35+ Best HR Books to Read in 2023
We have carefully curated a list of must-read HR books based on reviews by HR management. This list will help HRs to upgrade their knowledge throughout their career journey.
A Visual Guide to The Best Books for Human Resources
- HR Books for Beginners
- Best Performance Coaching Books
- HR Books to Grow as an HR Professional
- HRM Books on Employee Experience
- HR Books to Help You Transition into a Strategic HR Professional
- Best HR Books on Compensation Management
- HR Books to Convert Yourself into a Recruitment Champion
- Best Inspirational HR books for HRM Professionals
- HR Books on Building Organization Strategy
- HR Books to Measure your Contribution in an Organization
- HR Books on Learning and Development
HR Books for Beginners
About to kick off your HR voyage? These are a few of the books to familiarize you with HR basics, and you can't skip these:
Talent Management Handbook
By Lance A. Berger and Dorothy R. Berger
Lance A. Berger, the CEO, and Dorothy R. Berger are partners at Lance A. Berger & Associates, Ltd. Being at the top for once is easy but staying at the top in the business world is difficult. The book “Talent Management Handbook” describes the most innovative ideas, latest tools, and technologies available to help HRs. It will help them to launch a fully functioning talent management program that will power them and their workforce to boost their performance. This book is found helpful to CEOs and Business Executives. It features the best practices and contributions from experts at leading HR consultancies. It comprises key insights from renowned HR thought leaders and CEOs.
Their "Talent Management Handbook" is geared toward CEOs and other corporate executives.
HR from the Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources
By Dave Ulrich, Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank, Mike Ulrich
This book enables HR teams to act as business executives to make the most of their role. Dave Ulrich and his team have produced the most comprehensive set of HR competencies in their book, “HR from the Outside In”. It provides tools and ideas that help HR leaders and entrepreneurs to act as business executives and seize unique opportunities. HR professionals can make a significant impact with this comprehensive guide. This book also delivers real-life examples, new thought-provoking insights, and case studies.
Investing in People: Financial Impact of Human Resource Initiatives
By Wayne Cascio, John Boudreau
The main thing that runs the business is Human Resources. HRs in an organization are undervalued, rarely recognized, and appreciated. They are the base of any firm to gain success in the business. Human Resource Management is the expertise of Wayne Cascio and John Boudreau is known for his breakthrough research on the bridge between talent, superior capital, and competitive advantage. Their collaborative work “Investing in People” have explained a logical, proven framework for evaluating the economic value of HR Investments and analyzing the HR ‘Black box’. This book gives the best practice techniques for evaluating the value of Talent Management, and employee engagement for HR executives and HR leaders.
HR Books to Grow as an HR Professional
Once you have got a grasp of the fundamentals, it's time to penetrate further into the domain. Let's get started with these books:
HR Rising: From ownership to leadership
By Steve Browne
Steve Browne, the author of the book is an HR thought leader. The book “HR Rising: From ownership to leadership” is a much-anticipated follow-up to the SHRM best-seller HR on Purpose. The work of an HR in an organization goes unnoticed. He mainly addresses HR leaders in this book. In the book, he delivers fresh insights for fostering collaboration, building relationships, and trust in the workplace. The book makes the practitioners inspect the improvements that the HRs are making in an organization.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
By Dale Carnegie
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” is one of the classic works of Dale Carnegie which has touched millions of readers’ hearts. Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication. One of the duties of HR Managers is to maintain relationships with the staff and people, which isn’t that easy. The principles Carnegie laid out in this book, originally written as a practical, working manual on human relations, remain relevant today. It helps HR Managers to handle people positively, to gain people’s favor, to make people like them, and reciprocate. Dale Carnegie’s advice persists for generations because it addresses timeless questions about interpersonal relationships.
Predictive HR Analytics: Mastering the HR Metric
By Martin R. Edwards, Kristen Edwards
The HR of an organization deals with the employee’s engagement, motivation, and well-being. It is often overlooked. It requires a lot of skill and measurement. Martin R and Kirsten Edward’s “Predictive HR Analytics” demonstrates how to analyze employee involvement, performance, and turnover data using the statistical package SPSS (with R syntax included). To keep up with the competition, businesses need this book. The book provides the metrics that business executives can use to make sound business decisions, helping businesses to deliver credible and reliable service. Using the results, readers can develop effective evidence-based HR strategies.
HR Books to Help You Transition into a Strategic HR Professional
HR is a function not restricted to people management, but they must play an active role in building strategy. For example, they create frameworks and link people management with long-term business goals. For making realistic plans, HR should have a stronghold on business.
Solving the Productivity Puzzle: How to Engage, Motivate and Develop Employees to Improve Individual and Business Performance
By Tim Ringo
To be successful in organizational growth, the employees in an organization must stay engaged and productive. However, disengagement and motivational issues have left employees feeling that they lack the skills and support to excel at their jobs. Tim Ringo’s “Solving the Productivity Puzzle” helps you solve that by offering advice on tracking and assessing productivity, taking advantage of opportunities, and using new technologies. It is useful for HR Managers, HR coordinators, and Employee Relation Managers as they can put this book to use to advance their performance to the next level.
Redefining HR: Transforming People teams to Drive Business Performance
By Lars Schmidt, Katelin Holloway
The author puts forward an “employee-first” approach that specifies how important it is for an organization to invest in its employees and managers. He is the founder of “Amplify” and has been helping top businesses with building teams and improving performance. This book introduces the HR professionals and managers with the concept of ‘Modern HR’. By throwing light on the significance of people analytics and data, he explains how by redefining HR functions a manager can cut costs and improve performance. With the help of Modern HR, a manager can redefine recruitment, talent management, and performance via case studies and frameworks.
Victory Through Organization
By Dave Ulrich, David Kryscynski, Wayne Brockbank and Mike Ulrich
“Victory Through Organization” says that an HR’s role doesn’t end by recruiting talent. One of the main roles of HRs has to do with what they do with the talent and how they use this talent to achieve victory in the organization. This book provides tools and practices from expert management consultants and strategic HR planners. When implemented, the resources are fully utilized and the contributions to the organization’s victory are optimized. This book acts as a guide to those who want to leverage an employee’s talent. It also helps build an HR department that delivers quantifiable business value and empowers employees to gain a competitive edge in the market.
HR Disrupted: It's Time for Something Different
By Lucy Adams
Times are changing and in this modern era, managing and satisfying employees needs a newer approach. Lucy Adams, who was the HR director at BBC, had grown tired of tackling HR problems in a traditional way and wanted to innovate new ways to tackle the problems. So, in her book “HR Disrupted” she explains how the old performance reviews sometimes fail to improve an employee's performance, feedback sessions occasionally degrade an employee’s morale, and how employee engagement activities always do not improve behavior. This book provides the solution to this disrupted world – which is treating employees not as something that is of transactional value to the organization but treating them as ‘humans’.
HR Books to Convert Yourself into a Recruitment Champion
To get expertise in your respective HR field, read these books and obtain specialization in these areas:
Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling
By Jeb Blount
Jeb Blount is a Sales Acceleration Specialist who has been recognized as one of the World’s Top Social Selling Influencers by Forbes. He has helped leading businesses with reaching their peak performance fast in sales by training, leadership, and optimizing talent. This book claims that a Fanatical Prospector is more successful than a Master Closer. “Fanatical Prospecting” is the best guide for salespeople and entrepreneurs who have lost their shine in the field of sales and prospecting. By reading this, one can gain their footing in sales prospecting by handling objections and resistance from customers, gaining more appointments, starting more sales conversations, and closing more sales.
Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People
By Mark Miller
“Talent Magnet” discusses the whole struggle to win the talent war which is shown from the perspective of a CEO. This situation is further worsened as employees no longer want high salaries but work in a culture that facilitates learning and growth. Mark, who has 20 years of experience in serving leaders across various organizations, also sheds light on the other side of the spectrum, highlighting the horrors of ad hoc recruitment processes of a few organizations. As the Vice President of High-Performance leadership at Chick-Fil-A, he also draws a parallel between the ones seeking jobs and the ones offering jobs while offering tips to bridge the gap between them.
The Talent Delusion
By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Thomas is an organizational psychologist and is currently a professor of business psychology at University College London. The author implies that talent is a social construction created to make a future prediction about an individual's performance on a task, job, or role. He states four basic principles which can be used to classify talent across any domain of work, career, and occupation: The Rule of the Vital Few (80-20 rule), The Rule of Maximum Performance (consistent performers), The Rule of Effortless Performance (recognize effortless performers), The Rule of Personality in the Right Place (strive in the natural habitat).
HR Books on Building Organization Strategy
Once you have got a grasp of the fundamentals, it's time to penetrate further into the domain. Let's get started with these books:
Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture That Wins the Hearts of Customers
By Dee Ann Turner
Just selecting talent is not enough, retaining talent gives you a competitive advantage. Dee, a veteran at Chick-fill-A and the Vice President of Talent, shares the principles she learned, practiced, and taught about creating and growing a remarkable culture. This book introduces the HRs, leaders, and entrepreneurs to the secret to building a great talent system. She states that changes in any culture begin at the top of the organization. This book also gives the recipe for building a remarkable organizational culture: Why (Purpose)+What (Mission)+How (Values and guiding principles). Integrity and the freedom to commit mistakes are to be added to your value system to build the best culture.
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't
By Jim C. Kollin
Jim, a researcher, speaker, and consultant advocates the motto, “Good is the enemy of Great.” This book captures the journey of a company from being good to becoming great. To build something World class, “Good to Great” gives a set of well-defined strategies and practices. Every company needs to find its Hedgehog concept, adopt new technologies and confront uncomfortable truths. A hedgehog concept is something unique to your organization. Try adopting new technologies only when it helps the company grow. These points would help you steer past your competitors and build a great company.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
By Patrick Lencioni
Patrick presents the concept of efficient teamwork through the lens of a struggling Silicon Valley which has a promising team with the best investors and well-qualified executives but lacks teamwork. As a thought leader and the architect of the concept of organizational health, this book advocates the concept of efficient teamwork as the key to building a great company. The book teaches HRs a few invaluable lessons to build a great functional team. It speaks about discussing uncomfortable topics openly and accepting common organizational goals.
HR Books on Learning and Development
Let’s understand what businesses can do to encourage professional development among their employees:
Agile Transformation: Structures, Processes and Mindsets for the Digital Age
By Neil Perkin
The book is built around the simple principle, “think big, start small and scale fast.” Neil, the founder of Only Dead Fish, which is a digital and media consultancy, shows how to transform an organization into a new type of business to survive and become more innovative in the present and last in the future. The book helps leaders and managers create the right agile transformation by being active, responsive, and continuous learners. It creates a universe woven around theories, insights, practical examples, and case studies to transform an organization.
Design for How People Learn
By Julie Dirksen
The training activities in today’s organizations are ineffective, boring, and have a flawed sense of purpose. Julie, an independent consultant and instructional designer with 15+ years of experience, helped many tech startups create a highly interactive e-learning experience. The book dives deeper into a learner's journey from the perspective of both a learner and an instructional designer. She simplifies the learning experience by dividing the learning process into nine different steps. “Design For How People Learn” helps trainers and HRs in developing a learning-centric approach by bridging the gap between the instructor and learners. Adopting a problem-centric approach and developing a better understanding of the learner’s difficulties will hook the learners to your content.
The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Ideas into Practice
By Karl M. Kapp
In an organizational workplace, most HRs often struggle with making learning and training more engaging for the employees. These learning procedures and work activities can be turned into something the employees look forward to. Karl, who is a learning expert and a designer of instructional games, explains that this can be achieved by adopting a game system. In this book, there are detailed steps and worksheets an HR can implement to design games for: employee onboarding, training employees, and forming teams, to remove boredom. HR practitioners and leaders can also set leaderboards and reward systems like badges and scores to increase team performance.
Best Performance Coaching Books
To guide and develop action plans for your employees to move ahead in their career with appropriate upskilling advice, you must prepare yourself first, with these books:
Measure What Matters
By John E. Doerr
John E. Doerr is a venture capitalist and discovered OKRs as an engineer at Intel. He introduced OKRs to the founders of Google, who had no business plan, and the startup’s total share value exceeded $600 billion. In “Measure What Matters” John Doerr encourages the top hierarchy and managers to set ambitious goals and subsequently tying them with key results to measure their progress. This book also introduces a performance management technique to increase creativity and retention called CFRs (Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition) by transforming work culture. It also suggests proven techniques for team management. This book perfectly intertwines ideas, goals, and ambitions with execution, tracking, and growth.
By M. Tamra Chandler, Laura Grealish
The word ‘feedback’ can make anyone break out in a cold sweat, especially if heard from a manager. It is mostly associated with self-doubt and self-criticism. The book “Feedback” challenges the traditional performance review process by addressing current organizational challenges and providing research-backed lessons from real work experiences. Tamra and Laura, who work for PeopleFirm and have expertise in talent management and management consultation, undeniably deliver the value of this book. They acquaint the readers with strategies for developing workplace relationships and put forward various conversation models. This is a valuable source for organizational leaders and HR managers who are ready to change the way feedback is sought.
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, Stephen R. Covey
“Crucial Conversations” is a book that talks about the high-stakes conversations with your boss, supervisor, or a co-worker that can many times lead to a negative impact regardless of the intent and can occasionally make matters worse. The authors who work for VitalSmarts, a training and management consulting firm, help managers, leaders, and employees with people management and interpersonal skills. To avoid saying things that we might regret, especially when hurt or in a fit of anger, this book teaches about fixing goals and how negotiation works.
Additionally, it offers applicable ideas, basic principles, and practices that can be followed in crucial conversations.
HRM Books on Employee Experience
Employee experience is more than what it looks on the surface. Creating a meaningful, collaborative and supportive work culture is not enough. These books will guide you to understand the depth of the process:
The Culture Code
By Daniel Coyle
Even the most talented and creative team can be the most underperforming. To tackle this, Daniel introduces the principle of belongingness. He works as a special advisor to Cleveland Guardians and has worked as a special advisor to many businesses including Google and Microsoft. “The Culture Code” is enriched with information about team cohesion and draws a connection between organizational culture and team performance. The book is an excellent resource for managers and entrepreneurs as it provides a step-by-step guide to building a high performing team. It also lays out effective principles, which when implemented, can make an organization’s culture the primary driver of results in a business.
Build it: The Rebel Playbook for World-Class Employee Engagement
By Glenn Elliott, Debra Corey
HRs are commonly believed to be associated with overseeing administrative tasks related to recruitment and firing while also managing company policies. However, there have been companies like Apple, Southwest Airlines, and many more that have always disrupted the market and outperformed other companies. “Build It” introduces an Engagement Bridge™ model that helps managers and leaders examine the areas where they need to build a highly engaged culture. As global reward experts and someone who has been assisting McDonalds and KMPG with employee engagement, the authors also help in designing reward strategies. With their book, an organization can break the rules of the traditional HR system and rebel against the status quo.
Culture Decks Decoded
By Bretton Putter
Bretton Putter founded CultureGene, a consultancy services business, to aid companies in designing and building strong, functional cultures. Since HRs are the intermediary between employees and top management, they can turn an organizational culture into a powerful strategic asset. “Culture Decks Decoded” can also be referred to as a useful tool to learn about how other companies have created their own unique culture and the environment they have established for their employees. This book will help entrepreneurs and managers in creating their own culture deck which can be shared online when recruiting or attracting talent. A culture deck can be created by helping the HRs understand their own culture to retain talent, enhance job satisfaction, and gain actionable insights.
Best HR Books on Compensation Management
Compensation plays an important role in employee retention and talent management. Setting up the right compensation planning for the employees is an art, and these books are the artists in the field:
The Compensation Handbook: A State-Of-The-Art Guide to Compensation Strategy and Design
By Lance A. Berger, Dorothy R. Berger
One of the main aspects HR deals with is compensation management and employee benefits. In this fast-growing economy where retaining highly qualified employees is a challenge, “The Compensation Handbook” contains tools and methods for the above predicament. The step-by-step solutions will enable any compensation professional or HR to create a defined compensation strategy. This handbook provides suggestions to design strategies for rewards, employee-pay, and attracting talent. The authors are compensation and talent management consultants who also give helpful advice on designing team-based incentives and appraisal programs.
Strategic Compensation: A Human Resource Management Approach
By Joseph J. Martocchio
“Strategic Compensation” is useful for HR practitioners as it provides compensation practices that can be used to design employee benefits and pay. It also talks about retaining employees by developing a compensation system that can attract potential employees. Joseph, who undertook various projects on strategic HR issues for the campus, suggests compensation strategies via support course material and action-based activities that can support business strategies. As a professor of HRM, he also advises on how an HR can fit compensation function into their department.
Best Inspirational HR books for HRM Professionals
Once you have acquired all the industry-specific knowledge, it's time to focus on scaling up:
The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes
By William Ury
William Ury is known for his work as a negotiation advisor and a mediator in conflicts across the globe. This book agrees that during negotiations there are instances when a person may not be able to convince the other person with their ‘No.’ “The Power of a Positive No” teaches negotiators and managers to first articulate their ‘Yes’ i.e., their values, goals, ethics, and principles. Subsequently, it then suggests how to say ‘No’ politely and with grace to preserve the relationship.
High Output Management
By Andrew S. Grove
Andrew S. Grove, a former chairman and CEO of Intel, advocates the motto, “Let chaos rein, then rein in chaos.” He sums up the art of being an entrepreneur and maintaining business in a single word – managing. This book suggests ways for managers to increase their output by introducing the key concepts of production principles in a manufacturing unit. Additionally, it provides detailed insights on how to increase the productivity of anything influenced by the manager's expertise.
Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast & Fair
By Malone Scott
Nobody likes to work in a hostile work environment that has bias, bullying, unfairness, discrimination, and sexual assaults. “Just Work” contains real incidents the author faced in various work environments in her life. In this book she provides tools, practical scenarios, and actionable systems for each specific situation, both from an employee and managerial perspective. This book is a valuable resource for managers or leaders who want to eliminate injustice to create a fair and just work environment.
Unleashing Capacity: The Hidden Human Resources
By Rita Trehan
Long gone are the days when HR worked within standard contractual and administrative roles. “Unleashing Capacity” talks about how HR can add impact to business solutions and how they can unleash an organization’s true capacity. It accomplishes this by discussing the need for CEOs to listen to the role that HR can play in driving change. As someone who has founded Dare Worldwide and delivered transformative projects for global firms like Coca Cola as a strategist, the author introduces a four-phase capacity model. This enables HR to earn a seat at the CEO’s table as a right-hand advisor.
Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead
By Laszlo Bock
Laszlo led Google’s people function, during which Google was named the best company to work for. “Work Rules!” lays down the importance of culture-building in a company. It discusses HR practices, and how to build a creative and high-freedom culture. The book will help HRs and organizational leaders build their own blueprint to people operating systems i.e., hiring, talent acquisition, retainment, feedback, compensation, etc. It also explains how people free from corporate restraints are happier, able to perform better, and able to bring in more results.
Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
By Dave Logan, John King, Halee Fischer-Wright
This is a perfect book for those who want to build a tribe linked with a shared goal or culture. The authors, who specialize in strategy and performance, reveal in their book, “Tribal Leadership” that every tribe is at one of the five tribal stages. After identifying the tribal stage, an HR or entrepreneur can take on the role of a tribal leader and either build it from the ground up or upgrade them. This will, in turn, improve team performance and employee satisfaction.
The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth
By Amy C. Edmondson
Sometimes, employees are afraid of speaking up because they do not want to be seen in a bad light. It could be about bullying, suggestions for organization, harassment, and so on. Amy, who has devoted 20 years to understanding psychological safety in organizations, provides solutions for this. She presents the HRs and leaders with scenario-based examples, practical advice, and a step-by-step framework they can take to help employees face fear and speak up in the workplace. When an organization is free from fear, creativity and workplace relationships bloom.
HR Books to Measure your Contribution in an Organization
This complete journey of you as an HR has been associated with learning and implementing new strategies and inspiring and improving business growth and people processes. Let's associate and access the contributions created so far:
The HR Scorecard: Linking People, Strategy, and Performance
By Brian E. Becker, Mark A. Huselid, Dave Ulrich, David Horton, Mark Huselid
For decades, most organizations have believed that HRs do not add to the company strategy. “The HR Scorecard” suggests that HRs should have a seat at the leadership table. To earn this, they can provide the leaders with data about how employee recruitment and employee development are not only costs for the organization but an investment that will benefit their organizational strategies. This strategic alignment can be achieved by creating an HR scorecard in just seven steps.
The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action
By Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton
“The Balanced Scorecard” helps break down the objectives, measure them at every stage, and helps with communication of strategic objectives. A business can attain this by creating its own Balanced Scorecard. The authors, who are management consultants and professors at Harvard Business School, have designed four important business perspectives. These can be assessed by defining four crucial factors which are objectives, measures, targets, and initiatives.
Competing on analytics
By Thomas Davenport
“Competing on Analytics” introduces a five-stage model of analytical competition which helps in becoming an analytical competitor by creating new strategies. As a senior advisor to Deloitte Analytics, the author explains that to become an analytical competitor, one must define the organization’s distinctive and strategic capability and use analytics to support it. These analytics can be applied in two domains: Internal (HR, Research and development, manufacturing, and financial) and external (customer and supplier).
Data Driven HR: How to Use Analytics and Metrics to Drive Performance by Bernard Marr, Kogan Page
By Bernard Marr
There is a misleading perception that HRs have nothing to do with data and numbers. “Data-Driven HR” refutes this claim by explaining how HRs have access to substantial amounts of data.
Additionally, they can turn this data into the most powerful insights that can contribute to the organization’s success. The author, who is a strategic advisor to leading businesses, suggests strategies for how an HR’s key functions can be contributed to leveraging business performance. With this book, a manager can also improve decision-making by redefining recruitment, performance management, training, and so on.
The Power of People: How Successful Organizations Use Workforce Analytics To Improve Business Performance
By Nigel Guenole, Jonathan Ferrar, Sheri Feinzig
The authors, working as executive consultants at IBM, help HRs develop an analytical mindset to sustain success. They accomplish this through their book by providing frameworks, insights, and case studies of over sixty interviews. These can help understand how leading businesses define their workforce analytics. This book discusses establishing metrics for performance measurement and improvement. “The Power of People” is a valuable resource for people who want to learn about data management, skill building, technology usage, etc.
HR Books and Beyond..
With the changing workforce, HRs will have to continuously evolve themselves to adapt to the modern workforce. The books listed above are a perfect starting point for beginners as well as for professionals who want to stay on top of their game. They equip the readers with actionable insights, frameworks, and tips. If you need more insights into the current and evolving HR terminology, you can refer to the HR Glossary that has 500+ key terms! We also have a vast collection of interview questions, email templates, job descriptions, and many more in our HR Toolkit.