key components – structure, strategy, systems, skills, style, staff, and shared values. This book is an expertly written and condensed version of the framework that can be read in less than an hour. The book explains how to incorporate the 7S framework into business projects and organizational change.
    McKinsey 7S Framework is a fast and easy read, ideal for HR professionals who want a holistic understanding of the different moving parts of a performance management system and how they are connected to each other.

    McKinsey 7S Framework-1

    21. How Performance Management is Killing Performance — and What to do About it

    How Performance Management Is Killing Performance by M. Tamra Chandler strives to abolish traditional and outdated models still practiced in so many organizations. This method of annual review and negative feedback on what could have been done better does little for the overall performance of the company.
    What makes the book special is that Chandler has succeeded in outlining several working alternatives to existing models. These are not just speculations but scientifically proven methods. This step-by-step guide will help you create a personalized performance management system for your organizational needs. She is a respected author, speaker, and business leader who has devoted her career to the cause of improving organizational performance.

    How Performance Management is Killing Performance

    22. 101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees: A Manager's Guide to Addressing Performance, Conduct, and Discipline Challenges

    101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees provides HR leaders with ideas on how to approach the many concerning issues that may arise in the workplace. Inappropriate employee behavior – at any level – can be an impediment to business outcomes and performance management. Team leaders and HR personnel must be well-versed in conflict resolution and the handling of thorny issues, and this book helps you get it right.
    Readers will learn how to communicate better, engage employees, discuss performance issues, and resolve problems through direct interactions.
    The author, Paul Falcone, is a certified executive coach and a long-term writer for HR magazine SHRM.org. He is a best-selling author with years of HR experience.

    101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees

    Did you know that only 11% of organizations feel their internal performance processes are “excellent?” The best performance management books will help identify errors in assistance today, areas for improvement, and inspire you to do better. If you are eager to learn more about this subject and the latest technologies to boost performance, find out how Darwinbox can help.

    Book a demo today to know how Darwinbox can help you achieve your organization goals keeping in mind the latest performance management insights and trends!

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