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The Big Book of HR

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The Big Book of HR

Career Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

This comprehensive textbook for managing human resources goes from the transactional to the strategic.

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Well Structured
  • For Beginners


In one volume, consultants Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem attempt to capture all facets of human resources work, from the mundane and transactional to the strategic and creative. They use templates, case histories and samples to provide a useful guide to the basics. The authors range through planning, recruitment, hiring, firing, talent development and performance management. They make excellent points about engaging, retaining and inspiring people, but fall short on strategic HR and talent management. getAbstract recommends this basic manual to those new to HR or those with HR responsibilities in firms that lack designated HR divisions. Mitchell and Gamlem’s descriptions of US regulations and laws governing personnel management also make this a worthwhile read for managers in operational HR.


Six Major Trends

Consider these trends as you execute each essential element of HR, starting with planning:

  1. Generations at work – Don’t stereotype people according to their age. Recognize that younger workers, for example, tend to demand more feedback and expect greater work flexibility and a positive culture. They want more training, career advancement opportunities and access to the latest technologies. Younger workers may ask for these things more readily than older employees, who may want them as well. With more generations working side by side, expect more conflict and misunderstanding. Knowing what people of different ages have in common can help smooth the way.
  2. Globalization – As an HR professional, you are likely to encounter challenges related to the internationalization of business. From recruiting employees worldwide to managing teams virtually across multiple time zones and cultures, globalization adds layers of complexity to HR.
  3. HR technology – The ubiquity of technology and companies’ increasing reliance on it makes it necessary for you to know how to use HR tools...

About the Authors

Consultants Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem are former HR professionals.

Comment on this summary

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    S. K. 5 years ago
    Good book with useful advices. I think that I've made more than two pages notes after reading this brief summary.
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    M. M. 6 years ago
    It is very nice.