top hr books to read

Must-Read HR Books For Human Resource Manager in 2021

Depending on business type and industry size, HR principles and values vary from company to company. Although the implementation of HR policies has its own very unique configuration and challenges. This blog shares the top 10 HR books to read that help perfect your administration and hopefully overcome the common obstacles.

The employee satisfaction rate of an organization directly impacts its bottom line. If your employees are happy with the management and working culture, they will put their best effort to make the company successful. And HR leaders can play a vital part in providing a compelling workplace.

Whether you are an experienced HR professional or just about to start your career, it’s important to keep yourself updated with available HR techniques as well as possible future advancements. Fortunately, there are so many resources and learning tools available online to learn about peoples’ psychology and how to sync them inside a particular working culture.

However, if you want something more substantial, a good book might be one of the best options available to you. But you may get confused with thousands of options and recommendations. Perhaps our list of the best HR books helps you find the right one for your needs.

Preface of The 10 Popular HR Books to Read

We’ve prepared the list considering the writer’s expertise, topic relevance, ratings, publish date, and ability to add value to HR Management in a business.

HR Books for Beginners:

  • The Practical Guide to HR Analytics: Using Data to Inform, Transform, and Empower HR Decisions by Valerie Streets
  • Belonging At Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take to Cultivate an Inclusive Organization by Rhodes Perry MPA
  • Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, Sixth Edition: Getting Good People to Stay by Talya Bauer
  • HR from the Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources by Dave Ulrich

HR Books for Growing Your Leadership Skills:

  • Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Help You Live and Lead, by Laszlo Bock
  • The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded by Michael D. Watkins
  • Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

HR Books for Understanding Advanced HR Policies:

  • The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth by Amy C. Edmondson
  • The Essential HR Handbook, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional by Sharon Armstrong
  • HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion by Steve Browne

Each book in this list has at least 4 or more stars on Amazon and comes from experienced professionals from this field, leaders, or educators. These books cover the different areas of human resources from the basics to higher-level methodologies.

You can also check the list of- Top 10 ERP Books to Help You Make Better Resource Planning

10 Must Read HR Books for All HR Proffessionals

The Practical Guide to HR Analytics: Using Data to Inform, Transform, and Empower HR Decisions

The Practical Guide to HR Analytics

Author: Shonna D. Waters, Valerie Streets, Rachael Johnson-Murray, Lindsay McFarlane

First Published Date: 2018

Latest Edition: 1st

By reading this book you’ll learn the process to measure employee value using facts, figures, and statistics. Here you’ll find topics incorporated with statistical principles and theory. Also, shows effective ways to apply those principles. Besides, it helps you learn HR analytics and how it’ll benefit your business. The writers select the topic of the book targetting both HR leaders and generalists.

The Practical Guide to HR Analytics explains how to collect and organize HR data. And later use that information to optimize findings and outline the next steps. As bonus writers add a section called “From SHRM Research lab” at the end of every chapter.

Moreover, readers can learn about behavioral science and research from those parts. Also, there are some separate discussions for dictating how things can be different in a small organization. This means regardless of the size of the company you’ll get knowledge about different HR policies and efficient techniques here.

Belonging At Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take to Cultivate an Inclusive Organization

Belonging At Work

Author: Rhodes Perry MPA

First Published Date: November 8, 2018

Latest Edition: 1st

By making your employees feel an essential part of your business, tend their best efforts towards the final goal. After getting into a new job most people feel insecure and unfit around experienced teammates. Also, sometimes people live in the dilemma of whether they really want to do that job. It’s a crucial responsibility of leaders to establish a working environment where every team member feels engaged and safe.

“Belonging At Work” focuses on diverse topics related to human behavior. HR professionals can read this book to better understand how to cultivate a workplace culture of belonging. It helps them to onboard more talented people and provides them a place to nurture their potentiality. These factors are equally important for business owners and team members as well.

Moreover, the concise discussion of this book briefly sheds some light on different terminology of diversity and how it plays a vital role inside your organization. Also, having knowledge about Belonging at Work, HRs can take necessary actions to trigger people’s emotions. Once an employee can own his/her job, it automatically boosts their performance. This book also helps managers all over the world create a supportive workplace culture so they can extend the employee life span of the company.

Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, Sixth Edition: Getting Good People to Stay by Talya Bauer

love em or lose em

Author: Beverly Kaye

First Published Date: 1999

Latest Edition: 6th

This is the best book in the world written on employee retention. As we know employees are the heart and soul of an organization. And with time they become critical assets for your business. Leaders must be strategic to keep them engaged. So they stay in your company both psychologically and physically while your competitors try to entice them away. The writer elaborates here how a busy manager can build a talented community in an efficient way.

A supportive working environment always fuels your employees to work hard. A good HR manager also implies new techniques so employees continue with the company longer. This book covers 26 simple strategies and implementation processes that managers can utilize to optimize the organization and its people streaming into a strategic future.

Notably, in the sixth edition of the book, the writer includes a timely focus on diversity and inclusion in every chapter. For example, in chapter 6 you’ll find him discussing different family cultures and values. Managers should be aware of these rituals so they can take that into consideration when someone requests extended leave to care for a grandparent. He also adds a new section named “Conversations That Count”. It delivers a deeper discussion about the topics in the book.

HR from the Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources

hr from the outside in

Author: Dave Ulrich, John Younger, Wayne Brockbank, and Mike Ulrich

First Published Date: July 17th, 2012

The Book Covers: In a pathetic reality, when we list down the department based on their contribution to the organization, HR becomes the last. Even some HR professionals do not give credit to their contribution. The authors of this book did massive research and the outcome is groundbreaking truth that can refrain the HR of 21st Century. They compare the HR responsibilities with the GPS. It can assure all the essential belongs to the workforce of a company.

Moreover, this book elaborately discusses theory, research, and practices to help the modern HR department make effective decisions. Also, you can learn about different methods to improve personal skills and business performance as well. “The HR From the Outside In,” tells an HR professional or head should achieve the following half dozen skills-

  1. Reliable Activist
  2. Tactical Positioner
  3. Skill Builder
  4. Change Champion
  5. HR integrator and Modernizer
  6. Tech Proponent

The six-pack ability makes you a superman in the company who can change the game. The book is full of real-life examples and case studies that make the thing easy to understand and apply.

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Help You Live and Lead

Work Rules-Insights from Inside Google That Will Help You Live and Lead

Author: Laszlo Bock

First Published Date: April 1, 1995

Latest Edition: 1st

The Book Covers: This true classic comes from a far-sighted Google’s Innovation Head. This earth-breaking creation combines three major elements in one place. It correlates a possible way to dig the viewpoint of work, plan to attract the enormous talent and assure their success for your business. In general, people work more than doing any other thing in life, which is not correct. It is demotivating and in-human. So, Laszlo transformed the process and shows how the world interacts with knowledge.

WORK RULES! focuses mostly on learning from employees even from the worst ones and skipping managers’ command over the employee. It also deals with recruiting people and the concept is to hire people who are smarter than you. However, it might take a long time but surely return more.

Moreover, the book contains a healthy number of examples of various companies who succeed by applying this concept. You’ll come to know about Google’s biggest people mistakes and how you can avoid them in your company. Getting a connection between creativity and structure leads you to success where you can measure the quality of life as well as market share. 

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded

the first 90 days

Author: Michael D. Watkins

First Published Date: September 18th, 2003

Latest Edition: 12th

The Book Covers: The success of the book talks about many things about it. Since opening, it became the bestselling guide that is regarded as the bible of career transition in a leadership position. Worldwide recognized Leadership transition expert Michael D. Watkins expresses the secret of success in transition and its starting point negotiation.

Transition is a crucial time for a leader in a new role or a new organization. Even the leader’s position is also the most vulnerable. The first three months are the most critical time where a misstep can cost a lot for a leader. It can wreck your success.

Also, as an experienced leader, Watkins walked through all areas of transition, noted the pitfall, and shared techniques to avoid them in one’s career. You also know how to secure quick wins. The book is full of real-life examples and case studies. You can find many of them applicable to your current scenario.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

Leaders Eat Last

Author: Simon Sinek

First Published Date: May 23rd, 2017

Latest Edition: 1st

The Book Covers: In this book, Mr. Simon Sinek tried to reveal the truth again that Leadership is not a post. In his bestselling series, he explained the responsibilities of a leader elaborately.

After working with many renowned companies Simon noticed some basic differences. Some teams are so dedicated to each other that they can even put their lives on the line for each other. On the other hand, getting so many benefits still, some teams are not satisfied and could not make it to the final destination.

The writer shares an excellent example of the Marine Corps. In this organization, they build a culture where the most junior employees take their meal first and the most senior employees take their meal at last. With this culture, they set a good lesson that great leaders should sacrifice their own comfort even their own survival to take good care of their teammates.

This book has come with new ideas and thought for creating a culture to make leaders. All these ideas incorporated with real-life stories belong to the defense, big business, Government, and investment banking.

Here you can also learn how to foster trust and cooperation inside a team to keep them synchronized. Sinek named it ” Circle of Safety” which differentiates inside team members’ loyalty from the outside challenges.

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth

The Fearless Organization

Author: Amy C. Edmondson

First Published Date: November 20th, 2018

Latest Edition: 1st

The Book Covers: The Fearless Organization is a book of modern psycho-economy that practically guides companies who thrust for success. Hiring talent and retaining them in the organization is very important for a business’s survival. For that, you should do something that sparks their mind. As success demands some continuous spark that always drives the talent to innovate and maintain a good work atmosphere.

The book highlighted the culture where employees get psychological safety. The path is not an easy-to-go road but it helps bring healthy innovation through continuous learning. Some important outcomes of the book are:

  • Establish the relation between high-quality performance and psychological safety & stability
  • Express ideas without fear and accept mistakes
  • How to create a framework to make a psychologically safe team

Employees often come up with great ideas as well as some irrelevant ones. Companies should not let any ideas go unnoticed. Rather they should create a culture that helps talent to own their mistakes and correct them. This culture could bring the next big thing to your business. But without psychological stability, it will never happen.

The Essential HR Handbook, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional

The Essential HR Handbook

Author: Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell

First Published Date: January 1st, 2019

Latest Edition: 1st

The Book Covers: Over the years, the book remains a guide and quick solution for Managers or Owners of Small businesses. The Essential HR Handbook will definitely help you to handle challenges whether you are an experienced HR manager or just a seasoned HR professional. It helps you manage all HR challenges ranging from onboarding to outplacement in an efficient way. By getting effective ideas from the writer you can optimize your hiring process that leads your business to its final goal.

It guides you with amazing examples, effective tools, case studies, and checklists. You can use them to solve personal issues that backbite business growth. Besides, it brings you out of the maze of personnel problems to survive in this competitive business environment. The book also teaches you how to hire talented employees through social media and avoid legal warnings.

The writer shares his experience to train a diverse and inclusive multigenerational workforce. He says instead of hiring the best person, it’s important to guide them and make them comfortable with the organization. Or you can provide attractive compensation and benefits package which makes you the top choice as an employer. For users, it is a life-changing book that contains solid advice and is also easy to apply.

HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion by Steve Browne

HR on Purpose

Author: Steve Browne 

First Published Date: June 30, 2017

Latest Edition: 1st

Writers start this book with an exciting concept of leading a career of more than 30 years with the same working spirit. HR on Purpose is one of the best motivating books for human resource management. It inspires HR people and motivates them towards their job. HR veteran and blogger Steve Brown lights up different edge of HR principles, advice, strategies, and best practices in this book. It boosts up the HR spirit making them passionate about their jobs.

HR professionals work as an advocate for the company. They have to be engaged and loyal to the organization to make other team members engaging. This book explains how to establish such working models inside your organization.

It explains HR’s responsibilities to carry out their roles successfully. Also, you’ll find interesting stories and facts that would be helpful continue the book till the last page. It provides you with a clear perspective using real-life examples and encourages you to rekindle your passion for HR activities.

Knowledge To be Acquired From These 10 HR Books To Read

Book Title Build Knowledge In
The Practical Guide to HR Analytics: Using Data to Inform, Transform, and Empower HR Decisions Analytics specializations, data research, problem diagnosis
Belonging At Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take to Cultivate an Inclusive Organization Strategies for future work & establishing an impactful workplace culture
Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, Sixth Edition: Getting Good People to Stay by Talya Bauer Employee retention, keep your employees engaged & fruitful conversation
HR from the Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources HR responsibilities, basic principles, and development skills
Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Help You Live and Lead Employee arrangement, behavioral economics, interactive working models
The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded Hardcover Leaders in transition, self-assessments, leadership challenges
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t Effective leadership, team communication, circle of safety
The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth The link between psychological safety & high performance, the importance of engaging work culture
The Essential HR Handbook, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional Social media recruiting, legal pitfalls, managing a multigenerational workforce
HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion by Steve Browne Rekindle your passion for HR position over the years

How an Influentical Book Can Help You Get Ahead in HR Managerial Role

Managing people is not an easy task. It requires deep knowledge and understanding to survive in the sea. On top of that open job opportunities make it more challenging and difficult in the present time. There is high competition to attract the best talent in the market. Companies are ready to go a long way to lure talented resources from their competitors. This situation increases the responsibilities of HR people to retain good resources for long.

There is no other way than keep yourself updated with the current business world and apply new things inside the organization. As an HR professional, you must have knowledge about all common HR policies, their loophole, and how to implement them in an adverse situation. Besides you need the vision of future advancement.

Although books can be a great source of resources to learn about established HR skills and principles above all you’ll get deep analysis and discussion from experienced HR professionals, researchers, and educators.

Once you know about several HR practices, how people implement them, and the outcome, you can make better decisions for your company and your career as well. It guides you to build a solid career plan and leadership qualities. Also, enhance your thinking process with diversity.

In case you are new at managing your project or team then you can learn how to effectively manage your diverse team by reading one of these Best Project Management Books of 2021.

Read HR Books To Gather Knowledge To Manage Your Resources Better

The HR department plays a crucial role to develop a healthy working environment inside an organization. From onboarding new employees to making them fit for the office culture they have many responsibilities to do. They have to apply new strategies in terms of keeping the people they can least afford to lose.

HR Books help you with numerous tips and tricks that you can use to establish a productive workplace. These books describe many old-school practices with a visionary approach. Many companies still follow them and get success even in this digital age of technology. On top of that, you can incorporate your knowledge with modern tools like WP ERP HRM that makes your job much easier.

So, which HR book do you find most effective in your life? Is that on our list? Share your experience so we can review another amazing book and include it on our list.

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