Inclusive Books for Business by various author

c.2023, various publishers 
various page counts

By Terri Schlichenmeyer
The Truth Contributor

Every year has its challenges.

A few years ago, it was Covid-19. The economy influences your business constantly. Customer acquisition is a big issue, but you’re also laser-focusing on staffing. You’re determined to make a change in the people you hire and the workplace you offer them so let these two books be your guides…

Unless you fall into the non-white, non-cis-male category, you may not realize the amount of extra labor that women and minorities do at work and do to be able to work. It’s hidden, and few  folks discuss it but those who experience it, know it. Emotional Labor by Rose Hackman (Flatiron Books, $28.99) helps you recognize those burdens and, if you’re someone dealing with the issues, learn how to regain your sanity and your strength.

Women – even, maybe especially, professional women – are asked to “smile more” and are often talked-over. People of color feel that they need to “code switch” and talk differently in the presence of their white co-workers. Black hair is now a workplace issue. Assuming who brings the coffee to a meeting is an issue. Gender is a workplace issue. None of this – or any other, similar thorniness on the job – is new; in fact, emotional labor has a long, long history and Hackman unpacks it with firmness.

And yet, this is not an anti-white-men rant kind of book. The author has a lot to say and she’s respectful, and though a good amount of it may be uncomfortable, leaders, supervisors, business owners, and C-Suiters will be glad they read what she and her case-study subjects have to say. Business owners can no longer pretend not to know this information, making “Emotional Labor” an eye-opener, to be sure.

Another surety: you know you need to make change and you want to do it. You’ve wanted to do it for years, actually, but you’re not sure where to get started. In Rising Together by Sally Helgesen (Hachette Go, $30.00), you’ll see why you’re stymied and you’ll learn how to move forward.

There are, says Helgesen, eight barriers to making change, including gender and age. Here, you’ll learn how to spot the most common walls between you and an inclusive workplace, and how to knock them down with communication, equity, and (yay!) humor. And just to be sure you can do this, the author offers tools to implement every workday until inclusivity feels natural and automatic. If you’re looking to make a better team or a new, top-notch, first-rate workplace with different and dynamic outlooks, then this easy-to-grasp, calm and methodical book is what you need.

But let’s say you’re hungry for more on this subject. You want to be absolutely sure that forming an inclusive, welcoming, productive workplace is done right. Good for you, now head to your local book spot and ask your favorite librarian or bookseller for help. They’ll know what books you need, what you’re missing, and where you can find them. They’ll help you make change by stepping up to the challenge.