11 Best Human Resources Books to Read in 2024

For the best HR leaders out there, excellence means learning and improving daily. They listen to HR podcasts, sip knowledge from HR newsletters, attend HR conferences, and, of course, read books about human resource management (HRM).

However, there’s no shortage of options when searching for the top HR books. Which ones truly deserve your time?

We’ll share the eleven best books for HR professionals to save you from hours of googling. These reads made a huge impact on business founders and human resource managers who have recommended them.

Best HR Books to Level Up Your HRM Game

The below must-reads will help you transform human resources management across all processes.

Motivation-based Interviewing by Carol Quinn

Subtitle: A Revolutionary Approach to Hiring the Best

About the author: Carol Quinn is an Attitude Revolutionist.

About the book

How do you assess the candidate in the interview?

Most likely, you focus on the skill level, right?

That’s what most recruiters and HR professionals do during interviewing and hiring. But skills are worthless without the stimulus to apply them. And that’s what motivation-based interviewing (MBI) is about.

Carol Quinn advises HRs to monitor the candidate’s three essential characteristics: skills, attitude, and passion. For that, she suggests a three-step framework:

  1. Understand high performers
  2. Identify high performers
  3. Hire high performers

Part II contains MBI interview questions you can implement in your recruitment strategies for acquiring top talent.

Why it’s the best book for HR (review)

Max Wesman, Founder & COO of GoodHire:

“By creating and then describing the MBI method in her book, Carol Quinn started the next evolution of interviewing, when hiring managers should become motivation-seekers. Self-motivation is the fuel that powers up employees. And without it, they are destined to fail.

Motivation-based Interviewing is the crown of my collection of the best books for human resources recruitment because it taught me to distinguish between I can vs. I can’t mindsets and self-imposed limitations the second drags on.”

The WorldatWork Handbook of Total Rewards

Subtitle: A Comprehensive Guide to Compensation, Benefits, HR & Employee Engagement

About the author: The book was compiled and edited by Dan Cafaro, the former director at WorldatWork, a nonprofit organization aiming at cultivating committed employees in rewarding workplaces.

About the book

A new wind of total rewards is blowing. Have you felt it already?

In this handbook for HRM professionals and business leaders, WorldatWork suggests a broader definition of total rewards, aka total compensation. This concept comprises anything “rewarding” for employees.

The total rewards model consists of the following elements:

This strategy embraces safety and security needs, aesthetic needs, esteem needs, identification with the group, cognitive needs, etc. The central points in it are pay equity and reward fairness.

So, the formula is Strategy + Rewards + Equality = Culture.

Why it’s the best book for HR (review)

Jim Pendergast, Senior Vice President at altLINE Sobanco:

“If the total compensation system at your company includes only salaries and a couple of essential benefits, this book will serve you as a wake-up call.

It’s one of the best human resources books for employee success and business profitability. It proves that pay and benefits are no longer the core elements differentiating employers.

With digital disruption and automation, the battle for talent has become even fiercer. That is why companies must offer various rewards, maintaining a healthy balance between monetary and non-monetary ones.”

The Retention Revolution by Erica Keswin

Subtitle: 7 Surprising (and Very Human!) Ways to Keep Employees Connected to Your Company

About the author: Erica Keswin is a bestselling author and workplace strategist.

About the book

You probably know that people don’t quit their jobs; they leave their bad managers.

Now consider this. The US saw the highest quit rates since the 60s and 70s.

The moral?

Employers and HRM specialists should grasp the importance of employee retention in the future of work.

In The Retention Revolution, you can find the key driving forces of retaining employees. By opposing old ideas to new beginnings, Erica Keswin demonstrates innovative methods to retain talent wisely in the new work-from-home reality with digital technologies.

You’ll also have a chance to peek into her interviews with numerous employers, such as:

  • Stax
  • Microsoft
  • General Mills
  • Chipotle
  • Jallyvision
  • Rackspace
  • Meetup and others

 Get more insights from Erica Keswin’s book, The Retention Revolution, or watch this LinkedIn Live conversation with the author, an episode of Getting Personal with Compt.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-xppZ_FYzo

Why it’s the best book for HR (review)

Stephan Baldwin, Founder of Assisted Living:

“Not many HR management books can break down the essence of employee retention in today’s realities as they are more recruitment-oriented. But this one can. It virtually revolutionizes the way we perceive retention in the workplace.

The first chapter reminded me of how people left companies in bulk amid the chaos provoked by the coronavirus and how we struggled to retain workers, particularly in the healthcare industry, back then.

I couldn’t agree more with the author. The employee retention path starts with the relationship-building process when the hiring team sets the tone at the pre-onboarding stage. Then, it is enhanced through virtual meetings that can beat the feeling of isolation caused by remote work (the so-called remoteliness).

Yet, the hammering and groundbreaking words lie in the epilogue: It’s not you, it’s not me, it’s us. We are all responsible for reshaping the workforce of the future.”

Inclusive 360 by Bernadette Smith

Subtitle: Proven Solutions for an Equitable Organization

About the author: Bernadette Smith is the Founder of the Equality Institute.

About the book

As DEI finally becomes one of the top priorities in organizations, HR professionals should take an all-embracing and strategic approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Let’s look inside each of these fundamental parts of DEI.

Part #1. Diversity

Did you know that a diverse workforce is an essential factor when evaluating a company for 86% of job seekers?

According to Bernadette Smith, DEI begins with diverse and inclusive hiring strategies and takes the ARC form:

  • Ask
  • Respect
  • Connect

Find out more about each element in the book.

Part #2. Equity

Here, the author dwells on the power of equality and gives you a roadmap to build an equitable system inside your company. In addition, you’ll learn how to promote racial justice and gender equity through equal pay and other influential factors.

Part #3. Inclusion

The last section is dedicated to workplace inclusion. It concerns everything, from inclusive employee benefits to conversations and random acts.

Bernadette Smith also emphasizes the significance of allyship in the workplace and defining employees’ roles as allies.

Why it’s the best book for HR (review)

Linda Shaffer, Chief People Operations Officer at Checkr:

“There are so many conscious and unconscious biases around that it makes us want to stop, close our eyes, make a wish, and turn 360° so that when we open them, we see the society without prejudices, an ideal place with diverse and inclusive workplaces, where everyone feels like home.

But guess what? We, HR leaders, are the ones to drive this 360° turn and make this wish come true.

And I’m so thankful to Bernadette Smith for shaking the ‘eternally-waiting dreamer’ out of me and helping me find the WHY behind what I do now at Checkr’s fair chance hiring hub.

Her speech won my heart with its boldness, honesty, and commitment, making it one of the best HR books in my memory.”

The SHRM Essential Guide to Employment Law by Charles Fleischer

Subtitle: A Handbook for HR Professionals, Managers, Businesses, and Organizations

About the author: Charles Fleischer is an attorney specializing in employment law.

About the book

Are there any specific law requirements for remote teams? Is it legal to ask applicants to take a lie detector test? What do the laws say about paid time off, family and medical leave, compassionate leave, or other types of leave?

So many law-related questions arise when you think about hiring and managing employees.

Charles Fleischer answers these and other similar questions related to the legal side of employment.

Importantly, this handbook warns HRs about the most critical employment law issues:

  • Unfair hiring practices
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Privacy concerns
  • Employee dishonesty
  • Workplace safety, etc.

The author also digs deep into employee contracts, taxes, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation for injuries in the workplace, and every other aspect of labor law.

Why it’s the best book for HR (review)

Andrew Pierce, CEO at LLC Attorney:

“If you’re looking for books on HRM laws, regulations, and ethics, you can’t omit this one. It is an A-to-Z legal reference for HR managers and employers. The “Alert!” and “Quick Tip” sections highlight the most significant nuances.

Although it covers over two hundred topics, the employment landscape is subject to constant and recurrent modification. So, the key message is – always to stay on track with changes in employment laws because they never sit still.

I’d also like to drop here two more books every HR professional should read: The Complete Hiring and Firing Handbook and Employer’s Rights by the same author.”

The Drama-Free Workplace by Patti Perez

Subtitle: How You Can Prevent Unconscious Bias, Sexual Harrassment, Ethical Lapses, and Inspire a Healthy Culture

About the author: Patti Perez

About the book

Patti Perez's "The Drama-Free Workplace" addresses the challenges of workplace conflicts and drama, offering practical strategies for creating a more harmonious work environment. Perez draws on her expertise in employment law and HR to provide insights into understanding and navigating interpersonal issues. The book guides readers through effective communication, conflict resolution, and creating a culture that promotes collaboration and reduces unnecessary drama in the workplace.

How the Future Works by Sheela Subramanian, Brian Elliott, Helen Kupp

About the book

"How the Future Works" delves into the evolving landscape of work, technology, and leadership. Co-authored by Sheela Subramanian, Brian Elliott, and Helen Kupp, the book explores the impact of emerging technologies on the future of employment. It offers a comprehensive perspective on the skills and strategies necessary for individuals and organizations to thrive in the rapidly changing world of work, examining the intersection of innovation, automation, and human potential.

Bonus Resources: Ebooks for HR Managers

We’ve piled up several HR ebooks to broaden your e-reading list. Discover more about employee perks and stipends:

See how HR and finance teams can unite and reevaluate employee perks and the budget without burning a hole in the company’s pocket.

  • Ultimate Guide to Lifestyle Spending AccountsGet it here.

Have you heard anything about Lifestyle Spending Accounts (LSAs)?

Not yet?

Then, it’s time to find out why you should implement these employer-sponsored benefits and how to set them up.

If you’re not sure how to approach employee stipends, don’t worry. This guide will teach you how to roll them out smoothly and effectively.

  • Ultimate Guide to Personalizing Your Employee ExperienceDownload here.

Every worker on your team has individual requirements and expectations. Why not create a personalized work experience for each team member, designed around those wants and needs?

Read how to do that in this ebook.

Jump to more guides, tools, and templates at Compt for more effective work in HRM.

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