Published 28 December, 2020

5 Must Read Books for HR Professionals (5 Mins Read)

Good books have a sort of exceptional power. If you let them in, they can change your life, serve as a compass or guide and give you a lift when you need it the most. Books are a great medium to obtain an in-depth knowledge of your industry. Reading about your profession can help you face different challenges in your job with confidence. In a study of about 1,900 professionals it was found that 42% felt more confident doing their job after they read books on a related subject and 74% felt more confident after they took an extra course related to their profession. Whether you manage people or take a more casual interest in HR or an HR professional looking to expand your knowledge, then there are number of books you can read to cater to your interest and learning. Here are the top 5 books which a HR professional must read:

  1. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently| by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Out of hundreds of books on how to improve your organizational performance, here is the one book that is based on an extensive empirical evidence and focuses on the specific actions managers can take to make their organizations better. In a world in which managing people provides the differentiating advantage, First, Break All the Rules is a must-read book. If you believe innovation in the workplace for leaders is overrated, then you need to read this book. Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman will open up your mind and will convince you to break the rules of conventional wisdom while helping you build a team of highly innovative and productive professionals.

  1. Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To Do And What You Can Do About It | by Ferdinand Fournies

Everyone loses focus at some point in time. But as a leader, you must be in a position to control this and bring it back on track. This Ferdinand Fournies’ book helps in understanding the reasons behind an employee’s staying off the course and offers solutions to manage that effectively. In a simple, straightforward language, Fournies offers many practical solutions to the problems of the employee performance. This book is a must for the desk of anyone who is an entrepreneur or manages others.

  1. Human Resource Management | by Gary Dessler 

Author Gary Dessler is a pioneer in Human Resource Management literature and his scientific work Human Resource Management is arguably one of the most read and studied HR books. The latest edition of the book covers all the key aspects of HR. It includes a practical, step-by-step explanation of the key cornerstones of Human Resources. Dessler breaks this down into five parts: recruitment, placement & talent management, training & development, compensation, and employee relations. 

4.  HR disrupted: It’s time for something different | by Lucy Adams

How can we lead, manage, engage and support employees in a radically different way? What will the role of HR look like in the future? According to Adams, disruptive HR has three pillars. Firstly, it doesn’t treat employees as children but as adults. Secondly, employees are treated as consumers, leaving behind the one size fits all approach. Lastly, the employees are treated as human beings as they are and not like machines. With a series of interesting and very recognizable examples from her role as HR director at the BBC, Adams illustrates how people can be managed better in an increasingly digital and disruptive business environment.

5.  Thinking, Fast and Slow | by Daniel Kahneman

Although, it’s not an HR book explicitly, this book provides you a detailed explanation of modern psychology. This classic explains much of the research done by Kahneman and relates it to many of the well-known psychological theories and biases. The book explains that there are two systems of thinking. One is Fast, automatic thinking (system 1) and the other is slow, logical thinking (system 2). System 1 is our intuitive, fast response, whereas system 2 is our logical, more deliberative reaction. Whenever we run into a new situation or asked a question – these systems come up with answers that often differ from each other.

The book shows how knowing these systems can be useful to you. Biases like anchoring, availability bias, loss aversion, framing and the sunk cost fallacy are all explained using these two systems. Learning about these biases helps you to make better decisions and can help you to convince others. This book is probably the hardest read of them all. It is very detailed so, try to read every chapter – especially the beginnings – but don’t be afraid to skim through some of the other parts of the book once you understand the key ideas.

Takeaway: If you are still not sure that you would be able to find the time to take on a whole book of HR knowledge, then there are other ways you can fit career development into your day-to-day life. Try listening to HR-specific podcasts from industry leaders. This is a great way to cherry pick the subjects you wish to focus on. You can also follow HR influencers on social media to see what tips and titbits they share online in order to stay up-to-date with the latest information. You can also attend talks or networking events or even watch them online during your daily commute, if you are unable to make it. As HR is a fast-moving industry, so it certainly pays to stay on top of not only the employment laws but also other industry trends.




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