A Google search may never good enough to give you the knowledge you're looking for. But books can. That's why we have gathered 20 of the best HR books recommended by the HR community to elevate and inspire you.
As an HR professional, it is getting increasingly difficult to keep up with all the latest trends in Human Resources. With the various ways to educate themselves, reading a book is still a significant way to gain knowledge. So, we took it upon ourselves to gather 20 of the best human resources books from famous HR authors recommended by HR Pros. This list covers the best HR books for beginners and HR leaders.
These books will assist you in getting valuable insights and in-depth information regarding several Human Resource management practices ranging from effective recruitment to building and maintaining inclusive company culture.
In no particular order, the best 20 books recommended by HR Pros are:
1. Work Rules!: Insights From Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead (2015)
Author: Laszlo Buck
This book is one of the best HR books available as it shows you how to balance your company's creativity and structure. Laszlo Buck, former VP of Peoples' Operation at Google, wrote in detail about the best HR practices at Google that you can implement at your company.
The book places much emphasis on workplace culture, and it provides practicable examples of how Google has been able to select high performers and exceptional talents continually.
2. HR From The Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources (2012)
Author(s): Dave Ulrich, Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank, Mike Ulrich
In HR From The Outside In, Dave Ulrich and his fellow authors listed the key competencies of a modern HR professional by outlining the importance of capacity building, technology proficiency, and the ability to innovate and integrate.
3. The Essential HR Handbook (2008)
Author(s): Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell
This book covers a couple of trending topics in the present HR industry. The authors address HR operations from recruitment, training to create a diverse and inclusive company culture. The 10th edition was rated in best HR books 2020.
The Essential Handbook is one of the best books for HR professionals.
4. The HR Answer Book (2004)
Author(s): Shawn Smith and Rebecca Mazin
The HR Answer Book is the go-to book for quick answers around HR issues. It provides solutions to over 200 questions every employer needs to deal with, from recruitment to onboarding/offboarding to benefits to training, e.t.c. It is one of the essential HR training books.
It touches on the general HR issues and provides quality insight on employee relations and workplace management.
The HR answer book is easy to read, and its answers range from the most simple to the most complex questions. Therefore, it is excellent quick reference material and easily one of the best books for HR professionals.
"The HR Answer Book provides practical advice to executives and business owners for creating a positive work environment and managing the complex employee issues that routinely arise."
—Zachary T. Julius, Chief Executive Officer, Professional Disposables. International, Inc.
5. Bring Your Human To Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That Is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World (2018)
Author: Erica Keswin
Erica Keswin, a workplace strategist and business coach with 20+ years of experience in consulting and speaking within the HR industry, provides 10 surefire ways you can transform your workplace as an HR professional.
It is one of the insightful books on HR practices that provides practicable guides on building meaningful relationships in the workplace; hence, it is recommended as one of the best books for HR leaders.
6. Human Resource Management (2020)
Author: Gary Dessler
Arguably one of the top HR books to read and study, Human Resource Management by Gary Dessler is widely referred to as the HR Bible and rightly so.
The book includes practical, step-by-step guidelines on the critical cornerstones of HR. It is divided into five parts; recruitment, placement & talent management, training & development, compensation, and employee relations.
Human Resource Management by Gary Dessler is one of the most famous books on human resource management, and it's an insightful must-read for HR professionals.
7. The HR Scorecard (2001)
Author(s): Brian Becker, Mark Huselid, Dave Ulrich
A timeless book. In The HR Scorecard, three experts in Human Resources introduce a measurement system that convincingly showcases how HR impacts business performance. It explains how people, strategies and performances can be linked and quantified.
The book describes how to embed HR systems into a company's overall strategy in seven steps and measure its activities through KPIs and ROIs.
The authors analyze how each element of the HR system can be constructed to strengthen a company's performance and maximize the overall quality of human capital.
8. Victory Through Organization: Why the War for Talent is Failing Your Company and What You Can Do About It (2017)
Author(s): Dave Ulrich, David Kryscynski, Wayne Brockbank, Mike Ulrich
In this exceptional book, Dave Ulrich and his co-authors take a closer look at the function of HR itself. The book is based on a competency study that involves over 30,000 HR Professionals, business leaders, and associates.
Based on the research, Victory Through Organization provides you with everything you need to know how HR can contribute the most value to an organization.
9. HR on Purpose (2017)
Author: Steve Browne
HR on Purpose offers a refreshing insight on HR through an engaging assortment of real-life examples, insights, and epiphanies and encourages practitioners to drop the preconceptions of what HR should be and instead look to what HR could be.
It packs practical advice delivered in a fun way. It is a good HR book to read for HR professionals.
10. Fire Well: How to fire staff so they thank you (2015)
Author: Sue Ingram
There'd be a time you'd be faced with the difficult situation where you'd have to let an employee go or break to them that their performance hasn't been good enough. With HR Expert, Sue Ingram's people management book you can unlock the secrets to effective people management.
Discover how to: Handle important feedback conversations; Motivate individuals to change; Communicate key messages to your team; Work within UK employment law; Fire someone - and have them thank you for it!
11.7 Habits Of Highly Effective People (1989)
Author: Stephen Covey
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, which was named the Number 1 most influential business book of the twentieth century, is one of the best books for HR professionals.
12. Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups (2017)
Author: Daniel Coyle
An essential book that unlocks the secrets of highly successful groups and provides readers with a toolkit for building a cohesive, innovative culture, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code.
13. Investing in people. Financial Impact of Human Resource Initiatives (2008)
Author(s): KirsWayne Cascio, John Boudreau
In this book, Cascio and Boudreau take a well structured and data-driven approach to solve common problems in HR. The book explores strategic HR measurements, and though it is a bit technical, it is still understandable to the layman.
For HR professionals tasked with taking on measurements or any other quantitative HR challenges, this book is a top HR book to read.
14. The Talent Delusion (2017)
Author: Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
The Talent Delusion is an exciting book packed with several scientific facts on how to manage talents. The book covers what talent is (not everyone is talent), what talent isn't, how talent is measured, engaged, developed, and the dark, unpleasant side of talent.
The book provides valuable insights into differentiating talent from fodder and what the future holds for talent in the industry.
15. HR Disrupted: It's Time for Something Different (2017)
Author: Lucy Adams
This book describes what the future holds for HR, how to manage the changes and how to achieve success regardless.
The book explores different methods to manage employees and customers alike in the new normal.
16. Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011)
Author: Daniel Kahneman
Based on extensive research carried out by the author, the book provides a detailed explanation of modern psychology. It explains that there are two systems of thinking that always compete. The first system is the Fast, automatic thinking and the second system is the Slow, logical thinking.
It is an HR-related book that shows you how knowing these systems can either fool you or be helpful to you.
17. How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)
Author: Dale Carnegie.
How To Win Friends and Influence People is an HR-related book and one of the most popular self-help books of all time. Ranking at number 19 on Time's Magazine list of the 100 most influential books, How To Win Friends and Influence People is a must-read for every HR professional.
18. HR Rising!!: From Ownership to Leadership (2020)
Author: Steve Browne
HR Rising is an inspiring book by Steve Browne that provides fresh insights on fostering collaboration, developing credibility, and building trust.
19. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity (2017)
Author: Kim Scott
As a manager or a "boss" in the HR department, finding a balance between being aggressive and showing empathy is very important. Radical Candor, one of the best HR management books, offers a guide on managing bosses and those who manage bosses.
From her wealth of experience earning her stripes at Google and then becoming influential at Apple, the author, Kim Scott, shows managers how to be successful while still maintaining their humanity. The book also about finding excitement in their job and creating a working atmosphere where people love their jobs and colleagues.
20. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (2009)
Author: Simon Sinek
The book was based on the exceptional TED talk Simon Sinek gave years ago, and its message is still as crucial as ever.
Understanding your "Why" gives you the passion and drive to succeed in what you want to do.
Read more from Simon Sinek - Transforming company culture: 5 advice from Simon Sinek.
Relax and read a book
It is important to take time off the hustle and bustle of constant work and observe what's happening around you. Self-help is a way to develop yourself, and gaining knowledge personally doesn't have to stressful; neither should it be a tiresome chore.
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