Book Review: The Essential HR Handbook

So, you're thinking that maybe you'd like to be in Human Resources. You want to know more about the "must knows" of the profession. Yes? Well then, I have a book for you.

The Essential HR Handbook by Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell is a cut-to-the-chase tell-me what-I-need-to-know primer that offers 12 chapters of human resource information, each touching on an element of human resources.

Peppered with right-on quotes at the beginning of each chapter, this handbook "provides practical information, tools and techniques to help managers and HR professionals excel."

From strategic planning and mission statements to employee relations and diversity the authors provide a variety of checklists, forms and tables to assist the reader with process. Links, letters and laws (with the required caveats and disclaimers) provide the reader with further reading, reasoning and resources.

The managers mantra in the Employee Relations chapter consists of six simple words: when you see it, say it. After reading a chapter, any chapter, the reader will walk away with something to say on each of the topics. Don't have time to read a chapter on a topic but looking for some talking points quickly? Flip to the last page of each chapter. Each chapter ends with a Main Message for Managers that provides an important point or framework from the chapter to remember.

Read it front to back or pick out a specific chapter on a specific topic, you can tailor this book to your individual needs. While this is not a book I would have on my bookshelf for my own personal reference at this point in my career, it is one I would have at arms length when talking with someone interested in learning more about the profession.

People new to HR and managers new in their role are the target audience and the ones who will find the most value in this book. If that's you, this guide will help you get your head around concepts, provide you with a broad understanding of select human resource principles and practices and offer you help you to frame up the right questions to ask.

So, what do you think? I think you will find it helpful.

You can find out more about this book on it's website as well as information on other books authored by Sharon Armstrong at Sharon Armstrong and Associates.


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