Top 12 HR and Talent Books to Read this Summer

By Anirudh Menon - Published on June 2, 2021
Article is about top HR and talent books you must put into your reading arsenal in 2021.

Human resource management is a highly dynamic segment with the landscape of people management constantly changing. In such a scenario, HR management books serve as a Bible for HR professionals. These books allow CHROs, HR managers, and other professionals to get valuable insights into organizational culture, leadership, and people management. Furthermore, having some of these books in your office can certainly help you with instant reference, thereby assisting you in better employee engagement.

Here we will look at some of the top HR and talent books you must put into your reading arsenal in 2021.

  1. HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion, by Steve Browne

    Buy HR on Purpose

    The book pushes HR professionals to trash traditional HR concepts and provides a fresh modern outlook with practical examples of real-life insights.

    About the author

    Steve Browne is himself an HR professional and always believes in having a different perspective and vision towards the domain. He is a natural storyteller in this field who can bring the workplace alive.

  2. Bring Your Human to Work, by Erica Keswin

    Buy Bring Your Human to Work

    One of the key aspects of being a human is that we are made to establish relationships. This is not just limited to families and friends but even people at the workplace. Organizations that encourage this intangible but critical factor, end up being more productive, successful having loyal employees who grow with the organization. The book talks about how people should bring the human factor into their workplace and build good relationships.

    About the author

    Erica Keswin is a strategist who has worked with some of the top companies in the world as a consultant, writer, and other hats. She has contributed immensely to individuals as well as world-class organizations, by bringing in relationships as a key ingredient to enhance the working environment. Her work and contribution have been published in top brands like Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Huffington Post, NY Post, and many more.

  3. Work Rules! (Insights from Inside Google That Will Help You Live and Lead), by Laszlo Bock

    Buy Work Rules!

    The book is written by a visionary from Google, who had come out with path-breaking discoveries into people management and people operations. The book shares insight into how organizations can attract some of the great talents that are there in the world and ensure retention of the same by making them succeed in their endeavor.

    About the author

    Laszlo Bock is one of Google’s visionary leaders and spearheads the company’s people function, encompassing multiple areas such as talent acquisition, employee engagement, training and development, and retention of what they call “Googlers”. Laszlo has been revolutionary in this space with his methods transforming the way Silicon Valley leverages the talent pool available. He has also advised President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and the Office of Personnel Management. Laszlo also got featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, PBS, and other media channels.

  4. Belonging at Work: Cultivate an Inclusive Organization, by Rhodes Perry, MPA

    Buy Belonging at Work

    It is a universal fact that if you want to succeed in an organization, then it is important for you to have a sense of belonging. It is not just about hanging on to the job and move from paycheck to paycheck. It is ensuring that the work is a right fit for you, and you can relate to the work. These are the aspects very neatly depicted in this book and I feel in today’s world this book is very relative.

    About the author

    Rhodes Perry is a recognized LGBTQ thought leader and a social entrepreneur with numerous accolades to his name. The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post have published their work recognized in the domain of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  5. The Essential HR Handbook, 10th Anniversary Edition, by Sharon Armstrong & Barbara Mitchell

    Buy The Essential HR Handbook

    Many global HR managers have gone back to this book because it covers a complete spectrum of human resource management. It does not matter whether you are a small business owner without an HR department or a large multi-national enterprise with a spread out HR function, The Essential Handbook is a good reference to sort out your HR problems right from employee onboarding to outplacement.

    About the author

    Sharon Armstrong comes with strong experience in Human Resource management since 1985 when she took up the realms of recruitment and training in a law firm in Manhattan.

    Her co-author, Barbara Mitchell is an author, speaker and also the Managing Partner of The Mitchell Group a firm that is into organizational development and consulting

  6. Unleashing the Power of Diversity: How to Open Minds for Good, by Bjorn Z. Ekelund

    Buy Unleashing the Power of Diversity

    The book neatly describes a method and a tool to create a common platform where teams can come together to reinstate positivity, creating trust among people and processes, and encouraging innovation, resulting in sustainable diversity in the culture.

    About the author

    Bjoern Ekelund is Chairman of the Board at Human Factors AS, an organization that contributes to developing good organizational culture. He is a member of the Academy of Management since the early 90s, and regularly follows the work of the Management Consultation Division. In the year 2008, he was awarded Consultant of the Year 2008 for his breakthrough through the instrument Diversity Icebreaker.

  7. Rituals for Work, by Kursat Ozenc

    Buy Rituals for Work

    The book hints at how creative rituals can create a significant positive impact on us. It talks about how personal and professional lives become more purposeful due to these creative rituals.

    About the author

    Kursat Ozenc is a designer, educator, and strategist. He is working as a Designer in SAP Labs and has passed out from Carnegie Mellon University. He has worked on various digital initiatives at SAP for creating tools for employee engagement.

  8. Talent Keepers: How Leaders Engage and Retain Top Performers, by Christopher Mulligan & Craig Taylor

    Buy Talent Keepers

    This book specifically talks about how organizations, particularly the millennial group who have stormed the industry post the 2008 financial crisis, can have a systematic approach towards employee engagement and retention. The book highlights specific methods that have delivered proven results.

    About the author

    Chris Taylor is a national speaker and a CEO of many organizations. He brings over 25 years of experience in delivering organizational performance through one key asset – people. He founded TalentKeepers in 2000 with the sole objective of addressing issues around employee engagement.

  9. HR From the Outside In, by Dave Ulrich, Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank, & Mike Ulrich

    Buy HR From the Outside In

    The book is a very precise and definite work on competencies in the field of human resource management. It delivers ideas and concepts that can prove to be valuable and helpful to HR professionals in shaping their careers, making their organizations more effective.

    About the author

    Dave Ulrich is an expert in the field of Human Resource management. He is a Director of the HR Executive Program in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He is one of the co-founders of The RBL Group, an organization that providers consultancy in leadership and human resource management.

  10. Generation Z: A Century in the Making, by Corey Seemiller & Meghan Grace

    Buy Generation Z 

    The book specifically talks about Generation Z, also known as the Millennial generation. It talks about the lives of youth and young adults that belong to this generation and puts a strong emphasis on their career aspirations along with other elements such as philosophy, family, psychology, hobbies and so on.

    About the authors

    Dr. Corey Seemiller is an educator and a researcher. She is also an author who touches upon subjects related to leadership and civic engagement. Meghan Grace is a researcher and consultant who focuses on Generation Z.  She is also working as an associate with Plaid, L.L.C.

  11. The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth by Amy C. Edmondson

    Buy The Fearless Organization 

    The book very neatly details out how employees can be empowered to speak out honestly, take calculated and creative risks, be their best and at the same time keep the learning part on and grow with the organization.

    About the author

    Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School. Her work is around team management, collaboration, and focusing on bringing the best in employees.

  12. Radical Candor (Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity) by Kim Malone Scott

    Buy Radical Candor

    Radical Candor talks about a paradox neatly packaged – how one can be honest without any brutality and hurting the other person in an organization. It also points out the method of being transparent and having an open approach, without being taken advantage of.

    About the author

    Other than Radical Candor, Kim Malone has also authored Just Work: Get *t Done Fast and Fair. Kim has been a CEO coach in companies like Dropbox, Twitter, and other tech companies.  She has also been a faculty member at Apple University.

Final Thoughts

Human resource management is a very vast domain comprising many elements. This requires constant monitoring of people and processes as things can change due to change in laws and industry standards.  HR books help professionals in the field to go back to the drawing board, work on basics and come back with an innovative approach to handle situations.

Anirudh Menon | I have adorned multiple hats during my professional journey. My experience of 14 years comes in areas like Sales, Customer Service and Marketing. My journey as a professional writer started 5 years back, when I started writing for an in-house magazine for my employer. Having successfully delivered many in-house projects, it encouraged me to take my skill to the world. As on day, I have written articles, blogs website content for various industries like Information Technology, Start-up, Retail and Government. The subjects that I have covered range from Digital Marketing, SAP Cloud Platform, Cloud Computing, Content Marketing , Politics. Enhancement is a process and I constantly thrive to add more subjects in my portfolio. Over and above content writing, I also train language and communication to students who want to brush up their speaking skills. I am a part time trainer for IELTS coaching and also work as a budding voice over artist.

Anirudh Menon | I have adorned multiple hats during my professional journey. My experience of 14 years comes in areas like Sales, Customer Service and Marketing. ...


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