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17 Best HR Books You Should Read In 2023

Want to keep expanding your knowledge and wondering which books you and your team should be reading in 2023?

Whether you manage people, take a more casual interest in HR, or are an HR professional looking to expand your knowledge base, there are stacks of books you can read to support your interest and learning. We've created a shortlist of some of our favorites right here.

17 Best HR Books For Your Reading List

photo-of-the-essential-hr-handbook-cover

1. The Essential HR Handbook

Authors: Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell

This is one of the top HR strategy books on the market and covers almost every HR topic you can think of. It focuses on best practices with workers, building relationships, and traversing HR problems in a complicated business world. It’s a great go-to manual for all levels of HR professionals.

work rules book cover

2. Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

Author: Laszlo Bock

One of the best human resource management books available, this book shows you how to balance company creativity and structure. Build a better company internally rather from the top down using Google as the undisputed example of how it works. It may answer the question of “What will the role of HR look like in the future?” Google is ahead of the curve and leading the way. This book gets you on track for the future.

unleashing the power of diversity book cover

3. Unleashing the Power of Diversity

Author: Bjorn Z. Ekelund

In an ever changing world of diversity in the workforce, this book highlights how to make sure your company is working to improve communication between people from various cultural experiences. Learning to break barriers to unification and trust is at the forefront of this book’s mission. It helps HR make sure that diversity is viable and sustainable.

rituals for work book cover

4. Rituals for Work: 50 Ways to Create Engagement, Shared Purpose, and a Culture that Can Adapt to Change

Authors: Kursat Ozenc and Margaret Hagan

This book offers some newer HR knowledge around rituals and how they can benefit the workplace, creating meaning and connecting people. It supports HR goals to make teams stronger, achieve company goals, and create e a cohesive company culture.

people processes book cover

5. People Processes: How Your People Can Be Your Organization’s Competitive Advantage

Author: Rhamy Alejeal

This is a book for the HR professional who is still bogged down in paperwork. Its goal is to show how software makes HR easier and more effective. It offers a map to get you from the point of researching a Human Resources management structure to being up and running in under four months.

people analytics for dummies book cover

6. People Analytics for Dummies

Author: Mike West

This is one of the greatest HR strategy books for beginning human resources professionals or those who want to start using analytics to enhance their HR strategies. It shows that various data can assist in pointing you in the right direction on a hire, improve employee motivation, and maintain workers satisfied.

the drama free workplace book cover

7. The Drama-Free Workplace

Author: Patti Perez

While drama should be avoided through human resources best practice, some things may slip in under the radar every so often and they need to be dealt with swiftly. This book helps HR make sure there is little chance of issues occurring and if they do, how best to nip them in the bud. Communication and compliance are at the front of the discussion in this book.

bring your human to work book cover

8. Bring Your Human to Work

Author: Erica Keswin

When so many books focus on technology and upgrading in HR, this book talks about one of the biggest HR needs of all: creating a more comfortable workplace. Building relationships so the company can do well and employees are happy is essential for success. This is one of the best selling books 2019 as named by the Wall Street Journal.

the hr answer book cover

9. The HR Answer Book

Authors: S. Smith and R. Mazin

This is the go-to book for quick answers around HR issues. It is easy to read, concise and offers guidance on all issues found in HR. Answers range from the simple to the complex, making it a great quick reference book for everyone interested in HR or are working in the field. It is one of the books for HR professionals that should be kept in the HR libraries.

talent keepers book cover

10. Talent Keepers: How Top Leaders Engage and Retain Their Best Performers

Authors: Christopher Mulligan and Craig Taylor

This is one of the best human resource books when it comes to trying to improve employee engagement and retention. It gives suggestions for invigorating your employees and keeping those who are great for the organization. Its suggestions help keep those essential people in the company to help build success.

culture decks decoded book cover

11. Culture Decks Decoded: Transform Your Culture into a Visible, Conscious and Tangible Asset

Author: Bretton Putter

This book looks at the culture decks from top-ranking companies to highlight the ways to create a company culture that benefits your place of work, helping all employees maximize their abilities.

performance management for dummies book cover

12. Performance Management for Dummies

Author: Herman Aguinis

Another “Dummies” book for the beginner and professional, this book helps outline the basics and supports the refinement of a current performance management system. It highlights the benefits of doing performance management online.

hr-on-purpose-book-cover

13. HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion

Author: Steve Browne

The HR team is often overworked and overwhelmed. This HR book by the owner of the blog EverydayPeople is about making HRs more accessible to people who need them the most. The book reminds HR team members of their passion for helping, serving, and leading team members through real-life examples, case studies, epiphanies, and observations. It offers a fresh perspective and encourages you to avoid overlooking passion and career development in the daily grind of administrative tasks.

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14. HR Transformation: Building Human Resources from the Outside In

Author: Dave Ulrich

This book offers HR professionals a new way of thinking. It encourages HR professionals and leadership teams to collaborate and achieve business goals by bringing systems, strategies, and human capital together. The four-phase model of transformation presented by Dave Ulrich and his team of authors serves as a tangible blueprint for enterprises worldwide.

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15. HR Disrupted: It’s Time for Something Different

Author: Lucy Adams

Talent management is tough. To engage, lead, support, and influence people in a dynamic business environment, HR leaders need to optimize HR practices by making changes that truly make a difference. This book is based on the EACH ( Employees as Adults, Consumers, and Human Beings) principle. The book encourages enterprises to recognize traditional human resource initiatives and offers practical ideas, tools, and ways to help them make radical changes.

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16. Start with Why

Author: Simon Sinek

HR leaders must inspire their team to become great leaders. This practical guide emphasizes the need to understand and decode the why behind business goals, strategies, and decisions. The goal? To help the HR industry build a productive and creative workforce that will contribute to their organization’s success.

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17. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Author: Kim Scott

Manipulation, insincere empathy, or aggressive HR management plague the industry and give professionals a bad rep. It’s important for HR to be calm and kind since HR has a direct impact on workplace culture and employee satisfaction. Being calm and considerate isn’t always easy, and that’s why this book can help. Reading this book empowers HRs and business leaders to care about their work, share constructive feedback, and be open to criticism from team members.

Need More?

If you need more suggestions for HR books for beginners or other leadership and organizational development tips, sign up for the People Managing People newsletter. We’ll guide you through HR issues when you have doubts with tips, tricks, and support along the way, with insight from experienced people managers.

Some further resources to help you on your HR journey:

By Tim Reitsma

Tim is the co-founder and General Manager of People Managing People, an online publication focused on building a better world of work. He is experienced with people & culture, leadership, business strategy and operations with a focus on building great teams who are excited about their craft and their organization. With over 15 years of leadership experience, Tim has always been guided by his core values: faith, family, curiosity, and fun. He is a coach, mentor, speaker, advisor, and an active volunteer in his community. Tim loves spending time outdoors with his wife and two kids as well as mountain biking in the north shore mountains.

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