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The Best New Books on Employee Engagement

Which of the following statements do you believe embodies employee engagement?

  • You’re doing so great in your role! How can I continue to support you?
  • You’re doing so great in your role! What do you want to do next?

For all the talk about how disengaged employees are, it’s rare to see any managers or business owners actually practicing true employee engagement.

Contrary to popular belief, employee engagement doesn’t stop at checking in on how your employees are doing. That’s just the start.

True employee engagement asks not what your employee can do for you, but what you can do for your employees. *Yes, that’s a nod to John F. Kennedy*

It’s important for managers to set their sights on the bigger picture. Move beyond supporting employees in their current roles and provide them with opportunities that will position them well for their next, whether it’s with your company or not.

Check out the newest books on employee engagement and receive a ton of great management advice for creating an empathetic, courageous, inclusive, and personalized culture on your team!

Top Employee Engagement Books of 2021

Discover Your Unique Imprint for Work that Makes You Come Alive

Based on the Sparketype personality assessment developed by The Good Life podcast host and author Jonathan Fields, Sparked is a fascinating exploration of the different types of people in today’s workforce.

A tool to explain each individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and sweet spots for meaning, flow, and potential in their work, Sparked is designed to help you discover your leadership or management style, while also empowering you to uncover truths about your employees that will keep them engaged in their work and devoted to your company’s mission.

For example, how would you motivate Makers who are heavily driven and also satisfied by process versus Mavens who feel immense joy while immersing themselves in the task of learning? If you're stumped, don't fret. Find out more about these types of employees who may differ in regards to what they need to perform at their best on the job, but want the same things from their supervisors: understanding and flexibility.


SPARKED takes you deep into the world of the Sparketypes, revealing an entirely new depth of insights about what makes you come alive in work life, along with what empties you out and trips you up, so you can avoid those life-drains. You’ll discover tons of case studies, stories, and real-world applications, creating a comprehensive guide to help you discover what you are meant to do and how to get started.

Courageous Cultures
How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates

The root cause of most business failures, according to research found in Courageous Cultures, is “a widespread belief among employees that speaking up will trigger retribution rather than appreciation.”

If you’re a manager, you have a pulse on the culture of your organization. If you’re a leader who hopes to fulfill a management role in your organization one day, you have a duty to scan your environment for signs of toxic restraint.

Do the people you work with feel like they can speak up? In Courageous Cultures, Karin Hurt and David Dye deliver an employee engagement formula for encouraging employees to find their voice, raise their concerns, and improve the outcomes of a business’s efforts.

From the soft skills leaders must possess to inspire openness from their employees to the step-by-step process for building an infrastructure for courage on your team, Hurt and Dye present one of the most pivotal books on employee engagement in the 21st century.


From executives complaining that their teams don’t contribute ideas to employees throwing up their hands because their input isn’t sought--company culture is the culprit. Courageous Cultures provides a road map to build a high-performance, high-engagement culture around sharing ideas, solving problems, and rewarding contributions from all levels.

The Empathetic Workplace
5 Steps to a Compassionate, Calm, and Confident Response to Trauma on the Job

Everyday, you and your employees experience some form of trauma—major and minor, life-changing and day-altering. Every case of workplace violence such as harassment and assault, every organizational mistake such as fraud and bankruptcy, and every personal issue experienced by individual workers such as illness and addiction must be dealt with by someone...most likely you, the leader.

President of consultancy Blackbird DC and author of The Empathetic Workplace, Katherine Manning, shares her LASER method for handling interactions with people in your workplace who have just undergone a traumatic experience. Teaching readers how to listen, acknowledge, share, empower, and return, Manning demonstrates the power of an empathetic and compassionate response from leaders on employee engagement.

“An empathetic response instills trust, which in turn increases productivity, reduces absenteeism and turnover, and enhances engagement and satisfaction,” Manning writes. “Just as importantly, compassion makes it more likely that those in need will get help.”

Learn how to be a more empathetic and effective leader in The Empathetic Workplace!


This critical resource gives managers, HR, and anyone who may come into contact with someone in trauma—including workplace violence, harassment, assault, illness, addiction, fraud, bankruptcy, and more—the tools they need to be prepared for what lies ahead.

The Eight Paradoxes of Great Leadership
Embracing the Conflicting Demands of Today’s Workplace

If you believe the cornerstone of employee engagement is great leadership, Tim Elmore’s first book with HarperCollins will justify and confirm your most deep-seated assumptions.

In The Eight Paradoxes of Great Leadership, Elmore—who has worked alongside John C. Maxwell for two decades and trained hundreds of thousands of young professionals in leadership development—equips leaders with ideas to inspire team members in ways a paycheck never could.

Elmore paves a path for current and future leaders to embrace the often contradictory qualities today’s employees expect from their supervisors including:

  • Balancing confidence and humility
  • Leveraging their vision and their blind spots
  • Remaining stubborn and open-minded
  • Modeling high standards and gracious forgiveness
  • And more

As readers practice the tactics described in this book, their emotional and social intelligence will improve, as well as their relationships with their employees.


Become a next generation leader—rich in emotional and social intelligence and orchestrating outstanding collaborative results—by mastering these eight status quo-shattering paradoxes.

Discover more employee engagement resources

We’re always getting books added to the store that challenge the status quo of employee engagement measures and provide solutions as leaders face new problems.

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Gabrielle Reed

Gabrielle Reed is an editor at Leadership Essentials.

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