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 list of some of our favorites right here.
28 Best HR Books For Your Reading List
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. A great go-to manual for HR professionals of all levels.
2. Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World’s Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations
Author: Josh Bersin
Josh Bersin needs no introduction in the word of business, leadership, and HR. His latest book distills decades of research into seven foundational principles for building enduring organizations.
The principles cover how organizations should be structured and the most effective methods of engaging and developing employees.
It’s replete with examples of Bersin’s work with HR leaders and business execs from around the world, and includes practical tips to help with implementing the concepts.
3. Remote Not Distant: Design a Company Culture That Will Help You Thrive in a Hybrid Workplace
Autor: Gustavo Razzetti
Remote and hybrid working is here to stay and we’re huge proponents. This best-seller from Gustavo Razzetti, CEO of Fearless Culture and creator of the famous Culture Design Canvas, provides a roadmap to help organizations succeed in this new environment.
It covers how to keep teams connected and improve collaboration, build psychologically safety and, of course, how to build culture remotely (hint: your office was never your culture anyway).
4. Diversity in the Workplace: Eye-Opening Interviews to Jumpstart Conversations about Identity, Privilege, and Bias
Author: Bärí A. Williams
Creating more diverse and equitable organizations will benefit workers, employers, and wider society. But, in order to do this, it’s important for companies to understand the experiences of diverse employee in the workplace.
This powerful book from business attorney and startup advisor, Bärí A. Williams, features 25 interviews from individuals from marginalized groups who share what life is like for them in the American workplace. These interviews are split into five groups: race, gender, LGBTQ+, ability and age and religtion and culture.
The poignant interviews will help you gain an empathetic understanding of these topics, and the book also features tips on how to have progressive conversations with colleagues and come to grips with issues such as unconscious bias.
5. Built for People: Transform Your Employee Experience Using Product Management Principles
Author: Jessica Zwaan
We’re big fans of Jessica here at People Managing People and we were excited when she told us she’s going to turn one of her popular articles into a whole book!
Jessica approaches talent management like product teams approach customer satisfaction. She views employees as ‘customers’ of the employee experience, or the ‘product’ that someone signs up to when they decide to join your company.
This forward-thinking, practical book takes you through this way of thinking to run experiments like a world-class product team and ultimately boost hiring, retention and productivity.
6. Effective Hiring: Mastering the Interview, Offer, and Onboarding (The Paul Falcone Workplace Leadership Series)
Author: Paul Falcone
As you’re no doubt aware, recruitment is one of the trickiest of HR’s responsibilities. Then, once you’ve convinced someone to join, you’ve got to 1) convince them they made the right decision and 2) get them up to speed and productive as soon as possible.
Here Falcone walks you through the challenges you’re going to face during these delicate stages of the employee life cycle, including advice on interviewing, assessing candidates and guiding them through onboarding.
7. Redefining HR: Transforming People Teams to Drive Business Performance
Author: Lars Schmidt
Another forward-thinking book from a forward-thinking HR professional. In Redefining HR, Schmidt provides an in-depth guide into what goes into a modern HR function and lays out a practical framework of progressive ideas and practices.
He draws on his experiences working at some of the world’s most progressive and successful companies, including Hubspot, Reddit, and Stripe, covering topics such as diversity and inclusion, people analytics, learning and development, and employee experience.
8. Fully Staffed: The Definitive Guide to Finding & Keeping Great Employees in the Worst Labor Market Ever
Author: Eric Chester
It used to be the case where employers held all the cards when it came to recruitment, but that balance of power switched in recent times.
Needless to say, the recruitment tactics of yesteryear won’t work, and there needs to be much more thought but into areas such as recruitment marketing and employer branding.
In Fully Staffed, Chester will take you through what it takes to build a modern employer brand, advertise your jobs to modern jobseekers, leverage untapped talent pools and communities, and optimize your onboarding and retention.
9. Agile HR: Deliver Value in a Changing World of Work
Authors: Natal Dank and Riina Hellström
Agile is prevalent project management methodology in tech world and, as Dank and Hellström argue, HR professional and teams can use it too.
They take you through why and how HR professionals and teams can break out of the traditional ways of thinking about delivering HR services to a more ‘customer’-focused, iterative approach.
This is a practical guide to help you develop agile processes and practices that save time, boost performance, and support overall business objectives.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. People Processes: How Your People Can Be Your Organization’s Competitive Advantage
Author: Rhamy Alejeal
This is a book for the HR professional who are 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.
14. 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 teaches you how to collect and manipulate data to assist in hiring, productivity and employee engagement.
15. The Drama-Free Workplace
Author: Patti Perez
While drama can 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 professionals minimize the chances 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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 HR and business leaders to care about their work, share constructive feedback, and be open to criticism from team members.
26. It Depends: Employee Relations Case Studies for Human Resources Students and Professionals Paperback
Author: Angela Champ
This book deals in the often grey area that is HR and employee relations, hence the name “It Depends”.
Here Champ has compiled a collection of case studies to demonstrate how different circumstances, contexts, or cultures and laws can affect the outcome of any scenario.
It gives you 3 different scenarios, each of one case, and then asks you what your response would be. The aim is to challenge preconceptions and encourage discussion to learn how to get to the best outcome possible.
It’s a must-read for for Human Resources students or any professional looking to increase their employee relations skills.
27. Employees Gone Wild: Crazy (and True!) Stories of Office Misbehavior, and What You Can Learn From the Mistakes of Others
Author: Richard Burton
An enticing title if there ever was, Burton is a former attorney hired by companies to represent them when their employees go a bit cray-cray.
These tales will shock you, but that’s not the aim of the book. Burton also provides practical advice about what to do in such scenarios so you don’t fall into the same pitfalls.
We’re sure you have some stories you could add to this anthology!
28. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, Third Edition
Authors: Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, Emily Gregory
Skilled communication is important in any profession but especially in HR. This popular book will teach you how to communicate more confidentyly and effectively, for example being more persuasive, keep dialogue productive, and reamin calm when the stakes are high.
Useful for the workplace and in everyday life!
Enjoy curling up with some of the above books to inspire you and help you gain ideas and knowledge to provide more value to our organization.
Some further resources to help you on your HR journey:
- The 25 Best HR Certification Courses
- Top HR Podcasts Of 2023
- 68 Top HR Experts To Learn From
- Key Human Resources Responsibilities: Creating Happier, Healthier Workplaces
- How Will AI Impact Human Resources?
- The 10 Best HR Software
- 11 Key HR Trends And Emerging Practices
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