Whether you’re working to improve yourself and your approach to HR, looking for ideas to implement into HR practices in your organization, or want to learn more about your industry, reading is an excellent way to do it.
Human Resources is an incredibly popular subject, with thousands of books published year on using data and analytics to manage people, on best practices for people and team management or setup, on emotional intelligence and leadership development, and even on technical tasks such as payroll, process management, and so on. Choosing a few to read can be daunting.
These top HR books to read this year will get you started with a selection that offers balance, a broad range of ideas, and information behind some of the most popular ideas in HR today.
Ram Charan’s Leadership Pipeline was published in 2000 and has since become a classic in leadership management and development. The book outlines a framework for developing leaders internally, giving HR the tools to recognize and develop leaders for different levels of organizational leadership. Rather than taking a hierarchical approach, authors Charan and Drotter discuss the need for shifting responsibilities, changing approaches to work, and a diverse range of experience for leaders and how each of those requirements change as an individual moves to the next step in the leadership pipeline.
Stephen Drotter’s “The Performance Pipeline” is nearly as famous, although it doesn’t have the impact or the following of the original book. Drotter’s book shifts attention away from requirements to lead and towards performance management for leaders, which is equally as valuable.
The Power of People was published in 2017 by Jonathan Ferrar, Sheri Feinzig, and Nigel Guenole. The book approaches human resources from the angle of workforce analytics, taking examples from recent and long-term successes in the field. With case studies, The Power of People has a strong focus on giving good examples while introducing readers to the field, and introducing best-practices to help individuals improve the performance of their own workforce analytics.
The Power of People also heavily leans into a business-first approach, outlining strategy as first-and-foremost as a tool with which to achieve business goals. Most importantly, the book offers enough in terms of basic framework to help new HR analytics managers to get started, while providing enough tools, examples, best practices, and mistakes to watch out for to offer value to those experienced in the role.
Emotional Intelligence was first published in 1995 by Daniel Goleman, but the book has not lost its relevance. Instead, it’s become one of the hottest topics of the year, with even top companies like Google and Microsoft working to integrate it into their everyday business practices and leadership. While Emotional Intelligence doesn’t go into detail about how EQ specifically impacts leaders or the workplace, follow-up books do. This seminal work instead explains the foundations of EQ, factors that impact it, and how EQ greatly impacts the way that people are able to form relationships, communicate, and work together.
Each of these three books will offer insight into people, workplaces, and leadership, which can greatly impact how and why you make HR decisions. Most importantly, they influence a great deal of modern HR thought and decision-making.