Get an introduction to the practice of Human Resources, and develop the skills you need to become an HR professional.

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HR Fundamentals
  • Duration

    5 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    Learn at your own paceHow it works
  • Unlimited

    $23.33/monthLearn more

Find out how good HR practice supports organisations and their people

HR professionals look after the greatest creators of value (and risk) in organisations: their people.

On this course, you’ll get an introduction to the practice of HR, and develop skills you need as an HR professional.

You’ll learn how HR helps organisations achieve business goals and strategic objectives.

You’ll explore the basic principles of workforce planning, employee recruitment and retention.

Finally, you’ll find out about performance management, and how to support people in achieving goals.


  • Week 1

    What HR means

    • Getting started

      During this week we’ll answer some of the questions we know learners have and which will set up the learning, starting with the question ‘What is HR?’

    • HR professionalism

      Discover why those working in HR should always act professionally, and what is meant by HR professionalism.

  • Week 2

    HR practice

    • The evolution of the HR profession

      There are many different, and sometimes contradictory views of HR. Let’s look at why this is the case, and how HR can differ from organisation to organisation.

    • What does good HR practice look like?

      We’ve seen that the way in which HR operates is very much dependent on the surrounding context. So, we need to develop a more holistic approach to defining great HR practice.

    • The importance of data

      The decisions we make as HR professional affect people’s lives. Let’s have a look at the data we’re able to collect and use to inform those decisions and how to ensure we doing so in a lawful and ethical way.

    • Impact of great HR practice

      We’ve seen what great HR looks like. Now, let’s look at some examples of how HR professionals have been able to use this to create meaningful change within their organisations.

  • Week 3

    People and strategy

    • People matter

      During this week we’ll explore how and why people are essential for organisational success, and how HR supports this through helping the organisation achieve its strategy through the people who work for it.

    • Strategy

      In this activity we will look at organisational strategy and HR strategy before going onto People Strategy through workforce planning. We will see what each one consists of, and how they relate to their organisation.

    • Workforce planning

      Here we explore why it is important to plan your workforce, and how this planning helps enable your organisation to meet its needs and objectives now and in the future.

  • Week 4

    Performance, engagement, reward and recognition

    • Getting the best from yourself and others

      An introduction to performance at work, characteristics and effective conversations. Breaking performance down into three components that encourage personal change.

    • Performance management conversations

      How to have effective performance management conversations, and support managers in bringing the best out of their teams and build engagement in colleagues.

    • Employee engagment

      What employee engagement is, why it matters, and how to build it

    • Reward and recognition

      What reward and recognition are (financial and non-financial) and how it ties into performance management

  • Week 5


    • Tying it all together

      This week we are going to explore Recruitment. Why it is so important to HR professionals, and what you can do to help get it right. Then we’re going to look back over the learning you’ve completed, and at what you can do next.

    • Bringing people into the organisation

      In this activity we’ll look at bringing people into the organisation, and why they may wish to join in the first place.

    • HR profession – recap

      A recap on how professionalism underpins all the fundamentals that have been learned, and how to gain continuing support and guidance during your career.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe HR Professionalism and demonstrate an understanding of its importance to people and organisations
  • Apply basic principles of workforce planning, including recruitment and retention
  • Demonstrate understanding of performance management and how to get the best out of people
  • Describe the role of HR in supporting an organisation in meeting its strategy and objectives

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at new and aspiring HR professionals, but may also be of interest to people responsible for people operations.

Who will you learn with?

I'm Head of Partnerships for CIPD Middle East. A Chartered CIPD Member with an MBA from Henley Business School the scholarship for 2003 and a MA in Personnel & Development from Westminster University

Described as “one of the UK’s most influential HR and workplace commentators”, David is the CIPD’s Membership Director and a respected speaker, writer and expert on progressive HR & business practice.

Steve is the CIPD’s HR Content Manager and has over 15 years’ experience in developing online training for some of the world's top brands and HR teams. Twitter: @steveglearning

Who developed the course?

CIPD - Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

The CIPD is the professional body for HR and people development. The registered charity offers professional training and accreditation for those working in HR and learning and development.


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  • Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a year
  • Discuss your learning in comments
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  • All of the above* for this course only, plus a printed certificate when you’re eligible

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  • Limited access to course content for 7 weeks

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Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
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Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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