How LinkedIn Learning Is Teaching Me All About HR

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What I'm Learning About HR is a weekly blog post where I highlight some of the key ideas and concepts I'm learning about HR -- all through the eyes of a newbie to the field.

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” —Meister Eckhart

That Meister Eckhart - German philosopher, theologian, and mystic - really knows how to hone in on what matters most.

Career changes. Career moves. Where do you begin?

With the willingness to be a beginner. When? Every single day.

I suppose there are many ways to approach a deep dive into HR or any subject you're curious about. As I'm dipping my toes into this new field, the Internet is naturally a place to start. Sorry, Encyclopedia Brittanica. You will not be forgotten.

As we know, the Internet is a big place. The Wild West of information. For instance, there are 229 million results when Google-ing "human resources".

 LinkedIn Learning: Packed full of HR courses

LinkedIn Learning: Packed full of HR courses

Like any wise citizen of the Internet, you have to ask yourself whether the information is legit. Hint: Not everything on the Internet is true. 

As of right now, I'm resonating with LinkedIn Learning, a robust e-learning platform brought to us by the well-known professional network which boasts over 460 million members.

There are more than 60 HR-related courses on the platform, but I'm starting with the basics: The Foundations of HR. The format feels fresh, modern, and for the most part, engaging. I've stumbled across a few other online learning websites where the information felt a bit stale or the presentation was snooze-worthy.

Sure, there are other e-learning options out there, but here are two reasons I love the integration of e-learning with this social network for professionals:

1) If you like, you're welcome to easily add "skills" to your LinkedIn profile after taking a course
2) Each course often comes with a robust set of downloadable documents that have practical application and reinforce the lessons in a tangible way

The overall philosophy of these courses favors practicality over abstract theorizing.

That said, as an HR newbie, I'm finding it a little difficult to get a peek behind what I believe to be the "real" HR curtain.

There are so many books and articles out there that talk about the "big ideas" of HR (i.e. Employee experience or organizational culture). however, the everyday nitty gritty of admin work and compliance seems a bit tougher to find.

After being in the tech industry for a few years now, I've encountered robust, skills-focused educational programs such as General Assembly and Codecademy. Whether you're sharpening skills or shifting careers, these are robust hubs to learn coding, marketing, design, data science, or project management. 

The accessibility of those types of programs leaves me wondering - is there a bootcamp or "Codecademy" for HR? Is it hiding underneath my nose or do most HR professionals opt for a certificate program, grad school, or something else? what's best for hr newbies?

For as dynamic of a field as HR seems to be, surely there is a General Assembly equivalent out there.

In the meantime, what really spoke to me in The Foundations of HR course was the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)-backed competencies. A solid overview of HR was helpful, but these competencies felt like something I can really sink my teeth into. An opportunity to see where I've demonstrated these competencies in the past and a guidepost for how I can approach my own development in the field. Here's a snapshot of the competencies:

  1. Human Resources Expertise: Know and apply the principles and practices of HR to the success of the business

  2. Relationship Management: Your ability to manage interactions among people, provide services to help line managers manage, and support the org

  3. Consultation: Your ability to provide guidance to employees, managers, and other stakeholders

  4. Leadership and Navigation: Your ability to direct and contribute to performance and processes like staffing, performance management, and rewards

  5. Communication: Ensuring you can exchange information and convey understanding with people both in and outside of the org

  6. Global and Cultural Effectiveness: Your ability to value and consider the perspectives and backgrounds of all parties

  7. Ethical Practice: Can you support, uphold, and model the values of your org, while mitigating risk?

  8. Critical Evaluation: The ability to understand the logical connections between ideas, in order to evaluate arguments and make business decisions and recommendations

  9. Business Acumen: Your ability to understand and apply information in order to contribute to your org’s strategic plan

As I make this intentional pivot to land a role in HR (at a tech company), the wheels in my head are already turning:

  • Where and when have I demonstrated these competencies in my career?
  • Was it during my time as a support team lead or perhaps when I was a wine buyer?
  • How can I sharpen these competencies on a daily basis?

What I'm most excited for as I journey into a new career is this expanding horizon of information and practice that HR offers. The foundations are just the tip of the iceberg.