Recently, I had to start looking for a new developer to fill the needs of our private sector SMB located in a small town. Not just any developer though. I was looking for a unique combination of Windows application, web, and database development as well as project management experience with a strong inclination to be the senior, lead, and solo internal developer on our projects. Furthermore, the person had to be a good fit for our culture. To complicate the search even more, we were also competing with a large public sector entity for individuals with similar skills sets. For those who aren’t aware, it is quite difficult for a small town SMB to compete with government benefits, perks, and work schedules. Even so, I considered the challenge accepted and moved forward with the interviewing.

     Aside from my own brushes with Human Resources as a younger, more difficult to manage employee, interviewing isn’t my first foray into HR activities. Starting a couple years ago, I managed a project to implement a HRMS which converted the non-scalable, manual, paper-based processes we had into streamlined, digital processes with actionable data. That project took approximately 18 months and while it had a positive impact on HR as a cost center, the real benefit came from freeing up HR resources to do more proactive initiatives

     That HRMS project opened my eyes to many of the administrative challenges faced by HR professionals. Even so, the challenging hiring process awakened me to the challenges of recruitment. Coupling that new experience with other ongoing projects involving employee education, cross-functional training, and knowledge management as well as undertaking leadership training myself, I had a strong urge to increase my education surrounding employee life cycle management.

     As a book worm, I immediately went to Google to find lists of the highest rated books on each topical section of the employee life cycle. It didn’t take long before becoming frustrated by the lack of a trustworthy list. What I found were lists that were skewed towards an agencies offerings, only the latest offerings, or dry, textbook type publications.

     The result was that I spent a great deal of time tracking down books that I believe represent the best of each category. Please know that this list is contained within my personal purview as I have not read every book known to human kind. I have also limited each section to only a five items. My philosophy is that technology and communication methods have greatly changed how people work from even 1990 (almost 25 years ago), so I have picked books mostly from the year 2000 forward. Most are more recent. I did not feel the need to review these book as each is well reviewed on Amazon. You will notice that the list includes books on the subject at hand as well as soft skills associated with each topic. Lastly, I intentionally did not include books that focused on improving company leadership. If your company doesn’t have good leaders, especially as an SMB, you may want to focus on your own resume.

     If you find this helpful or feel like I am missing the book that is most important to you, please let me know by leaving a comment. Now without further adieu, here is the list.

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