Updated: October 09, 2022

92 Best HR Quotes to Motivate Employees in 2023

You found our list of the best HR quotes.

HR quotes are phrases about managing and motivating employees effectively. These sayings often come from influential figures and HR thought leaders. The purpose of these quotes is to give human resource professionals the motivation and mindset to perform effectively.

These sayings are similar to daily work quotes, hard work quotes, quotes on job satisfaction, and team building quotes.

This list includes:

  • funny hr quotes
  • motivational hr quotes
  • quotes on human capital
  • recruitment quotes
  • inspirational human resources quote
  • quotes about empathy
  • people skills quotes
  • quotes about communicating
  • company culture quotes

Here we go!

Funny hr quotes

  1. “The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” — Robert Frost
  2. “I will always choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” — Bill Gates
  3. “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” — Rita Mae Brown
  4. “The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form.​” — Stanley J. Randall
  5. “When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.” — Henry J. Kaiser
  6. “Be like a postage stamp. Stick to a thing till you get there.” — Josh Billings

Motivational hr quotes

  1. “Human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them; they’re not just lying around on the surface.” — Ken Robinson
  2. “The way you ask for criticism and react when you get it goes a long way toward building trust—or destroying it.” ― Kim Malone Scott
  3. “It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  4. “A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.” — Henry Kissenger
  5. “Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.” — Jim Goodnight
  6. “Before you are a leader, success is about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is about growing others.” — Jack Welch
  7. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt
  8. “You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.” — Sam Rayburn
  9. “We rise by lifting others.” — Robert Ingersoll
  10. “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands– one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Audrey Hepburn
  11. “You cannot mandate productivity; you must provide the tools to let people become their best.” — Steve Jobs

Quotes on human capital

  1. “Where people aren’t having fun, they seldom produce good work.” — David Ogilvy
  2. “The most important thing that we entrepreneurs have is our human capital. If we exhaust it, we make bad decisions.” — Arianna Huffington
  3. “In the long run, your human capital is your main base of competition. Your leading indicator of where you’re going to be 20 years from now is how well you’re doing in your education system.” — Bill Gates
  4. “When people are your greatest asset, like at Deloitte, investments in human capital should be considered in the same way other companies might invest significantly in product R&D.” — Cathy Engelbert
  5. “It’s about getting the best people, retaining them, nurturing a creative environment & helping to find a way to innovate.” — Marissa Mayer
  6. “Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined and connected to one another. And, when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.” — Daniel Pink
  7. “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” — Jim Collins

Recruitment quotes

  1. “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.” — Simon Sinek
  2. “I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
  3. “Nothing we do is more important than hiring people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not strategies.” — Lawrence Bossidy
  4. “Recruitment IS marketing. If you’re a recruiter nowadays and you don’t see yourself as a marketer, you’re in the wrong profession.” — Matthew Jeffrey
  5. “Recruiting talent is no different than any other challenge a startup faces. It’s all about selling.” — Vivek Wadhwa
  6. “True leadership isn’t about having an idea. It’s about having an idea and recruiting other people to execute on this vision.” — Leila Janah
  7. “Managers live and die by their recruitment.” — Paul Scholes
  8. “Time spent on hiring is time well spent.” — Robert Half
  9. “I look for two things when I hire a new employee: ambition and humility. Without a proven track record of initiative and ambition, it’s likely the person becomes a drain rather than a contributor to the company — even the really smart, talented ones.” — Justin McLeod
  10. “You need the right people with you, not the best people.” — Jack Ma
  11. “Hire character. Train skill.” — Peter Schultz
  12. “Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for the love of it.” — Henry David Thoreau

Inspirational human resources quotes

  1. “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” — Richard Branson
  2. “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” — Rumi
  3. “Make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, has a meaningful impact and is contributing to the good of society.” — Larry Page
  4. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
  5. “If you think you are leading and turn around to see no one following, then you are just taking a walk.” — Benjamin Hooks
  6. “High expectations are the key to everything.” — Sam Walton
  7. “Human resources isn’t a thing we do, it’s the thing that runs our business.” — Steve Wynn
  8. “Human resources are the most valuable assets the world has. They are all needed desperately.” — Eleanor Roosevelt Quote
  9. “The body may be bought with a paycheck but the heart is earned with a purpose.” — Angela Lynne Craig
  10. “Imagine how work would feel for you if, instead of people coming to you with anxiety and desperation, they shared their gratitude for making their lives easier and for being there when they most needed support.” — Laszlo Bock
  11. “You don’t build a business – you build people – and then people build your business.” — Zig Ziglar

Quotes about empathy

  1. “Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” — Mohsin Hamid
  2. “The greater good is achieved by not only telling people what they need to know, but also filling them with a sense of empathy and love.” — Abigail Disney
  3. “Empathy is the starting point for creating a community and taking action. It’s the impetus for creating change.” — Max Carver
  4. “Resilience is, of course, necessary for a warrior. But a lack of empathy isn’t.” — Phil Klay
  5. “Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.” — Daniel H. Pink
  6. “Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of you’re not alone.” — Brene Brown
  7. “I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” Maya Angelou
  8. “Compassion is empathy plus action.” ― Kim Malone Scott
  9. “We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.” — Carl Rogers
  10. “Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for kindness.” — Seneca
  11. “Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Check out this list of ways to increase employee empathy.

People skills quotes

  1. “Human beings are complicated, thorny, messy things. But those unquantifiable qualities are also what make magic happen.” ― Laszlo Bock
  2. “Relationships, not power, drive you forward.” ― Kim Malone Scott
  3. “The human has to come first, use technology to create a better bond with the human.” — Katrina Collier
  4. “Getting along with others is the essence of getting ahead, success being linked with cooperation.” — William Feather
  5. “The best way to get along with people is to not expect them to be like you.” — Joyce Meyers
  6. “Not everyone thinks the way you think, knows the things you know, believes the things you believe, nor acts the way you would act. Remember this and you will go a long way in getting along with people.” — Arthur Forman
  7. “Getting along well with other people is still the world’s most needed skill. With it…there is no limit to what a person can do. We need people, we need the cooperation of others. There is very little we can do alone.” — Earl Nightingale
  8. “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” — Dwight D Eisenhower
  9. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
  10. “It’s a wild thing, that people have the ability to help each other by just relating to one another.” — Natasha Lyonne
  11. “Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.” — Jay Danzie

Quotes about communicating

  1. “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” — John C. Maxwell
  2. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw
  3. “Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” — Andy Stanley
  4. “If you believe people are fundamentally good and worthy of trust, you must be honest and transparent with them. That includes telling them when they are lagging behind in their performance. But having a mission-driven, purposeful workplace also requires that you approach people with sensitivity.” — Laszlo Bock
  5. “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” ― Ernest Hemingway
  6. “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” — Paul J. Meyer
  7. “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” — Peter Drucker
  8. “Communication works for those who work at it.” — John Powell
  9. “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” — Tony Robbins
  10. “Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.” — Jim Rohn
  11. “Communicate unto the other person that which you would want him to communicate unto you if your positions were reversed.” — Aaron Goldman
  12. “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” — Epictetus

Company culture quotes

  1. “Part of company culture is path-dependent – it’s the lessons you learn along the way.” — Jeff Bezos
  2. “Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you’ve got.” —Peter Drucker
  3. “Like people, when companies work to foster a culture of collaboration, communication becomes second nature.” — Doug McMillon
  4. “Ultimately, what any company does when it is successful is merely a lagging indicator of its existing culture.” — Satya Nadella
  5. “The company culture is about being human, being good to other people.” — Logan Green
  6. “Every time I see high-trust cultures, I see a lessening of adversarialism.” — Stephen Covey
  7. “Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion.” — Brian Chesky
  8. “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” — Simon Sinek
  9. “Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur.” — David Cumming
  10. “There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” — Richard Branson
  11. “Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.” — Tony Hsieh


Human resource staff are leaders of company culture and employee engagement, however sometimes these folks need a pep talk themselves. Hearing HR quotes can help put professionals in the mindset to build an empowered, engaged, collaborative workforce.

For more tips, check out these guides to HR blogs, motivation books, HR skills, HR software and human resources books.

We also have a list of the best HR conferences to attend, list of quotes on teamwork, list of team building slogans, one with quotes on success and quotes for National Disability Awareness month.

FAQ: HR quotes

Here are answers to common questions about HR quotes.

What are HR quotes?

HR quotes are famous sayings that relate to human resources and are about topics like empathy, communication, and employee motivation. These quotes are often from noteworthy organizational leaders.

What are the best HR quotes to motivate employees?

Some of the best HR quotes to motivate employees include:

  • “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt
  • “You cannot mandate productivity; you must provide the tools to let people become their best.” — Steve Jobs
  • “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” — Richard Branson
  • “We rise by lifting others.” — Robert Ingersoll
  • “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” ― Ernest Hemingway

You can incorporate these quotes into motivational speeches, or end team emails with these sayings in the signature.

How can you use HR quotes?

You can use HR quotes in emails, ecards, or on social media. Some human resources departments like to share a quote of the day to inspire the staff.

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Marketing Coordinator at teambuilding.com.
Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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