Organizational Wellness

10 Books About Human Resources to Advance Your Career

Apr 6, 2023
Last Updated May 20, 2024

The world of work is ever-changing. The pandemic incited huge shifts in how and where people work, and these ripples continue evolving. Processes that worked well three years ago may be causing your team headaches today.

So whether you’re new to HR or have been in the profession a while, it’s the perfect time to brush up on your foundational knowledge, explore new ideas, and learn best practices. We’ve put together a list of 10 great human resources books on everything from the future of work to core requirements for industry qualifications. Time to add to your reading list!

  1. The Essential HR Handbook

“The Essential HR Handbook” by Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell is an invaluable resource for HR managers

The topics it covers include:

  • Recruiting and onboarding new employees
  • Talent management and development
  • Compensation
  • Employee benefits
  • Employee relations
  • Strategic planning

It also provides practical advice on creating a positive work environment to encourage collaboration and creativity while adhering to legal compliance requirements. Initially published in 2008, a revised and updated edition was published in 2019 to reflect newer trends and workplace challenges.

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

“Work Rules!” by Laszlo Bock is an essential guide to creating a successful and motivating workplace. The book provides insight from inside Google, the world’s most successful technology company. 

It covers:

  • Creating an innovative company culture
  • Empowering employees to do their best work
  • Developing leadership qualities
  • Retaining and engaging employees
  • Using data-driven decision making
  • Encouraging ongoing learning and development
  • Building a workplace culture that fosters creativity, collaboration, and communication

At the time of publication, Bock was the SVP of People Operations at Google. The book builds on his first-hand experience of Google’s innovative hiring, retention, and people development processes.

  1. Human Resources: A Guide to the Human Resource Body of Knowledge (HRBoK)

“Human Resources: A Guide to the Human Resource Body of Knowledge” is a comprehensive guide for HR professionals. It was created in collaboration with the HR Certification Institute (HRCI®). It helps HR personnel ensure their teams are up-to-date with the fundamentals, as well as meet the Core Knowledge Requirements for HRCI exams.

It covers essential topics such as:

  • The strategic role of HR teams
  • Workforce planning, including talent acquisition and succession planning
  • Employee training and development
  • Compensation and benefits, including designing pay systems
  • Managing the employer/employee relationship
  • Risk management, including maintaining compliance

First published in 2017, “Human Resources” is a well-regarded resource for HR practitioners, consultants, researchers, and academics.

  1. The Big Book of HR

“The Big Book of HR” addresses many human resources processes, issues, and best practices, making it a valuable resource for HR professionals, business leaders, or managers. An updated version was published in 2022, covering many new and emerging challenges HR teams have faced since the pandemic. 

This includes:

  • The challenges of managing remote or distributed teams
  • The benefits and drawbacks of flexible working
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Changing technology in the workplace
  • Pay equity and transparency
  • Benefits planning for multigenerational workforces
  • State and local employment laws which may affect HR practices and processes

It includes practical resources such as sample checklists for common HR processes and a glossary of frequently-used HR terminology.

  1. People Strategy: How to Invest in People and Make Culture Your Competitive Advantage

“People Strategy” by Jack Altman is a must-read for HR professionals who are looking to build high-performing teams and increase employee motivation, turning their people into a competitive advantage for their organization. 

It offers a step-by-step guide to:

  • Establishing company values, the foundation of a great culture
  • Hiring tips and best practices for finding good-fit employees
  • Developing a culture of feedback and continuous improvement
  • Employee engagement strategies
  • How to use data to guide your decision making

Altman is the CEO of Lattice, a performance management platform for teams. He draws on his expertise, plus real-life examples from tech companies, including Salesforce, Stripe, and Google, to help readers understand what each step looks like in practice.

  1. Radical Candor

“Radical Candor” by Kim Scott is for managers who want to build meaningful relationships with their teams and create a culture of trust. It provides practical advice on how to give feedback that is both honest and kind, while also encouraging healthy debate and critical thinking in the workplace. The book covers communication strategies, team dynamics, and creating a supportive work environment.

With real-life examples from companies like Apple, Google, and other tech startups, it’s an invaluable resource for anyone looking to lead their team more effectively. It was revised and updated in 2019 to include a bonus chapter and additional introductory content.

  1. Redefining HR: Transforming People Practices for Changing Workplaces

“Redefining HR” by Lars Schmidt is an essential read for any HR professional who wants to stay ahead of the curve and keep their organization competitive. It provides a practical guide to transforming people operations in today’s rapidly changing workplaces. 

The book covers topics such as:

  • Redefining HR for modern companies and ways of working
  • The CHRO role and why it’s such an important strategic role for companies
  • Creating a diverse, inclusive employee experience
  • Modern hiring processes, including talent sourcing and technology
  • Breaking down organizational silos

It also includes insights from HR leaders from companies like Hubspot, Reddit, Stripe, and Asana, who share their real-world experiences of building modern HR teams.

  1. Predictive HR Analytics: Mastering the HR Metric

“Predictive HR Analytics” by Martin Edwards and Kirsten Edwards helps human resources professionals get to grips with some of the most important HR metrics. It provides a clear, step-by-step framework for analyzing these metrics using advanced statistical techniques. 

The book explains:

  • Why you need to know how to analyze and understand HR data
  • How to prepare your data for analysis
  • Different methods and strategies for analyzing your data

It also includes in-depth case study examples to help you understand how to carry out and interpret analyses of various situations like employee turnover, engagement, and performance. It’s not a light read, and is math-heavy, but it can help HR leaders develop the analytical skills needed to make effective business decisions.

  1. The HR Business Partner Handbook

“The HR Business Partner Handbook” by Glenn Templeman is an essential guide for any HR professional looking to become a strategic business partner. It covers the key skills and competencies needed to make the transition to HR business partnering, including understanding business and HR strategy and developing relationships with other departments.

The book also provides practical advice on how to develop a strategic mindset, as well as a deep understanding of the role of HR teams within an organization. It’s aimed at HR managers and leaders looking to increase the impact of their role, or move into more senior, strategic positions.

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

“HR Disrupted: It’s Time for Something Different” by Lucy Adams focuses on the future of HR. It’s sometimes seen as an old-fashioned or outdated business function, and this book aims to inspire HR leaders to change that. It looks at:

  • How HR got its reputation
  • Ideas for the future of human resources, looking at everything from recruitment processes to leadership development
  • Practical tips for making that change to modernize (or disrupt) their HR function

A revised, updated edition was published in 2021 in response to the changes and transformations that had happened since the original book was published. This was driven by the pandemic and the growing importance of HR departments when formulating companies’ response and return-to-work initiatives.

Get Ideas That Inspire Your Business

It’s easy to keep using the same tools, processes, and systems each year because they’re familiar and work well enough. But these HR books can give you new ideas to make your organization a great place to work — both for your current and future employees.

And developing a welcoming, inclusive, effective workplace is one of the core parts of the job. A great way to do this is to invest in your employees’ health and wellbeing, to show you value them personally, not just professionally. Many companies offer wellness programs, such as gym memberships or fitness classes, to improve employees’ work-life wellness.  

If you want to learn more about implementing this in your organization, contact a Wellbeing Specialist today!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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