This is the go-to foundation text for issues relating to strategic human resources in the UK, produced by the CIPD, the UKs body for helping develop human resources and HR competences inside organisations. What I find especially helpful is that the book collects together case studies that give a real world view of the issues that it tackles.
It is easy to follow, well presented, and could be used as a reference guide, or read straight through (but keep your notebook handy!) as a way to approach HR in a real organisation. It's definitely one for the decision makers, though, rather than a guide for employees, unless they have designs on becoming a leader in their own organisation.