10 Powerful HR Podcasts To Transform Your Organization’s Culture in 2021

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A fact that all HR leaders can attest to is that there’s always more to learn in the field of HR. 

If you want to keep up to date with the latest HR happenings, there’s no better place to turn to than HR podcasts. They’re an easy way to get up to speed with the latest industry trends, HR initiatives, and research about best practices—without breaking a sweat. 

But with over 2 million podcasts and 48 million podcast episodes to choose from, you may not know which will help you to transform their workplace culture.

That’s why we created this list of the best free HR podcasts of 2021. Our selections explore a broad range of HR topics, from how to improve workplace culture, to HR tech, to employee mental health, and diversity and inclusion. If you nerd out on all things HR, you’ll no doubt find our expert podcast picks seriously addictive! 

1. WorkLife with Adam Grant

Cover art for worklife with adam grant
WorkLife with Adam Grant

Listen to WorkLife with Adam Grant on Spotify or Apple Podcasts 

What’s it about?

Once one of Apple Podcasts’ most downloaded new shows, WorkLife with Adam Grant has enjoyed continued success, with millions of downloads per episode and a formidable rating of 4.8 out of 5. So what’s all the fuss about? The podcast’s host, organizational psychologist Adam Grant, has an uncanny ability to get listeners’ minds ticking about “how to make work not suck”. 

Grant explores this humorously relatable topic not only by sharing his own expert knowledge but also by quizzing a range of interesting thought leaders. The podcast will give hiring managers the insights they need to foster workplaces where employees feel genuinely supported to excel, and—gasp—actually enjoy working in.

Must-listen episode

Episode 22 – Burnout Is Everyone’s Problem

Burnout is a word that’s thrown around with little appreciation of how devastating it can be to employees’ wellbeing. By exploring what some high-pressure workplaces have done to address burnout, this episode will give you plenty of useful tips for tackling the problem in your own workplace.

Memorable quote

“Having a mentor makes a difference. What you might not know is that being a mentor also changes leaders. Research reveals that as white men work to support and sponsor women and minorities, they start to shed some of their stereotypes, and championing diversity and inclusion then becomes a habit.”

Adam Grant, Host of WorkLife

2. The Hennessy Report

Cover art for the hennessy report
The Hennessy Report

Listen to The Hennessy Report on Spotify or Apple Podcasts 

What’s it about?

If you’re after a human resource management podcast that doesn’t shy away from discussing the most pressing—and sticky—HR issues impacting business success, The Hennessy Report is well worth a listen. 

The podcast is the brainchild of Keystone Partners, leading career management and leadership development consulting firm, and the Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA). In each episode, host David Hennessy invites one of the nation’s leading HR executives to delve into topical HR issues such as racism, leadership transparency, and the barriers facing women in the workplace. 

Listening to Hennessy and his guests’ insights on such issues will give you pause for thought, and hopefully, new perspectives on age-old HR problems.

Must-listen episode

Episode 56 – Anthony Williams Akamai Technologies

This episode is one of the podcast’s best because guest Anthony Williams’ global, cultural perspectives are just so refreshing to hear. If you’re after inspiration, tune in to listen to how the CHRO at Akamai Technologies has made it his mission to ensure talent acquisition methods support diverse employees.

Memorable quote

“At the peak of the pandemic, because we shut down all of our elective cases, we had nearly 40,000 employees working remotely… We had to learn how to support those employees too… We didn’t furlough one person.”

Rosemary Sheehan, Chief Human Resources Officer at Mass General Brigham, Inc. (Episode 60 – Rosemary Sheehan Mass General Brigham, Inc.)

3. Digital HR Leaders with David Green

Cover art for digital hr leaders with david green
Digital HR Leaders with David Green

Listen to Digital HR Leaders on Spotify or Apple Podcasts 

What’s it about?

Digital HR Leaders with David Green is not only one of the best HR podcasts in the UK, but also one of the best HR analytics podcasts you’ll come across anywhere. It’s all down to the man behind the mic, who has both the credentials and personality to drive meaningful discussions about data-driven HR. 

The Executive Director of Insight222, a networking and consulting business focused on People Analytics, Green provides listeners with thought-provoking insights about the future of work and HR. He doesn’t claim to have all the answers, however. So each week, expect to also hear from thought leaders who have a wealth of knowledge about data-driven and digital HR agendas. 

Must-listen episode

Episode 51 – The Future of HR

In this episode, you’ll hear from Brigette McInnis-Day, the Head of HR at Google Cloud, Dave Ulrich, Professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and Rupert Morrison, the CEO at orgvue. Their discussion about the impact the pandemic has had on organizations, employees, and HR is brimming with invaluable tips for HR professionals in all industries.

Memorable quote

“We were doing focus groups, women, men, millennial, non-millennial, US, non-US engineering, sales. [We were] looking at it from lots of different angles to ultimately ground our culture in something that spoke to everyone, as opposed to just one group at Microsoft.”

Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s Chief People Officer (Episode 76 – Microsoft’s Chief People Officer on Creating a Data Driven Culture in HR)

4. Workology Podcast with Jessica Miller-Merrell

Cover art for workology podcast with jessica miller-merrell
Workology Podcast with Jessica Miller-Merrell

Listen Workology Podcast with Jessica Miller-Merrell on Spotify or Apple Podcasts

What’s it about?

If you love to binge on a good human resources podcast, Workology will give you plenty to chew on. Hosted by SPHR Jessica Miller-Merrell, new episodes are released every few days. 


So who is the podcast for? It’s aimed at “HR leaders who are tired of the status quo”. This makes it ideal for anyone who’s open to trying out new and disruptive HR trends and tools. 

We also recommend it to anyone who’s interested in HR case studies from big-name brands like Apple, Microsoft, and Accenture. With such a winning podcasting formula, it’s hardly surprising Workology boasts over 300 episodes and 700,000 listeners every month.

Must-listen episode

Episode 306 – AI and Workplace Inclusion

In “AI and Workplace Inclusion”, Miller-Merrell sits down with John Robinson, who heads a company that uses AI-powered technology to improve the job-seeking process for people with disabilities. The two engage in a truly fascinating discussion that brings to light the number of ways in which technology can be used to support workplace inclusion. 

Memorable quote

“If we’re truly committed to a great employee experience, if we’re committed to the ideals of justice and equity and we want a safe and productive workforce, then we need to recognize [that] for many employees, they can’t separate themselves from the current social culture and political issues.”

Dr. Melissa Horne, Director of Client Experience at Learning Snippets and Dialectic (Episode 307 – DEI and Social Justice in the Workplace With Melissa Horne)

5. HR Works: The Podcast for Human Resources

Cover art for hr works: the podcast for human resources
HR Works: The Podcast for Human Resources

Listen to HR Works: The Podcast for Human Resources on Spotify or Apple Podcasts 

What’s it about?

“Relatable guests”, “Consistently thought-provoking”, “A treasure trove of information”. These are a few of the many glowing reviews listeners have left about HR Works: The Podcast for Human Resources. The podcast promises to provide clear, relevant, and actionable information, and like its fans, we believe it’s a good hr podcast that delivers.

In its 200+ episodes, host James Davis offers no shortage of actionable tips on a huge variety of HR topics. Think everything from employee burnout to LGBTQIA+ discrimination, to Hispanic recruiting trends. Some of the episodes are so powerful, in fact, that you may wish to listen to them more than once. At least, that’s been our experience.

Must-listen episode

5-Minute Friday – The 8 Hour Workday Is Dead

Most of us are used to working 8 hours or more each day. But just because it’s been the norm for so long, doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way forever. That’s precisely what guest Greg Portell, Lead Partner in the Global Consumer Practice, Kearney, asserts in this engaging episode. He argues that the 8-hour workday is dead – and after listening you may find yourself agreeing.

Memorable quote

“It seems that the power dynamic between employers and employees has shifted towards employees just in the past few months… So what does this all mean? The onus of responsibility, at least from my perspective, is on employers to shift and adjust to meet these new challenges.”

James Davis, Host of HR Works: The Podcast for Human Resources (Episode 159 – Adapting Beyond the Transaction Mindset)

6. HR Happy Hour

Cover art for hr happy hour
HR Happy Hour

Listen to HR Happy Hour on Spotify or Apple Podcasts 

What’s it about?

We’d be remiss not to include the HR Happy Hour in our list of top HR podcasts in 2020 in the United States. It’s not only the longest-running HR podcast around, but it’s also the most downloaded.

Hosted by Steve Boese, the Co-Chair of the HR Technology Conference, and Trish McFarlane, CEO of H3 HR Advisors, HR Happy Hour will teach you how to become a more knowledgeable, empathetic, and impactful HR or business leader. 

While the podcast primarily focuses on human resources, you’ll also learn about management, leadership, and workforce technology. Some game-changing episodes you can look forward to include “Creating Successful Employee Resource Groups” and “Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace”. 

Must-listen episode

Episode 401 – Reinventing the Organization

It’s hard to beat an episode that features a guest who’s often referred to as ‘the father of modern HR’. After listening to Dave Ulrich discuss the benefits of change and disruption in the workplace for both businesses and employees alike, you’ll feel inspired to embrace, rather than turn away from it.

Memorable quote

“Why we’re talking about this [neurodiversity in the workplace] so much now is that we recognize that over the last ten, twenty years neuro distinct people represent a huge demographic… and [they] can bring very significant strengths…”

Ed Thompson, CEO and Founder of Uptimize (Episode 496 – Supporting Neurodiversity in the Workplace) 

7. The Anxious Achiever

Cover art for the anxious achiever with morra aarons-mele
The Anxious Achiever with Morra Aarons-Mele

Listen to The Anxious Achiever with Morra Aarons-Mele on Spotify or Apple Podcasts 

What’s it about?

These past few years have been challenging for many of us personally and professionally. Despite the fact that many face mental health issues, it’s still a taboo topic at work. The Anxious Achiever has become known for expert guidance and frank discussions on this issue, guided by host Morra Aarons-Mele. 

The podcast gives listeners an opportunity to hear from both guests who are dealing with mental health issues and experts in those conditions. By tuning in, you’ll not only develop greater empathy for employees struggling with such issues but also learn how to better support them.

Must-listen episode

Episode 53 – Why Therapy Can Make You Better at Your Job

One of the most recent episodes from the podcast, “Why Therapy Can Make You Better at Your Job”, provides a candid look at the relationship between therapy and work. Guest Vikas Shah shares how his own therapy journey has shaped his approach to leadership and entrepreneurship. While the entire podcast is worth listening to from top to bottom, this particular episode is an excellent one to start off with.

Memorable quote

“None of us want to be so fully our job that we aren’t understood as whole people… When you’re thinking about the marriage between your professional life and your individual identity, it’s getting more complex.” 

Jessi Hempel, Senior Editor at Large at LinkedIn (Episode 58 – The Great Re-Norming)

8. HR Party of One

Cover art for hr party of one
HR Party of One

Listen to HR Party of One on Spotify or Apple Podcasts 

What’s it about?

Do you work in HR at a small or medium-sized business? Chances are that you feel like many of the HR issues facing larger companies aren’t that relevant to your workplace. You may even feel that the usual HR tools and strategies suggested by experts don’t really make sense to implement at your company.

If you’re nodding along, HR Party of One is made for HR professionals just like you. Host Sarah Hecht will show you the ins and outs of effective HR for small to medium-sized businesses. Some of the most recent episodes explore phone interview best practices, FAQs about paid time off, and the best retention strategies this year. New episodes come out every Thursday, so mark it in your calendars.

Must-listen episode

Episode 74 – COVID-19: How to Communicate to Employees that You’re Returning to the Office

This episode tackles an issue many HR professionals will face in the coming months: transitioning back to the office. Hecht shares best practices for safely and efficiently doing so, and practical tips for handling employees who don’t see eye to eye with such policies. Listening could be just the thing to ensure your own workplace’s transition is as smooth as possible.

Memorable quote

“To find out whether applicants have passion, ask questions like: ‘What were some of your favorite parts of each position you help?’ and ‘What motivates you to do your job day in and day out?’” 

Sarah Hecht, Host of HR Party of One (Episode 87 – How to Conduct a Face-to-Face Interview Tutorial)

9. Employment Law Now

Cover art for employment law now
Employment Law Now

Listen to Employment Law Now on Spotify or Apple Podcasts 

What’s it about?

Just like any other professional, HR leaders can’t be expected to know everything about human resources. This is particularly true when it comes to employment law. If you’ve been searching for a crash course on how to handle legal issues in HR, set aside the time to listen to The Employment Law and HR Podcast.

Host and Vice-Chair of Cozen O’Connor’s Labor & Employment Department Michael Schmidt addresses even the most complex legal issues in an easy-to-understand and approachable way, making listening a breeze. With episodes ranging from “Vaccines, Masks, and Other Big Developments” to “Thoughts on Workplace Violence and Safety Plans” you’ll find that you quickly get up to speed with the latest employment news, developments, and best practices.

Must-listen episode

Episode 96 – LOTS of Big Employment Law Developments

Got a spare 30 minutes? Listening to “LOTS of Big Employment Law Developments” may just be the most productive thing you do. The episode covers topics that are pertinent in HR right now, including COVID-19 considerations at work and new employment law developments, so consider it your HR law cheat sheet.

Memorable quote

“While so much is talked about on a federal level, don’t ignore [and] don’t forget the significant activity that takes place on a state and local level.”

Michael Schmidt, Host of Employment Law Now (Episode 87 – 21 for 21: Twenty-One Employment Law Issues to Watch in 2021)

10. The Way We Lead

Cover art for the way we lead
The Way We Lead

Listen to The Way We Lead on Spotify or Apple Podcasts 

What’s it about?

Want to learn how to be a better ally in the workplace? The Way We Lead will show you how. Hosted by Gabriela and Jenelle Acosta, this hr podcast is free and hones in on what it means to be a leader, an ally, and an advocate for underrepresented people. It’s as honest and raw as they come, as the hosts don’t hold back when discussing heavy topics like identity, power, and privilege. 

The Way We Lead features a fantastic lineup of guests, with some of our favorites being Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, and Rehana Mohammed, Board Co-Chair of the DC Center for the LGBT Community. The only downside is that it only spans a total of 10 episodes. But don’t worry, by the time you’re finished, you’ll be able to confidently reflect on and respond to workplace diversity issues. 

Must-listen episode

Episode 7 – Prevent “Diversity Debt” By Weaving Inclusion Into Your Startup Strategy with Kellie Wagner

As the title suggests, this episode focuses on how startups can proactively invest in diversity and inclusion strategies. Guest Kellie Wagner, Founder of Collective, a diversity and inclusion consultancy, compellingly highlights why D&I initiatives shouldn’t be an afterthought. She also explains how to meaningfully implement such initiatives in your workplace.

Memorable quote

“[Startups] often are averse to a ton of structure because they don’t want to end up being bureaucratic like the older Fortune 500 companies that we’ve seen in the past. But what we’ve found is that without structure… people then fall back on using their bias to make decisions.”

Kellie Wagner, Founder of Collective (Episode 7)

Conclusion

This handy list of the best podcasts for HR professionals will give you plenty of food for thought to transform your organization’s culture in 2021. Whether you listen to them while on a run, doing housework, or unwinding on the couch, you’ll be sure to discover an assortment of new perspectives, tools, trends, and developments in HR to consider and perhaps, put into action.

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