The seven best free HR ebooks

The seven best free HR ebooks


Career development HR transformation


Don’t spend your hard-earned cash on expensive textbooks – here’s our pick of the free HR ebooks

1. Staying Relevant in the Workplace: Develop Lifelong Learning Mindsets by Dr J Brassey and Professor Dr Nick H M van Dam

What: Two senior partners from global consulting firm McKinsey have teamed up to create this essential guide to continuous learning and professional development.

Why you should read it: Too often HR and L&D professionals fall foul of the old ‘cobbler’s children’ adage: of supporting others to learn while neglecting their own development.

Download it here

2. HRYP Guide: Tips and advice for young HR professionals, by Ben Eubanks

What: Advice for HR young professionals (HRYPs) from a seasoned SHRM member

Why you should read it: Those starting out on their HR careers will find the advice invaluable, while more established HR professionals will discover what their younger colleagues are worried about – and how to help.

Download it here

3. Conflict management in the workplace: how to manage disagreements and develop trust and understanding, by Shay and Margaret McConnon

What: A substantial guide to one of HR’s perennial problems.

Why you should read it: It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of using the same techniques to solve recurring challenges. Step back and get a different perspective.

Download it here

4. The Rise of HR: Wisdom from 73 Thought Leaders, edited by Dave Ulrich, William A Schiemann and Libby Sartain

What: A 2015 collection of essays from HR’s global leading lights, covering pretty much every current HR concern you can think of, from strategy to digital transformation, culture, transparency, talent, analytics, and much more.

Why you should read it: It’s quite long, but it’s probably the best free summation of the profession’s current thinking and concerns you’ll find.

Download it here

5. The Anatomy of Ethical Leadership, by Lyse Langlois

What: An exploration of where ethics can come into conflict with modern business goals, and how to take a more ethical approach to HR.

Why you should read it: Few organisations can afford the potential reputational damage caused by a collapse in ethics.

Download it here

6. The 4th Industrial Revolution & the Future of Jobs, by Professor Dr Nick H M van Dam

What: A thorough yet easily digestible overview of how technology might transform the future of work.

Why you should read it: Technology is moving fast and HR can’t afford to be left behind.

Download it here

7. HR Most Influential Interview Book by HR magazine

What: Experts from Ashridge Executive Education interview top HR thought leaders such as Sandy Begbie, global head of people and integration at Standard Life, and Valerie Hughes D’Aeth, group HR director at the BBC

Why you should read it: Your chance to find out what’s keeping top HR practitioners up at night – and the secrets you can emulate in your own organisation

Download it here

This article was first published in October 2012. It was updated in April 2018 and March 2021 for freshness, accuracy and clarity.

Keep an eye out for CIPHR’s forthcoming book, Good work, great technology, by Jo Faragher, discussing and illustrating the benefits of deploying technology to tackle some of HR’s biggest challenges