Why Listen To HR Podcasts?
Any HR pro will know that numerous learning and development resources are available to aid skills progression. So, why turn to audio?
1. Free Training
Podcasts are among the most affordable types of learning materials available. They're free on platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Amazon Music, so long as you sign up for an account.
2. Learning On-The-Go
Podcasts are accessible, convenient, and available 24/7 from any location. 25% of listeners commit to dedicated podcast sessions where they don't undertake any other activity while concentrating on the audio. For example, they might curl up on the sofa to rest their eyes or sit at their desk and press play. However, the majority will squeeze in some multitasking and listen to a podcast while they're:
- Commuting to work
- Cleaning their house
- Checking their emails
- Cooking dinner
- Getting ready in the mornings
- Traveling to a business event
3. Personalized Learning Experience
There are over 5 million podcasts to choose from on Spotify alone. The sheer breadth of available titles enables you to create a personalized learning experience depending on your professional goals.
Podcast listeners can search an extensive back catalog based on:
- Names of industry professionals to learn from passionate people leaders
- HR topic, for example, quiet quitting or generative AI
- Length of episode, with 15-20 minutes considered the optimal duration
It's easy to save shows to a library of favorites to customize your learning journey. If you're short on time, you can play the episode at 1.2 or 1.5x speed to whizz through it.
4. Auditory Learning
Auditory learners absorb information better when they can hear it. This makes podcasts an ideal learning medium for those who prefer to listen rather than read or watch demonstrations. If you're an auditory learner, you may find it easier to focus and retain more information, especially when the content is engaging and conversational.
And if you miss something? It's easy to pause, rewind, and playback as many times as you need to allow the information to sink in.
18 Best HR Podcasts
If podcasts sound like the perfect accompaniment to your growth and development, try slipping a few of the following episodes into your day.
1. HR Happy Hour
The long-running HR Happy Hour podcast was launched in 2009 and is hosted by Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane, along with a slew of guest speakers, such as people leaders, business leaders, academics, authors, and consultants. The show uses several different formats to keep listeners engaged. For example:
- At Work in America episodes dig into the latest trends in the HR space, offering a well-rounded commentary on important topics related to engagement, diversity, professional growth, and more.
- The Workplace Minute offers short, bite-sized episodes covering the results of a new survey or story that impacts the labor market. For example, in a recent three-minute episode based on Adobe data, Steve discusses what employers need to know about Gen Z in the workplace.
- Workplace Movie Hall of Fame episodes examine a popular movie and draw parallels with the working world. For example, after watching the holiday movie Elf, Steve and Trish discuss how Buddy's elf friends are supportive even though his toy-making skills aren't up to scratch and his output is way below quota. Instead of demotivating him, they reposition Buddy to a role his skills are better suited to.
2. Squiggly Careers
The Squiggly Careers podcast is hosted by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis, founders of Amazing If, whose mission is to encourage everyone to follow an enriching and squiggly career path rather than the traditional (and more boring) straight line.
With 300+ episodes, the podcast has an audience of 4 million listeners who love episodes related to squiggly skills sprints, values, resilience, and more. The hosts also invite guest speakers onto their show, such as author Jenn Granneman, who talks about sensitivity, its benefits to businesses, and how organizations can support sensitive people.
Even though many of the episodes are aimed at employees or candidates, there's plenty that HR professionals will pick up from listening to this podcast, especially if they want to see their organization through the eyes of their workforce.
3. McKinsey Talks Talent
McKinsey & Company is a go-to consultancy that supports top management across the globe, and its podcast McKinsey Talks Talent is equally insightful. The show includes McKinsey partners Bryan Hancock and Bill Schaninger, who lead engaging discussions with talent experts on topics like:
The episode library is less extensive than others on our list (there are 20 episodes available between 2019 and 2023). But, the discussions are in-depth and research-backed, making this a must-add to your podcast library.
4. Josh Bersin
We couldn't create a list of the best HR podcasts without including thought leader Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin & Associates (now Bersin by Deloitte). As one of the world's leading HR and workplace industry analysts, Bersin is an absolute expert in the field of talent management, corporate learning, and leadership practices, working with the biggest brands in the business.
If you work in Human Resources, this podcast will teach and inspire you to add value to your people function. New episodes are released on Josh Bersin’s site every few days, covering topics like:
- HR tech news, including recent AI announcements
- General HR strategy and transformation thoughts
- Latest industry events, for example, a recap of the recent Irresistible HR conference
- Book reviews, such as Bersin’s experience of reading Walter Isaacson’s “Elon Musk"
5. SHRM Podcasts
The Society for Human Resource Management offers a range of podcasts, each containing insightful interviews, conversations, and guidance for HR pros, people managers, and anyone committed to improving the modern workplace. Transcripts are available for all episodes if you want to find a discussion that catches your eye.
- SHRM All Things Work: Hosted by Tony Lee, Vice President and Head of Content for SHRM, who interviews guests like Ravin Jesuthasan, global leader of transformation at Mercer.
- Honest HR: Co-hosts Amber Clayton, Wendy Fong, and Monique Akanbi tell relatable stories and emphasize the importance of pushing back on workplace norms to improve working conditions for all.
- People and Strategy: Welcomes exceptional people leaders to discuss specific working world topics, like Workplace Culture, with Andrea Ferrara, CHRO of North American Beverages and Nutrition at PepsiCo.
- HR Storyteller: Invites HR pros to tell a story about a person or event that has made a difference in their careers.
- Career Compass: Aimed at emerging HR professionals who want to gain advice from experienced leaders in the space.
6. Recruiting Daily
Recruiting Daily is an industry-leading media network for recruitment news, events, and resources for anyone involved in talent acquisition. The long-running Recruiting Daily podcast spans 550+ episodes, each a conversation or interview with thought leaders and practitioners in the recruitment industry. Some notable shows include:
- Why companies are investing in EX managers with Dr. Benjamin Granger of Qualtrics
- How to hire and retain international talent with Aaron Kochenderfer of Fakhoury Global Immigration
- How recruiters should market wellbeing to candidates with Jennifer Conklyn of Marsh McLennan Agency
7. HR Leaders Podcast
The HR Leaders podcast features a different people leader in every episode, hosted by Chris Rainey. This concept works due to the exceptional caliber of business leaders featured on the show. For example:
- Mridula Pore, Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Peppy Health
- Stephanie Kramer, Chief Human Resources Officer at L'Oreal
- Nikki Humphrey, Chief People Officer at Virgin Group
- Michael Howells, President, Workforce Skills at Pearson
Their insights provide real-world perspectives about the challenges that HR and employees face in the wild, along with actionable strategies that support HR practitioners in staying at the forefront of people innovation.
8. #WorkTrends With Meghan Biro
#WorkTrends is a podcast hosted by Meghan M. Biro, Founder and CEO of TalentCulture, where she has collaborated with everyone from early-stage businesses to top brands like IBM and Google. She uses her podcast to discuss HR industry trends and lead interviews with HR tech vendors and practitioners in the space. For example, the recent episode "What does the voice of the employee say about your culture?" welcomed Angelina Sun, Ph.D., WorkForce Management Solutions Director, to discuss how leaders can communicate more effectively with deskless workers.
To join the #WorkTrends community, you can also follow the hashtag on LinkedIn, X, or Facebook.
9. The Learning & Development Podcast
360Learning's Chief Learning Officer, David James, hosts the Learning and Development podcast, which pumps out new episodes every two weeks. These cover topics like:
- Company-specific responses to disruption, for example, Aviva’s response to digital skills development
- Real-life experiences of L&D teams, including when David James and Kattie Capozza headed up learning and development in different regions for Disney.
- Progress tracking for L&D, such as how to measure behavior change or the business impact of learning.
Courtesy of TED, WorkLife with Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, explores the science of successful work in this weekly podcast. Each episode takes a deep dive into what makes different professionals tick in terms of their careers. There are some intriguing interviews, such as:
- Pixar’s Ed Catmull and Pete Docter discuss the collaborative culture behind their iconic movies.
- Chip and Joanna Gaines reveal the secret of their partnership as an introvert and extrovert mix.
- James Clear breaks down the research in his bestselling book "Atomic Habits," which focuses on building positive habits integral to a successful professional career.
Featuring 30-minute episodes, DriveThruHR is an easy listen squeezed into your day, with plenty of humor thrown in for good measure. Like HR Happy Hour, it's a well-established podcast, running continuously since 2010 and covering the entire spectrum of HR topics. The show is hosted by Robin Schooling, Mike VanDervort, and others, but it also features business leader guests like Liz Wilke of Gusto, and Michael Ehrert from Johnson & Johnson.
12. People Managing People
People Managing People is a community for people managers and culture creators. Alongside a wealth of articles and interviews, PMP also features its own podcast hosted by Becca Banyard. In each episode, Becca connects with thought leaders, authors, founders, and culture leaders from around the globe to discuss how the world of work is broken and, more importantly, how we can fix it. Notable episodes include:
- DEI: Bridging the gap between intention and action
- How AI can support you in becoming a better manager
- How to win the upskill battle by investing in your most valuable resource
13. Gallup Podcast
Gallup is a workplace consulting and global research firm that helps organizations solve their most pressing problems. Gallup's podcast is an extension of this work, hosted by Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Younis, who discusses trending workplace topics.
The podcast comprises more than 300+ bitesize episodes, often between 10 and 30 minutes long. Some of the topics cover broader current affairs, but many are relevant to the working world, such as the following episodes:
- Businesses hold great power in societal issues – but how can they use it?
- How to manage a permanently changed workplace
- How (and how not) to recognize employees
14. Great Leadership Podcast
Jacob Morgan, best-selling author of five books, including The Future of Work, hosts the popular Great Leadership podcast that explores how the workplace is changing and what we should expect in the future. Guests include top business leaders, authors, thinkers, and other experts on organizational culture, employee experience, and leadership. Some episode highlights from this weekly podcast include:
- Don't be the smartest in the room – Why the CEO of 100,000 employees says vulnerability makes you a better leader
- Leadership is more like stepping out on a soccer field, than a game of chess – Learn why mental strength matters and how to develop it
- Leading isn't just commanding: Why every leader should wear the coach's hat – and 4 skills needed to coach effectively
15. Career Chasers
The Career Chasers podcast was hosted by Latesha Byrd, who advocates and provides strategic advice for women navigating the working world. The podcast was aimed at an audience of career women; however, numerous episodes are valuable for HR professionals, especially in raising awareness of cognitive biases at work. Try the following episodes:
- Dealing with microaggressions in the workplace
- Black and brown women in the workplace
- Performance reviews
Although the podcast last aired in 2021, these episodes are gripping and still hold a lot of value in today's workplace.
16. The Happiness Lab
The Happiness Lab is a podcast series hosted by Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos, who delves into the science behind leading a happier life. While not strictly an HR podcast, it's worth including here, as employee happiness is crucial for any successful HR strategy.
As humans spend most of their time at work, this podcast includes highly relevant topics to creating a positive workplace culture and nurturing employee well-being. Some notable episodes include:
17. Deep Purpose
Deep Purpose is a chart-topping Harvard Business School podcast hosted by best-selling author and HBS Professor Ranjay Gulati, an academic in economics and business. Now in its second season, the podcast welcomes high-profile guests who reveal their personal stories about business successes. New episodes include:
- Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci discusses how he prioritizes people over metrics to create a positive working environment while smashing business goals.
- Levi Strauss & Co CFO and CGO Harmit Singh explains how he straddles two significant roles at the company
- Former Unilever CEO Paul Polman advises on how companies can prioritize corporate responsibility to achieve business success.
18. The Parlor Room
The Parlor Room is a brand new Harvard Business School podcast hosted by HBS Online Creative Director Chris Linnane. Its debut season comprises eight biweekly episodes, during which HBS professors explore vital business concepts using real-world examples. The show promises to deliver practical business education while being entertaining, insightful, and accessible to listeners. Upcoming episodes cover:
- Negotiation Mastery: Professor Michael Wheeler discusses how to succeed at the bargaining table
- How to create brand value: Discussed by Professor Jill Avery
- Leading with Finance: A breakdown of Apple's powerful financial model.
Foster A Love Of Learning With Nectar
As an HR partner, Nectar stays on top of the latest industry news, conversations, and buzz, and we love finding ways to slip some professional learning into our day.
Of course, podcasts are just one way to further our people's growth and development. And they're easily compatible with Nectar's Challenges feature. Here's how to use it to encourage your team members to explore new HR podcasts.
- Create a weekly podcast challenge: Set the conditions for your challenge, including a list of top HR podcasts and how often participants must listen to episodes before they receive their Nectar points.
- Ask HR professionals to self-report participation: You might ask team members to leave a short written review of the podcast in Nectar to receive their points.
- Approve challenge participation: Either set up auto-approval or require an administrator to approve the challenge completion manually.
- Deliver points: HR professionals receive points for completing your weekly podcast challenge following approval. They can redeem points for a selection of rewards, including Amazon products, gift cards, charity donations, custom rewards, and company swag.
Ready to incorporate Nectar’s motivational initiatives into your HR team’s growth journeys? Request a demo today.