The Big Book of HR

HR Books Review: ‘The Big Book of HR’

Anyone who works with people in today’s challenging world knows that it doesn’t get easier, just more complicated. So, because I’m committed to our thriving HR community, I have a book for you.

The Big Book of HR” by Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem is filled with the most current information on topics ranging from hiring to firing and everything in between including engagement, retention, total rewards, employee development, risk management and more. These topics are critical areas from HR professionals to help their organizations get the most from their talent.

For what it’s worth, I think this is one book every HR professional should have on a shelf in their workspace for the times when they need information about:

  • Talent shortages.
  • Knowledge transfer systems and preparing for retirement.
  • Employer branding.
  • Recruitment as a public relations strategy.
  • Employee engagement, development and retention strategies.

Each topic has information on legal issues and stories from organizations to illustrate the positive impact human resources has on any size organization. Each chapter ends with discussion questions to encourage additional thought. There are sample forms and templates, too.

I asked the authors why they decide to write an expanded edition of “The Big Book of HR.” They wanted the book to reflect the many changes in the business environment. Here’s what they told me:

Workplace Flexibility

“Allowing employees a balance between personal and business obligations is an advantage in attracting and retaining the best employees. We discuss the prevalence of flexible work arrangements to meet the needs of today’s changing workforce.”

Performance Management

“Organizations are abandoning time-consuming, expensive, and ineffective performance appraisals for systems focused on the people and the future and not on the process or the past, and frequent discussions to fuel employee engagement and development.”


“Technology has revolutionized how firms recruit, manage and communicate with geographically dispersed workforces, and manage confidential data relating to employees and their benefits. We explore how firms leverage the available technology.”

People Analytics

“Organizations such as Google are relying on data to assess the effectiveness of programs and processes to help make better decisions on what’s important to both the organization and its people.”

The Gig Economy

“As individuals switch to working as freelancers, independent contractors or temporary workers, there is a shift in the social contract with these workers. Such arrangements lack benefits and consistency in hours, pay, and work itself, and organizations need to understand the impact.”


Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell have taken their collective years as HR professionals and consultants and shared it in “The Big Book of HR.” Both authors consult, speak, and write on human resources and management issues. Barbara is managing partner of The Mitchell Group and an innovative career transition coach. Cornelia is president of The GEMS Group and a talented employee relations expert.

Also, be sure to check out their weekly blog called Making People Matter. They are friends of Gerry Crispin, and I can’t recommend their HR books, tools and resources enough!

You can read 12 books in 2018. Join the community and embrace the #HRBookClub challenge. Sign up for our newsletter!

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