Books For HR

Discover the essential HR books for professionals eager to excel in human resources, spanning analytics, fundamentals, and management insights. These 21 recommended reads cover crucial skills, strategies, and innovations in HR.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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What are the best HR books to read?

Human resource management, or HRM, is a fast-evolving field. It is more crucial than ever for HR professionals to stay current on both the newest knowledge and the traditional notions. Whether you’re a seasoned HR professional or just starting out, these 21 important HR books can help you perform your job more effectively.

This guide of the top HR books has been divided into four sections: books on HR analytics, books for novices, popular works on HR, and books on HR management. Key HR ideas and principles, as well as an overview of the HR industry, are presented in the below HR books. They go over the primary duties of HR and how to carry them out successfully.

Now, let’s get started.

  1. HR from the Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources, by Dave Ulrich, Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank, Mike Ulrich

Which skills are essential for an HR professional to have?  That is the main focus of this book.

Ulrich and colleagues outline the essential skills of the contemporary HR manager.  The human resources manager is responsible for facilitating skill growth, advocating for technology, leading change, and being an innovator and integrator in HR.

Furthermore, as these many responsibilities occasionally collide, one of the primary duties of an HR manager is to act as a trustworthy advocate for the company’s interests as well as those of its employees. The third ability, the strategic positioner, is formed by placing all of this inside a bigger strategic context.

Both this book and Ulrich’s previous work are exceptionally well-researched. Victory Through Organization, Ulrich’s 2017 publication, expands on this initial work. Regarding contemporary HRM, the original book is still a must-read.

  1. Human Resource Management, by Gary Dessler

Gary Dessler’s book Human Resources Management is essentially the Bible for HR. In terms of study books for HR, it is likely among the most popular.

The book covers the main facets of HR in its eighteen chapters. It goes over a practical, step-by-step explanation of the fundamentals of human resources. These categories include recruiting, talent management and placement, development and training, employee relations, and payment.

  1. The HR Scorecard, by Dave Ulrich, Mark Huselid, and Brian Becker

Though it may be the oldest HR book on this list, it is also a classic. Becker and associates describe how strategy, people, and performance may be connected and measured in the HR Scorecard.

Human resource management has never been considered an exact science. HR hasn’t always been good at monitoring its effect on the workforce and coordinating its efforts with the corporate plan. However, when done correctly, it allows HR to monitor the efficacy of its work and quantify its effects.

It is easier to measure HR’s work when one speaks the same language as the company. The company is concentrated on attaining a return on investment (ROI) and key performance indicators (KPIs). HR can establish credibility once it is able to put some of its actions into numerical form using these components.

  1. Victory Through Organization, by Dave Ulrich, David Kryscynski, Wayne Brockbank, Mike Ulrich

Ulrich and associates examine the HR function in greater detail in this outstanding HR book. Their research used the biggest sample of HR experts, executives, and associates ever, an HR competency survey with more than 30,000 participants.

The study findings in this HR book offer valuable insights into areas where Human Resources can make the most contributions. It demonstrates how value is generated not just for HR and the worker but also for the company, line managers, investors/owners, and communities.

Moreover, it displays the highest-rated activities for HR by both HR and the company, as well as the highest-valued activities by HR, the company, and all other stakeholders. Covered topics include HR information management, HR analytics, integrated HR practices, and employee performance.

Any senior Human Resources manager should read this HR book, despite its complexity.

  1. The New HR Leader’s First 100 Days: How To Start Strong, Hit The Ground Running & Achieve Success Faster As A New Human Resources Manager, Director or VP, by Alan Collins

It can be intimidating to take on HR management at first. However, it is critical to establish a solid basis for success within the first one hundred days.

This HR book provides simple instructions and valuable insights to help new leaders get started to a successful start. It shows how to confidently step into a new role, take leadership right away, gain respect, and leave an immediate impression.

Former PepsiCo HR vice president, Alan Collins, is a well-known speaker at HR conferences in the US and Canada. His book contains 17 tried-and-true guidelines compiled from best practices he encountered while working and mentoring hundreds of HR leadership members at all levels.

  1. Strategic Human Resource Management: An HR Professional’s Toolkit, by Karen Beaven

This useful HR book is a thorough resource for the human resources sector. It is broken up into four parts that explain how you can provide strategic value to a company by getting to know yourself, your industry, your business, and your job.

It includes chapters on common HR subjects like workforce planning, technology, and talent management. Beyond technical matters, the text addresses human ones as well, like how self-care and mental health impact performance. The book reframes HR’s perspective so that it now directs the organization’s people experience rather than just managing human capital.

After the publication of her HR book, author Karen Beaven said she was excited to share her career experience. She wanted to produce something easily readable with knowledge that readers could use right away.

Karen Beaven is the owner of London-based PXI, an HR consultancy firm. PXI provides services for HR strategy, well-being, and recovery and burnout prevention. Beaven has received important rankings and multiple HR awards.

  1. Work Rules!, by Laszlo Bock

Google has consistently been a shining example of ethical hiring procedures. In his book Work Rules! Google’s former vice president of people operations, Laszlo Bock, outlines the company’s top HR procedures.

This really useful HR book focuses on a number of important topics, including the value of business culture, Google’s track record of selecting top performers, the significance of data in HR, the reasons for unjust compensation (different performances should receive varied compensation), and handling HR errors.

This HR book can be read in a single day. Laszlo Bock demonstrates which practices you can implement in your own company tomorrow to improve people management.

  1. The Talent Delusion, by Tomas Premuzic Chamorro

Full of scientific data on talent management, The Talent Delusion is a simple-to-understand HR book. This HR book discusses the definition of talent (as not everyone possesses it), how to identify talent, how to work with and nurture it, the negative aspects of it, and talent’s future.

One of this HR book’s most important lessons is the distinction between average performance and exceptional performance. For some, there’s a significant difference between the two, while for others, peak performance is a lot like average performance.

By giving it their all, employees might easily trick their supervisor into believing they are performing well. But being at your best all the time is not possible. Individuals can only sustain this for a short period of time before reverting to their typical behavior. Because of this, it is very difficult to evaluate a person’s success based on data from just a few months, particularly if they have a strong work ethic.

The secret is to pick individuals whose average performance is close to their maximum output.

  1. Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World, by Marcus Buckingham, Ashley Goodall

Nine Lies About Work dispels nine widespread misconceptions using a scientific method. Among the myths are the following: “leadership is a thing,” “people have potential,” “work-life balance matters most,” “the best people are well-rounded,” and “the best plan wins.”

The writers refute another myth: that being excellent at a job doesn’t necessarily mean knowing all the details and procedures. Even if you get these correctly, you can still be mediocre. The outcome is the only definite thing.

For instance, you cannot use a 360-degree feedback survey to measure the overall characteristics of comedians. Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Eddy Murphy are all unique. The only thing that unites them is the outcome: laughter. The authors conclude that rather than receiving generic, critical feedback, humans learn by self-directed experimentation and focused attention.

  1. HR Disrupted: It’s Time for Something Different, by Lucy Adams

This HR book examines the future role of human resources. How can we drastically alter the way we manage, lead, support, and engage our workforce?

Adams claims that disruptive HR is built upon three columns. First, it treats workers like adults rather than like children. Second, the one-size-fits-all strategy is abandoned, and employees are treated like customers. Third, workers ought to be accorded humane treatment.

As the head of human resources at the BBC, Adams provides several fascinating and instantly identifiable examples to show how people might be handled more effectively in a disruptive and digitally driven company environment.

  1. Belonging at Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take to Cultivate an Inclusive Organization, by Rhodes Perry

People who feel like they belong are empowered, which has a positive effect on the office. This book explores why everyone must have a sense of belonging at work and the fundamental human need for belonging. The author also explains how inclusion, equity, and diversity are distinct ideas, but they must cooperate.

Perry argues in favor of creating a culture of belonging among your staff members and that it is crucial for the future of work. In order to create an egalitarian company that reflects its neighborhood and customers, the book lays out strategies that everyone in any job can implement.

Belonging at Work is a targeted strategy that combines personal experiences with doable tactics. Its helpful guidance will help you develop an environment where every employee can succeed.

Rhodes Perry is the CEO and creator of Rhodes Perry Consulting, which provides leadership coaching and change management services for creating inclusive businesses, government organizations, and charities. He is also a well-known keynote speaker and hosts The Out Entrepreneur podcast.

  1. HR Rising!!: From Ownership to Leadership, by Steve Browne

In this HR book, bestselling author Steve Browne encourages HR managers to embrace intentional leadership and abandon the idea that they are merely a support role.

HR allows you to get to know and talk to every employee. Because of this function, HR professionals are in a unique position to lead and create significant change for their organizations.

Browne’s formula, Processes + People = Results, is explained in the book. It is a substitute to the paradigm that views people as an afterthought and works backward from outcomes to processes. Instead, an engaged workforce is the outcome of emphasizing staff development, encouragement, and equipping.

According to Browne, great leaders are made up of people’s personalities rather than their titles. This book’s storytelling and novel insights help you identify the qualities in your work experience that will enable you to take the lead from where you are now.

Steve Browne wants to encourage people to be passionate about their career in human resources. In addition to being an HR professional and author of books, Browne hosts an online forum and an HR Roundtable. He also runs a worldwide readership for his HR blog.

  1. The Way of the HR Warrior: Leading the Charge to Transform Your Career and Organization, by Monica Frede & Keri Ohlrich, PhD

The book’s authors aim to ignite a revolution in the HR industry and highlight the genuine potential of HR within a company.

Once they have mastered their roles, HR professionals can become HR fighters who battle for corporate success and contribute value. An HR Warrior identifies ways to improve the business, solves issues, and makes work easier.

Monica Frede and Keri Ohlrich, the authors of this book, guide readers through their CHARGE paradigm with a clever, tough-love style. This paradigm explains the core characteristics of HR warriors—courage, Humility, Accuracy, Resiliency, Goal-orientedness, and Exemplary.

Through actual case studies and personal experience of CHARGE, the writers impart knowledge to readers about:

  • What possible effect might they have on their business?
  • How to align their work with corporate objectives.
  • How to identify areas for professional and personal growth using assessment tools.
  1. The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth, by Amy C. Edmondson

Because humans are inherently safe, a safe and secure work environment tends to bring out the strongest qualities in employees. According to this HR book, a psychologically safe environment is one where people feel free to express themselves.

Edmondson explores the relationship between psychological safety and high performance using case stories from the private and public sectors, drawing on 20 years of study. She also offers leaders doable actions they may take to create psychological safety, which can create and support a courageous organization.

This HR book is for anyone who wants to promote an environment at work where workers are encouraged to develop ideas and express themselves. People feel more committed to the organization when they feel free to share their opinions. They are driven to work together to find solutions to the issues brought about by the constant change in today’s corporate environment.

Amy C. Edmondson is the Harvard Business School’s Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management. Before entering academia, she worked as a Chief Engineer for famed inventor and architect Buckminster Fuller and designed transformation initiatives for huge corporations.

  1. The Big Book of HR, by Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem

The Big Book of HR, now in its tenth-anniversary edition, is a thorough and up-to-date manual on HR-related topics, procedures, and best practices authored by two reputable and experienced HR experts.

The task of managing people has never been easy for HR. However, the workplace has become even more difficult due to significant developments in recent years. This book examines both recent and emerging developments while commenting on these shifts.

It includes details on both the functional and strategic facets of managing personnel, including:

  • DEI
  • Taking care of distributed and remote employees
  • The effects of evolving technology
  • Preventing and responding to harassment at work
  • Pay parity and perks to accommodate different labor requirements
  • Instructional techniques, such as gamification
  1. The Essential HR Handbook, by Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell

This best-seller provides information and suggestions for all crucial HR tasks. The updated 10th anniversary version includes the most recent advice, tools, checklists, and sample forms to assist you in overcoming the difficulties of HR obligations.

Every chapter addresses a fundamental aspect of human resources and concludes with a section titled “Main Message for Managers.” These synopses give you rapid access to the key ideas you’ll want to consult when circumstances related to the topic arise.

Numerous HR-related problems have answers in The Essential HR Handbook, including:

  • Appealing to talent using contemporary techniques
  • Simplifying the onboarding process
  • Educating a workforce that is multigenerational and varied
  • Recognizing legal traps to follow rules and stay out of trouble
  • Offering a benefits and compensation package that is competitive

The writers have worked in HR for many years. In 1998, Sharon Armstrong started a performance management consulting company after working in the hiring and training industry. After working for Marriott International in HR, Barbara Mitchell is currently a managing partner of The Mitchell Group, a speaker, and an author.

  1. Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, by Michael Armstrong with Stephen Taylor

For anyone studying or working in HR, this HR book is a fundamental resource for understanding and applying HR. It provides in-depth descriptions of all the major HR topics, such as performance management, organizational behavior, and employee interactions.

The writers promote efficient learning by offering relevant and useful information. Online resources are available to readers for self-study. The book is divided into two sections, including toolkits and relevant knowledge and skills.

The book has been updated and now contains more detailed information on current advancements in HRM. It examines the global issues in HRM and includes updated information on employment law.

Michael Armstrong, the author, works as a freelance management consultant and is the joint managing partner of E-reward in the United Kingdom. His books on HR have been published in more than 20 languages.

This edition introduces Co-author Stephen Taylor, a senior lecturer in HR management at the University of Exeter Business School.

  1. Predictive HR Analytics: Mastering the HR Metric, by Kirsten & Martin Edwards

Readings from this HR book are frequently assigned for HR analytics courses. It goes into great detail on analytics and metrics. The book examines analytics and metrics pertaining to employee attitudes, diversity, employee turnover (including predicted turnover analytics), recruitment analytics, worker performance, and more through various case studies.

This HR book offers an easily understood framework to assist HR professionals in comprehending and utilizing statistical methods and people analytics. It provides examples of how to use human resources data for evidence-based HR strategies and decisions and how to monitor success.

  1. Putting The Human Back Into HR: Success as an HR Professional Begins With You, by Su Patel

Being a human resources expert means meeting the requirements of employees and adding value to the company while managing all the policy and procedure aspects of HR.

This HR book offers helpful guidance on maintaining this equilibrium while benefiting the company and its employees. It covers the five domains—process, partnership, performance, productivity, and progress—that HR professionals must master to function at their best.

Patel provides advice on being a recognized and valued partner who can contribute to developing a positive work atmosphere. This personal development tool will help you learn to take charge of change and produce outcomes that validate your value.

Su Patel owns an HR training and consultancy company after working in HR for a UK store for 27 years.

  1. The Practical Guide to HR Analytics: Using Data to Inform, Transform, and Empower HR Decisions, by Shonna D. Waters, Valerie N. Streets, Lindsay McFarlane, and Rachael Johnson-Murray

Decision-making in HR has never been the same since data access. Remaining competitive requires using analytics to solve issues. HR must thus be aware of its applications and capacities. This book explains how to apply data to solve problems in human resources.

The book teaches how to recognize areas where analytics are valuable. It also teaches how to interpret, apply, and maximize the influence of various analytics and metrics through common business challenges.

Companies employ four layers of data analytics complexity to solve issues, which are described in this HR book. Once you’ve determined the level of your department, you can proceed to the next level by following the instructions.

HR analytics experts wrote the manual without resorting to bewildering mathematical language. Its simple structure makes it easy to understand how to apply data analytics as a useful tool for problem-solving.

  1. Investing in people. Financial Impact of Human Resource Initiatives, by Wayne Cascio and John Boudreau

Cascio and Boudreau employ a highly organized and data-driven methodology when tackling typical HR issues. This book, first released in 2008, delves deeply into several areas of strategic HR measurement.

The first two chapters discuss the well-known “Wall of Boudreau,” which businesses must overcome to move from operational data to analytics.

Despite being extremely technical, the book is still accessible to laypeople. It starts by outlining the fundamentals of sound measurement in HR before examining several case cases. These cover various topics, including engagement, well-being, staff turnover, and absenteeism. A methodical approach is used to examine each subject in depth, and the reader is provided with resources to evaluate the expenses and effects of various actions.

The advantage of reading books for HR

Putting yourself through ongoing learning challenges is crucial for career advancement. One great method to do this is to read books about HR. You obtain knowledge that will enable you to succeed in your HR position by utilizing in-depth data and the novel viewpoints of professionals.

Increasing your expertise, developing fresh concepts, and staying current with the ever-changing HR landscape will help you progress in your career.

Enjoy your reading!

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

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