FutureLearn and partners encourage leaders of the future workplace to be change-ready

FutureLearn, the social learning platform, is today announcing in collaboration with Durham University and The Open University, the launch of courses in change and empowerment in the workplace. ‘Leading and Managing People-Centred Change’ is available now, while ‘Modern Empowerment in the Workplace’ starts on 25th September.

Human resources and those in leadership or organisational development positions are fundamental to implementing change in the workplace, particularly as employees enter new career paths for jobs that already exist, or enter new positions that will soon populate the workforce as new sectors emerge. As evolving technology drives the workplace forward and employee expectations grow, FutureLearn and their partners are looking to equip learners with the skills to manage and engage employees in the change process, and consider the rise of the empowerment era in the workplace.

The first course available to learners this month, ‘Leading and Managing People-Centred Change’, is aimed at those new to leadership roles, those currently working in or aspiring to work in human resources (HR), as well people in organisational development and internal communications roles. The course emphasises the importance of people within the change process and how they can be brought on board. The course begins by looking at how best to prepare for change, through internal communications plans and identifying key stakeholders in order to establish where support is needed during the project. Learners will also progress to look at the emotions and reactions of change and how these can be mis-managed. Finally, learners will look at how to monitor the implementation of a change project and managing potential threats to its success.

Dr. Julie Hodges, specialist in people-centred change at Durham University Business School and lead educator of the course, said: “The rate of change in today's global workplace is accelerating due to advances in technology, so it’s vital to ensure change is implemented successfully in order for organisations to realise the benefits of change more effectively. We felt it was important to focus on the people element of change; it's critical to engage relevant people at all levels within the business, not only to implement but also to sustain change. We’re thrilled that as well as course learning, participants will be able to compare experiences and insights from professionals, enabling them to appreciate different perspectives of change and develop practical tools and approaches which they can apply to their own organisations.”

The Open University’s course: ‘Modern Empowerment in the Workplace’ starts on 25th September and aims to target those currently aspiring to work in human resources. The course explores the rise of the new empowerment era and the key role that HR practitioners play. Where many organisations position the employee as central to the organisation’s strategy, the course begins by looking at defining empowerment and asking learners to question how empowered they are in their place of work. Learners will have the opportunity to look at case studies from organisations such as John Lewis, the NHS and Googleplex. Learners will also explore challenges around the idea of empowerment, such as ‘boundaryless careers’. They will finally look at the future empowerment of work and look at concepts such as the ‘post-work’ society.

Stephen Somerville, Director of Business Development at FutureLearn, said: “The workplace is constantly evolving to adapt to societal changes and subsequent employee expectations. In many cases, today’s office environment is unrecognisable from previous generations and the rate of change is increasing exponentially. In parallel, those serious about progressing in Human Resources and leadership roles must understand the impact of this pace of change and are equip themselves to help manage their teams through it. It’s fantastic that Durham and the OU address this issue and encourage learners to equip themselves with the skills needed for this ever-changing working landscape.”

As with most FutureLearn courses, the courses can be taken for free or there is the option to upgrade to receive additional benefits.

About FutureLearn: Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform, enabling online learning through conversation. With over 6.5 million people from over 200 countries across the globe – a community that is continuously growing – it offers free and paid for online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, as well as organisations such as the European Space Agency, the British Council and Cancer Research UK. FutureLearn’s course portfolio covers a wealth of areas to promote lifelong learning for a range of applications including general interest, an introduction to university studies, continuing professional development and fully online postgraduate degrees.

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