“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” It’s hard to argue with this time-honored adage, yet freebies do exist in the world. In fact, the internet abounds with free things. If your occupation is in Human Resource management, free internet courses can make a difference in your day-to-day workload. The following free courses are filled with helpful suggestions and ideas for motivating the people under your supervision. Properly motivated, employees will find greater satisfaction in work and go on to achieve greater productivity. We have arranged these courses under the headings of General HR, Recruitment, HR Management, Engagement, Hiring and Training, and Wellbeing. Each review gives you an idea of how long it may take to complete each course and whether a certificate can be expected. In certain cases, transcripts or lecture notes are available.
General HR Courses
Alison Diploma in HR
This free course on Alison.com covers topics from hiring to termination, and from which situations call for an HR consultant to which call for an internal HR manager. The diploma upon course completion is available for purchase in the Alison.com shop. Students must achieve 80% or higher to graduate from the course. This certification is recognized by top employers and would burnish any resume or CV. The diploma in human resources is valuable for recent graduates and established professionals, alike.
Oxford Home Study College
With year-round open enrollment, this free course covers three main areas of human resources: HR management; recruiting fundamentals; and staff development and training. Oxford Home Study Centre is based in the UK but could prove useful to those new to HR or those long established in the field with an eye to the multinational workplace or a career abroad. The course can be completed in 20 hours and results in a free certificate sent to your email.
HR Fundamentals with FutureLearn
This five week course on HR fundamentals offered by FutureLearn has multiple start dates per year, and students may join and work through the class after the start date. The course estimates to take about 15 hours of study time in total. Finer points covered by the course include the practice of HR professionalism, the effective use of data, and how to use HR to enable an organization to execute its strategy. This course is targeted to HR professionals, but may be of use to anyone who finds an HR related hat in their wardrobe of work tasks.
People and Organizations from MIT
This course from 2005 may not bring you cutting-edge HR strategy, but with the clout of MIT at its back, it boasts a solid dose of the theory underpinning successful people operations in business. The undergraduate course is administered in bi-weekly 1.5 hour sessions and is part of MIT’s Sloan School of Management’s minor in management. The course covers the history of “going to work” as well as studying how organizations adapt to stress and change. Many of the required readings are available as downloadable PDFs.
Introduction to Human Resources for US Small Business Administration
This free 30 minute online course from the US Small Business Administration requires Flash and is designed to highlight the critical role HR plays in the typical small business. In addition to HR principles and theory, the course emphasizes US labor law as it pertains to this area. It also illustrates resources the SBA offers to small business owners that can clear up murky issues in this high stress/high importance area. The class is comprised of a series of Flash videos and worksheets. Transcripts of the videos are available.
OpenLearn: Human resources – recruitment and selection
This free course from OpenLearn results in a complementary statement of participation upon completion. Covering the often onerous hiring process, this free online HR course emphasizes a full and fair recruitment process that results in satisfied employees and appreciative employers who have followed the law. Other topics this course includes are the tension of person-job fit versus person-organization fit, writing effective recruiting descriptions, and conducting meaningful job interviews.
Urban Labor Markets and Employment Policy
This MIT course from 2005 by Professor Paul Osterman addresses urban labor markets and their functioning. It is organized into one three hour session per week, lasting eleven weeks. Lecture notes are available in PDF format and the course covers issues like the youth labor market, living wage campaigns, and unions. The graduate level course is part of the curriculum for the Sloan School of Management.
Coursera: Preparing to Manage HR
This course is designed for anyone interested in using human resource management principles to get more out of their workforce. It is part of the five course series: Human Resource Management: HR for People Managers Specialization. Non-monetary compensation; the manager as party of the work ecosystem; and alternative human resource approaches are topics covered in this introductory level course offering free enrollment. It comes with a self-paced education option, course videos, readings, and practice quizzes.
Strategic HR Management
This graduate level course from MIT is offering to teach students the ins and outs of how best to manage your organization’s human assets and how best to implement strategies to bring your vision to life. This course is presented from the perspective of a general manager and concerns HR fields like reward systems, EEOC law, diversity in the workplace, and how to retain the best employees. Features of this online course include selected lecture notes, written assignments, and exams.
International and Strategic HR Management
This 2-3 hour course covers the diverse skill set required to manage an international team. Coping strategies and sustainability are two of the skills on offer with this program. The history of international human relations and the phases of “internationalization” experienced by an organization are also touched on. This class includes an end-of-class assessment and certification is available through Alison.com. This is one of several free courses provided by the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning.
Cross-cultural communication is an important skill in the ever more diverse modern workplace. Instead of expecting various employees to “code switch” to meet your expectations, the modern HR specialist can reach across the divide and meet employees where they live. Covering such topics as basic intercultural competency, self-awareness, intercultural empathy, and cultural differences in nonverbal communication. The class is offered by Purdue University multiple times per year through Futurelearn.
Creating Meaning For Employees
Alignment is business-speak for making sure that employees’ personal goals link up with your organization’s business and cultural goals. And alignment is a big part of creating a meaningful work experience. Without that “buy-in,” you just have a collection of drones buzzing from task to task. With proper alignment, workers feel connected to the company and will use the full range of their talents to bring about professional success for them and for their employer. This free course from Alison can be completed in a couple of hours and receives high marks for its video elements.
Hiring and Training
Global Human Capital Trends
Free and self-paced, this course from the Columbia University School of Professional Studies delves into how the workforce (and therefore organizations) are changing in unexpected ways. Using evidence-based techniques and with an eye to the future, this multi-hour educational exercise delves into a 2016 report by Deloitte LLP that looks at the top ten human capital trends in the global market at that time. The course is targeted for HR and business leaders. A certificate of completion is available upon finishing the course.
Managing Social and Human Capital
From the Wharton School at UPenn, comes this course about managing the most valuable and unpredictable resource of every business, the workforce. Getting and keeping good people, and maintaining a company culture that reinforces those goals, the class shores up these underserved areas of the HR curriculum. Taught by Wharton faculty Michael Useem and Peter Cappelli, Managing Social and Human Capital is available free from Coursera as a four week course requiring about 2-3 hours per week of study.
Introduction to Time Management
Work is stressful, so many tasks, so little time on the schedule. This two-hour course will teach you (and your employees) useful hacks and time management skills to maximize productivity and minimize stress and burnout. Dealing with prioritization and routine development, this course also touches on how to develop and access the correct mindset for fuller productivity. If you work on a deadline, this free and brief class can help you break through the gridlock and get in touch with the You Who Gets Things Done. Certification is available for a fee.
Wellbeing is increasingly discussed as a measure of not just personal satisfaction, but at an organizational and national level, too, as a measure of the success of the endeavor as a whole. For instance, if the company thrives, but the employees are miserable and bailing out left and right, at what cost do you achieve success? Not to mention the HR headaches of such a situation. This course seeks to address how to measure wellbeing, and also how to pursue increasing this very desirable quality in your workers and your whole organization.
Modern Empowerment in the Workplace
This free course explores the new world of “at will work” and the positive aspects this can have for employers and employees. Targeted for those who do and those who wish to work in HR, the class moves through the “gig economy” and looks at how the freedom to work from anywhere, for anyone, can be a boon to workers. Also covered is how best to care for the needs of employees after this paradigm shift. A course completion certificate is available to eligible students for $84.