Were you one of the millions of people who pledged to read more books this year? If so, we commend you! Reading is a wonderful pastime that can be overlooked these days. And for HR professionals, there’s a wealth of knowledge out there that you simply won’t find by reading online articles, no matter how in-depth they are.

10 Essential HR Books for Professional Development in 2024

Let’s face it: the world of HR is ever-evolving. In 2024, it's a whirlwind of shifting landscapes, new technologies, and the ever-present quest for top talent. So, how do you, the dedicated HR professional, stay ahead of the curve and truly excel? Well, we might have given away the answer, but in 2024, the knowledge you seek can be found in the pages of some truly exceptional books.

Here, we present the top 10 HR books that offer cutting-edge insights, actionable strategies, and inspiring perspectives designed to transform your approach to talent, leadership, and the future of work itself.

1. Essential HR Handbook: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional

By Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell

We start this list with one of the top HR books out there. This best-seller isn't just a book—it's your HR lifeline. Packed with current tips, checklists, tools, and sample forms, it tackles all the critical functions you face, from recruitment to performance reviews. Plus, the updated 10th-anniversary edition ensures you're armed with the latest strategies to navigate ever-changing HR landscapes. Although US-centric, you’re bound to pick up a lot from this breezy tome.

2. Victory Through Organization: Why the War for Talent is Failing Your Company and What You Can Do About It

By Dave Ulrich, David Kryscynski, Wayne Brockbank, and Mike Ulrich

It’s one thing to have compelling insights. It’s always better when they’re backed by concrete data. That’s what you get from this thought-provoking book, which is based upon author Ulrich’s HR Competency Survey of over 30,000 HR professionals. You’ll learn the secret of how to add value to your organisation: not through merely adding talent, but using it effectively when you do have it. A must-read! 

3. Remote Not Distant: Design a Company Culture That Will Help You Thrive in a Hybrid Workplace

By Gustavo Razzetti 

One of the most timely books on this list. As the battle between remote work and the pull of office wages on, Razzetti gives you all the information you’ll need to succeed in this new world of work. Any organisation that is struggling with getting the most out of its hybrid workforce or wants to build a successful remote strategy from the ground absolutely needs to pick this one up. Forget breakroom camaraderie; this guide unveils powerful strategies for keeping remote teams closely connected and collaborating seamlessly.

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

By Amy C. Edmondson

Time and time again, studies highlight the need for psychological safety in the workplace. It’s how employees feel safe and empowered to create, innovate, and perform at their very best. Based on 20 years of research, this easy read is packed full of real-life examples that will help HR leaders create an inclusive and positive environment where you can trust that you’ll always know what’s going on.

5. Effective Hiring: Mastering the Interview, Offer, and Onboarding

By Paul Falcone

No matter how much you wish it was true, AI can’t do everything for you. HR still needs to lead the recruitment charge, so a comprehensive strategy from interviewing to onboarding is vital. Here, you’ll learn some excellent interview techniques, as well as red flags to look out for and how to get the best out of new hires. A practical guide that you can easily pick up at any time.

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

By David Ulrich, Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank, and Mike Ulrich

Did you know HR has six competencies? If you can’t name them, you better pick up this book ASAP.  To excel, HR must master the tightrope walk between fostering employee well-being and driving business results. Enter the critical sixth competency: being a credible advocate, balancing the voices of both employees and the organisation. Although a few years old, the insights gleaned from this guide are still incredibly relevant today.

7. Fully Staffed: The Definitive Guide to Finding & Keeping Great Employees in the Worst Labor Market Ever

By Eric Chester

After interviewing thousands of business leaders, author Eric Chester has created a blueprint for employee engagement. Never has this been more important, with engagement in the gutter and good workers hard to hang onto. Learn the secrets to building a magnetic employer brand, reaching hidden talent pools, crafting irresistible job ads, and much more. If you’re struggling to attract top talent in today's competitive market, this book’s for you.

8. Strategic Human Resource Management: An HR Professional's Toolkit

By Karen Beaven

What makes this book special for the senior HR professional is the focus on personal needs. After all, how can you know how to excel at work if you don’t truly know yourself? So, along with insightful chapters on talent management and workforce planning, you’ll also read about how to address personal issues, look after your own well-being, and build resilience. Easily accessible, this is one not to be missed.

9. Culture Decks Decoded: Transform your culture into a visible, conscious and tangible asset

By Bretton Putter

What’s a culture deck, anyway? Find out in this inspirational book that takes tales from some of the leading startups around. You’ll learn why crafting a culture deck is vital in shaping your organisation’s culture and how to action your strategies to champion your employees. 

10. Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World

By Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall

Myths in business are dangerous. Dispel them with this provocative book! Wave goodbye to accepted truths like “people care which company they work for” and “leadership is a thing” and find out what truly matters in the world of work. This is sure to get you thinking and debating with colleagues about what the real world of work looks like.

While you’re reading these inspirational HR books, why not acquire some top HR tools to go with them? Gone are the days of tech piles that suck up your time and energy. This year, you deserve tools that truly understand the nature of your work and seamlessly make your life easier. Sound too good to be true? It’s not! Be sure to read our informative article, The Top 5 Tools for HR Professionals, to find out more. 

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