GUIDE 2024

Best HR Analytics Books to Read in 2024

Looking for the best HR analytics books? You are at the right place.

Human resource analytics, HR analytics, or people analytics, uses insights from HR data to improve human capital and business outcomes.

The HR analytics field is growing rapidly. Staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques is essential for the modern HR professional. Books written by HR analytics experts can help you stay on the cutting edge of this fascinating HR domain.

This article will cover the best HR analytics books. We will first examine books that can help you develop a solid foundation. We will then look at books that cover HR analytics in general. Finally, we will look at books that cover specific aspects of HR analytics, such as learning analytics and predictive analytics.

Let’s begin.

Best HR Analytics Books for a Strong Analytics Foundation

Let’s start by first looking at books that provide an introduction to HR analytics.

1. People Analytics For Dummies by Mike West

People Analytics for Dummies

People Analytics For Dummies is a must-read for professionals who are new to the field or are looking to learn HR analytics. Rather than tell you why people analytics is important, this book outlines the steps you can take to implement the function in your organization. You can learn how to use analysis to connect HR decisions to business strategy.

The book includes several hands-on examples and walkthroughs based on the author’s experiences at big and small companies. It’s not only helpful for those in the HR analytics function but will also help business leaders, analysts, business partners, and managers interested in optimizing the use of HR-related data for better decision-making.

This book shows you how to collect HR data, analyze it, and apply your findings to create a happier and more engaged workforce.

2. Fundamentals of HR Analytics: A Manual on Becoming HR Analytical by Fermin Diez

Fundamentals of HR Analytics

Fundamentals of HR Analytics is another must-read for HR professionals who are starting out in HR analytics or who want to improve their foundational knowledge in this area.

The book is split into two parts:

  • Part I covers the basics of HR analytics and includes separate chapters on finance, statistics and data-analytic thinking, tools for HR analytics, data collection, and HR analytics modeling.
  • Part II covers applications of HR analytics to turnover, training and development, recruitment, and compensation and benefits.

Fundamentals of HR Analytics provides hands-on strategies for connecting data with HR policies and practices to help influence overall business performance. It contains many practical examples and case studies that illustrate the use of analytics for solving organizational problems that are commonplace and challenging simultaneously. The book makes understanding and engaging with data analytics possible for professionals at all levels and is a great resource for those who want to learn the foundations of data-driven HR.

Best Books on General HR Analytics

In this section of the article, we will review books that cover all aspects of HR analytics.

1. Excellence in People Analytics: How to Use Workforce Data to Create Business Value by Jonathan Ferrar and David Green

Excellence in People Analytics

Excellence in People Analytics provides theoretical and practical insights that HR and business leaders can use to develop strategies optimized for their particular requirements.

The book has three parts:

  • In Part I, the authors lay out the business case for people analytics.
  • In Part II, the authors present their Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics model that you can use as a structured template to drive people analytics in your company.
  • In Part III, the authors discuss the future of people analytics.

Excellence in People Analytics features 30 insightful case studies from leading global companies, including Microsoft, PepsiCo, HSBC, Merck, IBM, Capital One, Nestle, Uber, ABN AMRO, and American Eagle Outfitters.

2. The Practical Guide to HR Analytics: Using Data to Inform, Transform, and Empower HR by Shonna Waters, Valerie Streets, Lindsay McFarlane, and Rachael Johnson-Murray

The Practical Guide to HR Analytics

The Practical Guide to HR Analytics is an essential book for HR professionals seeking to develop an understanding of HR analytics. It is a short and easy-to-read book and provides a practical methodology for using data to solve real HR challenges.

The authors use the power of storytelling to engage and inform readers. They take readers on a journey that starts with the business challenge, move on to the analytics domain, show you how you can establish an effective team, and guide you on how to use data to inform decision-making. The authors also show you how to communicate your findings and, finally, how to evaluate the results of your efforts. A set of useful appendices at the end of the book provide further details for each step of the journey.

3. Data-Driven HR: How to Use Analytics and Metrics to Drive Performance by Bernard Marr

Data-driven HR

Data-driven HR is an essential read for human resources professionals who want to make the HR function relevant and drive higher value to their organizations and employees. It outlines how you can leverage the vast amounts of available HR data.

The book starts with an introduction to data-driven HR and proceeds to the importance of having a definite data-driven strategy for driving business value. It then helps you identify sources of relevant data and the tools you can use to derive valuable insights.

A complete chapter in the book is dedicated to potential pitfalls that include data privacy and security.

The book ends with several chapters on applications of data-driven HR that include recruitment, employee engagement, wellness, learning and development, and performance management. The last chapter looks at the future of data-driven HR.

The author’s approach of combining practical advice and case studies shows how each part fits together in realistic, real-world situations.

4. The Power of People: Learn How Successful Organizations Use Workforce Analytics To Improve Business Performance by Nigel Guenole, Jonathan Ferrar, and Sheri Feinzig

The Power of People is invaluable for HR executives aiming to establish or lead a workforce analytics project and for any business executive who wants to derive higher value from HR.

The book takes a “business first” approach, which is critical for HR analytics’ sustainable results and future relevance.

The Power of People is an easy and interesting read and provides practical operating frameworks, conceptual models, and best practices. It also includes practical application examples, along with necessary caveats for preventing common mistakes.

For senior business leaders, the book provides insights needed for understanding and actualizing the potential of HR analytics. For HR analytics leaders, it provides a standard for improving and evaluating organizations. For HR practitioners, it provides guidelines for identifying strengths and weaknesses and can be sued to create a professional development plan. The book is equally relevant for anyone interested in becoming an HR or people analyst.

5. Human Resource Management: People, Data, and Analytics by Talya Bauer, Berrin Erdogan, and David E. Caughlin

Human Resource Management: People, Data, and Analytics

At nearly 800 pages, Human Resource Management: People, Data, and Analytics is a comprehensive book. It is primarily designed as a textbook for students but offers value to both new and experienced HR professionals.

The book provides an introduction to the fundamentals of talent management. It covers data analytics early on and explains how it can inform and support decisions. The book covers a wide spectrum of topics and starts with the importance of a formal HR strategy.

Each chapter includes charts and analytics to help the reader understand the material better. Several data exercises provide opportunities for practicing the analytical and decision-making skills professionals need in today’s job market.

Check our certified HR courses to learn more about developing and implementing a strategic HR management plan. Master HR management and how to get the best out of your employees.

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Best Books on Predictive HR Analytics

Predictive HR analytics is a subdomain of HR analytics. It enables the use of historical HR data for forecasting future risks and opportunities.

1. Predictive HR Analytics: Mastering the HR Metric 2nd Edition by Dr. Martin Edwards and Kirsten Edwards

Predictive HR Analytics

In Predictive HR Analytics, the authors explain business applications of predictive HR models. The book is aimed at a specialist audience and contains many theories.

The book begins with an introduction to predictive HR analytics, moves on to gathering data, and shows you how to convert data into a usable format. The authors then show you how to use SPSS, a software for statistical analysis, and how to use it for HR analytics. The book then covers specific use cases, which help you get a hands-on feel for applications such as performance, turnover, recruitment, and workforce engagement.

Readers can use sample data provided in the book to run their own analyses and understand how different parts of the analytics approach fit together.

2. Predictive HR Analytics, Text Mining & Organizational Network Analysis with Excel by Mong Shen Ng

Predictive HR Analytics, Text Mining & Organizational Network Analysis

Predictive HR Analytics by Mong Shen Ng is an easy-to-read book on HR analytics. It is one of the few books – if not the only one – that teaches analytics with MS Excel. One advantage of this approach is that it reduces costs as you don’t need to invest in expensive statistical software. Another advantage is that it makes the topic of analytics and statistical analysis a lot less intimidating.

The author provides an overview of the complete HR analytic flow, from defining the business problem you want to solve to using narratives with Excel visualizations to deliver an engaging story.

The book describes a wide range of HR metrics and real-life use cases, along with references to recent research publications. Step-by-step instructions are provided for several of the use cases.

The book also reviews basic statistics and machine learning approaches, in addition to scenarios for which each approach is appropriate. The explanations are clear and easy to follow; even beginners will find it easy to understand them.

Best Book on Learning Analytics

This section reviews books focused on using HR analytics in the learning and development function.

Learning Analytics: Measurement Innovations to Support Employee Development by John R Mattox II, Mark Van Buren, and Jean Martin

Learning analytics

Learning Analytics focuses on using analytics for measuring and analyzing the benefits of learning and development programs.

The authors begin with an explanation of learning analytics and its business need. They also cover learning’s impact on business, the importance of a connection between training content and business needs, optimizing learning investments, and positioning learning development within talent management. Case studies from leading global companies such as Shell Oil, Hilton Hotels, and American Express help to highlight best practices and provide real-life examples of how these companies apply diverse methodologies across different industries.

The book provides a framework for understanding learning analytics. It shows HR and L&D practitioners the potential power of effective analytics for building an organization and the resulting impact it can have on talent management, performance, and competitive advantage.

Best Book on Talent Analytics and Workforce Planning

Talent analytics and workforce planning are two related concepts. Talent analytics uses data and statistical analysis to understand and optimize talent management processes. Workforce planning focuses on analyzing, forecasting, and planning workforce supply and demand to ensure that companies have the right people with the right skills in the right positions.

The Talent Equation: Big Data Lessons for Navigating the Skills Gap and Building a Competitive Workforce by Matt Ferguson, Lorin Hitt, Prasanna Tambe

The Talent Equation

The Talent Equation collaborates with a business CEO and two talent management scholars. It focuses on helping organizations utilize data to recruit, train and retain employees. It is an essential read for those who design and implement staffing policies.

Human capital is an organization’s most valuable resource. Yet, recruitment is a challenging and difficult task. Skills shortages, resource limitations, and outdated ways of thinking are only some challenges that make recruitment a significant challenge at the best of times.

HR data can often provide counterintuitive insights. Some of the insights included in the book are

  • Despite considerable increases in the cost of higher education, the earnings potential of college graduates is still greater than the costs.
  • Despite the risk of “trainee flight,” employers must play a big part in training employees.
  • A negative candidate experience during recruitment can hurt the company’s products and services and vice versa.
  • Voluntary turnover is less of a function of economics, such as low pay, and more of a function of psychology, like job satisfaction and its constituent components, such as relationship with the supervisor, lack of growth opportunities, lack of work-life balance, and dissatisfaction with organizational culture.

The Talent Equation is valuable for two audiences. Firstly, HR managers and professionals can use it to improve recruitment methods, enhance the efficiency of the personnel department, and drive down recruitment costs. They can use internal and external data to optimize recruitment-related policy-making and decision-making.

Secondly, the book will benefit job seekers, who will learn about how organizations are using data for recruitment purposes.


The use of data allows HR practitioners to derive hidden insights with a potential for significant business impact.

Familiarity with data analytics for HR is essential for the modern HR professional. It is also important for business leaders and managers who want to optimize decision-making and base decisions on objective data.

Expertise in people analytics is essential for professionals who work in the function and help organizations collect, analyze, and evaluate HR data.

Many avenues for learning about HR analytics are available. However, a major advantage of expert books is that they offer unique insights and go into significant detail. Books are also a ready reference professionals can refer to when needed.

A curated list of the best HR analytics books can give you everything you need: a strong foundation to a general overview of the field with applications and depth in specific application areas. Use these books to learn, grow, and help others do the same.


Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about HR analytics.

What is HR analytics?

HR analytics, or human capital analytics, is the practice of using historical data and advanced statistical techniques to gain insights, identify patterns and trends, and predict future outcomes. These insights from data analysis allow practitioners to make informed decisions about various aspects of human resource management and improve their existing HR analytics practice.

What types of data does HR analytics use?

HR analytics leverages data from multiple sources of internal and external data. Examples of internal data are human resource information systems, employee records, performance evaluations, recruitment data, and engagement surveys. Examples of external data are market trends and economic indicators.

How can HR analytics support decision-making at the executive level?

Executives can use HR analytics to identify top performers, obtain insight into turnover patterns, assess engagement levels, evaluate training program effectiveness, and measure the impact of HR initiatives on overall performance. Rather than relying on feel or gut instinct, executives can use HR analytics to optimize human capital investments and develop data-driven strategies. They can also use the power of analytics to track the impact and performance of strategies and make corrections as needed.

What are the subdomains of HR analytics?

HR analytics can be split into three main subdomains:

  • Descriptive Analytics focuses on understanding historical data to improve organizational performance.
  • Predictive Analytics uses statistical models to analyze historical data for the purpose of forecasting future risks and opportunities.
  • Prescriptive Analytics takes a step further and predicts consequences for forecasted outcomes.
Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.