13 Best Human Resources Books Every HR Professional Should Read

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The world of HR is all about getting things done as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more about how you can power through your work take a look at the following books. You are bound to learn plenty of new ideas.

By taking a studious approach to the world of HR this book allows you to understand how to study new techniques rather than simply reading about them.

Taking onboard new ideas is all about being receptive and making changes that allow the rest of the team to understand. Once you do this you’ll be able to move in the right direction whilst maintaining full buy-in throughout your organization. That, in short, is what you’ll be able to learn from this latest edition.

This book focuses on putting everything into practice so that you can:

  • Effectively align your actions with the core goals of the business
  • Create a culture in which people feel engaged and respected by HR as a department
  • Take steps to test new ideas in a controlled manner so that you can deploy ideas that work the first time around

By taking this three-pronged approach to HR in practice you should be able to create significant value for your organization.

By being able to see how what I was reading about could be put into practice I was able to move forward nice and quick. I’m looking forward to continuing trying out new ideas so that we can get more done” said Lauren Stove, a Change & Implementation manager at ResumesCentre.

Disruption is a hot topic at the moment and it’s all about doing things differently. The status quo is often adequate, but it can always be better. That’s the message that this book gets across whilst also giving you some everyday examples of the philosophy being put into practice.

There are three key things you need to consider when thinking about disruptive approaches to HR:

  • How to get everyone on board with your changes so that you don’t alienate the very people you’re trying to help
  • Understanding that not everything needs to be changed. Change for the sake of it is no good to anyone. It’s all about identifying areas that can and should be improved
  • The idea is to change things for the good, not to create waves and see what happens.

By learning how disruptive ideas are formed and then put into practice you will be able to see a clear path forward. This is quite different to making changes for the sake of it and hoping for the best.

The disruptive ideas are quite interesting. I’ve always looked for ways to varying things up and this could be just what I need to do” said Brian Hampley an HR executive at EssaySupply.

If you want to put theory into practice then the simple everyday approach you’ll find in Armstrong’s book will allow you to do just that. If you’re a fan of back to basics advice that isn’t wrapped up in the language and jargon of the corporate world then this could be just what you need.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because the language is simple and to the point that it misses out the specifics and becomes too general. You’ll still be able to learn plenty about how to handle sensitive issues, change procedures in a structured manner, and how to ensure compliance every step of the way.

No matter what you decide to do with the knowledge that you’ve gained, you’ll certainly be able to put it into practice.

Creating value is the secret to furthering any HR professional’s career. Once you do that you’ll be able to show your superiors and other departments that the changes you’re making have a positive impact on the business.

Looking for new ways to demonstrate how what you are doing has a positive benefit is half the battle with HR. Other departments may be unsure of the day-to-day responsibilities that you have so you will need to inform them.

That said, there’s a tricky balancing act between telling the whole world everything you’ve been doing, and educating your organization in a constructive manner.

Get the balance right and you’ll be able to get more people on board with new initiatives as they will trust your judgment and understand what your role is.

No book that calls itself ‘The Big Book…’ can afford to cut out the detail and that’s certainly the case here too. If you want to be able to learn your job inside out then this could be the sort of reference book that you need.

The explanations of the key power structures and techniques for progressing new procedures is essential reading for any aspiring HR professional. As are the following key points from the book by Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell:

  • Why you need an HR department in your organization
  • How you can communicate what you do to other departments without bombarding them
  • The right way to go about making contact with the rest of the organization so that you can ensure quick and easy cooperation

Putting HR into practice can be the real battle for new HR professionals. By taking a look at practical methods that allow you to move your projects forward this book gives you real-world advice that you can easily put into practice step by step.

It’s the ‘in practice’ part that really appealed to me. I’ve never been a fan of books that talk about theories that aren’t practical in the real world. This is something a little different and I would recommend it to my colleagues” said Lucy Watkin, an HR & Staffing Officer at GetGoodGrade.

Employee relations is a major part of the world of HR which means this is one book that you should make the time to read if you can.

By learning how to communicate in an engaging way that breaks down barriers and removes friction you’ll be able to reach out and show every employee that HR is the department that’s always on their side.

Reference books are very useful in the world of HR because they don’t have to be read from cover to cover. This book is a suitable choice for keeping in your desk drawer and dipping into for 5-10 minutes at a time on your lunch breaks. By getting you up to speed on everything from hiring to organizational issues it will allow you to hit the ground running.

When I started my new role I really wanted a resource I could keep in my desk drawer. This is worth a read for anyone who needs a knowledgeable crash course” said Karen Yates, an HR Officer at OnlineWritersRating.

Small businesses often dismiss HR as something that’s only suited to the corporate world. This couldn’t be further from the truth which is why this volume is essential reading for any small business owner looking to put some practically-minded policies and structures in place.

When I started my business I was overwhelmed with questions like how to find trustworthy employees, how to track their performance and reward them fairly considering our small income at the start. A lot of these questions were answered by Marc Bishop and Sharon Crooks in this book”, Christopher K. Mercer, founder of Citatior shared.

With data protection and regulations such as GDPR very much the hot topics of today it’s never been more important for HR professionals to understand the digital age. By learning how to manage, store, and handle data you’ll be able to add value to your business in an exciting new time of chance.

The idea of a kit is an interesting one because it allows you to see for yourself how the different lessons you learn will link together to create an overarching system.

This holistic approach to HR will allow you to think differently about each of the different facets of your role in the company so that you can put procedures in place that actually benefit the people you’re trying to help.

The final book on this list is called the ‘answer book’ for good reason. The simple Q&A style allows you to use it as a reference book that gives you pressing information without having to roll the dice on Google.

Because it also covers general management it allows you to understand:

  • How management and HR can work together
  • The importance of creating plans that can be actioned, reviewed, and renewed

“The management side of HR is something that I believe you can always learn more about. This book didn’t disappoint in that regard” said Carly Parsons, an HR and General Purpose Administrator at FlashEssay.

Hopefully, this has given you plenty of food for thought so that you’ll be able to find a book that you can use to take your career to exciting new places.

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Sylvia Giltner is an HR manager and freelance writer. She helps people write the perfect resume and land a desirable job. Featured on Forbes and Glassdoor.