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Note: This post originally appeared on the LinkedIn Talent Solutions blog.

We are excited to announce that Michelle Obama will be joining us for a fireside chat on the main stage at Talent Connect this fall in Dallas. LinkedIn’s 10th annual conference for talent and HR professionals will be held from September 25 to 27. The event will feature three days of engaging speakers, breakthrough insights, and industry best practices, and it will culminate with a conversation with Mrs. Obama in which she’ll reflect on her remarkable life story as well as her passion for bringing together talented people.

Mrs. Obama has been a lawyer, nonprofit executive, university administrator, and undisputed owner of the New York Times best-seller list with her memoir, Becoming, which sat at No. 1 for months on end. And, of course, she was the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017.

In all her roles, Mrs. Obama has focused on building cohorts and coalitions of talented people who represent a broad range of viewpoints. Early in her career, for example, Mrs. Obama was a junior associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin where she was “parsing abstract intellectual property issues for big corporations,” according to Becoming. But she was also doing campus recruiting for the firm and pioneered tactics to find talented law students from underrepresented groups.

Many years later, her chief White House initiatives — tackling childhood obesity, promoting education, supporting members of the military service and their families — were all built by connecting dynamic people and building communities of advocates, experts, and interested parties.

For Mrs. Obama, connections are an important thread in life. When James Corden, the host of The Late Late Show and Carpool Karaoke, asked her what she would miss about the White House, it was not the ability to order a grilled cheese from the kitchen at 3 a.m. “I’m going to miss the people,” she said.

Join us in Dallas for “Conversation with Michelle Obama” and learn more about the journey that has taken her from Chicago’s South Shore to Washington, D.C., with hundreds of stops across the country and around the world along the way.

Her conversation is sure to be a highlight of the 2019 Talent Connect at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center from September 25 to 27.

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What do people really think of you at work?

I don’t know about you, but just thinking about that question makes me feel a little insecure. And I’m sure many of you have a similar response as myself, being, "I don’t know, they think good of me… I hope?".

Of course, you can’t control how other people think about you. But there are a few relatively simple things you can do that’ll help you build a stronger reputation at work.

Before I go any further, there might be some professionals wondering why you should worry what other people think at all. That’s fair and quite noble. But, if you do build a strong reputation for yourself at work, there are a few benefits to that – like getting promoted (and paid) more, getting to work on cooler projects and getting involved more in the decisions that affect you.

And you don't need to sell your soul to build a strong reputation, either. You just need to demonstrate to others you are in it to win it, without being a jerk. 

So, to that point, what are those things that’ll help your reputation at work? The things that'll improve the way others think about you?

In their LinkedIn Learning courses (all of which are great, by the way), mother-daughter duo Lisa McLeod and Elizabeth Lotardo cited these:

1. You show up to meetings on time.

My theory on this – if you are less senior at your organization, and you consistently show up late, people think you are flighty and don’t know what you are doing. Conversely, if you are more senior at your organization, and you consistently show up late, people think you are arrogant and don’t care about them.

Either, obviously, isn’t great. And I’m glad to hear Lotardo agrees with me – showing up on time is a little thing that can really help your reputation.

“Being on time sends the message that you're deeply invested,” Lotardo said in the course, Leading Without Formal Authority. “Secondly it sets a standard, a timely start lets everyone know how important the meeting is to you.”

2. You make the most out of meetings.

Meetings have such a bad rap. But they don't have to – meetings have the potential to be the most invigorating part of your day (seriously).

To make that happen, you need to do a few things. As far as attending meetings, it means doing the pre-reads and coming prepared with questions. And, it means not being on your phone or computer during the meeting, but instead focusing on what's being said.

As far as calling your own meetings, it means only calling meetings when they are absolutely necessary and ensuring that next steps are clear. This shows that you have your stuff together and you value other people’s times.

“If you're prepared, focused and action-oriented, meeting with your colleagues can be hugely productive,” McLeod said in her course, Leading Without Formal Authority.

Running great meetings and showing up well in other people’s meetings will greatly improve your reputation at work. And there’s an additional benefit – if you follow this advice, you’ll have less meetings, and the meetings you do have will actually be enjoyable.

3. You take control of your own development.

It’s not your boss's job or your organization’s job to develop you. They can offer the tools and feedback to help you develop yourself, but ultimately it’s up to you to develop you.

And, employees who work on themselves, who set goals and who take control of their own development are employees who have strong reputations within organizations. Ones who don’t, well, don’t – organizations want to invest in people who invest in themselves.

To do this, be specific, McLeod said in her course, Leading Yourself. Don’t just make vague goals, but specific areas you want to improve in – with specific plans for getting it done. She even encouraged professionals to give themselves their own annual performance review.

For example, don't say you want to be a better communicator. Instead, get feedback from your colleagues on where you need to improve to become a better communicator, and then work toward improving in that area.

“The main thing you need to remember, and know this to be true, is developing yourself does not come from a place of weakness,” McLeod said. “Developing yourself is a sign of your strength.”

4. You understand the strategy of your organization and tie your work into that.

Your job is not on an island. Your job is to help your organization accomplish what it’s seeking to accomplish, and your work varies depending on how your organization’s strategy changes.

If you understand what your organization’s strategy is and why it’s shaped that way, and always tailor your work so it ties into your organization’s goals, you will stand out, McLeod said in her course, Learning to be Promotable. People who do this have a reputation for being strategic and usually get more buy-in for their initiatives.

“Your understanding of the company and the market conditions, that helps you add value,” McLeod said. “It shows people that you're dialed into the big picture, you're proactive; you're that person who really gets it.”

5.  You are open to change, instead of fighting it.

This is an area many professionals fall short. They constantly fight change, probably because we as humans are evolutionary hard-wired to resist it.

That’s understandable, but the reality is in the Age of AI we are living in, change is only happening faster and faster. If you embrace change instead of fighting it, not only will you vastly improve your reputation at work – you will also create much more opportunity for yourself.

That doesn’t mean you have to embrace every new initiative, Lotardo said in her course, Learning to Be Promotable. It’s totally fair to give feedback and offer suggestions to make it better. Instead, it’s more about looking at the change objectively, instead of blindly rejecting anything different.

“Think back to some huge business changes,” Lotardo said. “The person who didn't want to create an email address or get a website 20 years ago is probably not a CEO today.”

Also, practically speaking, leading teams through change is really tough. One of the best ways to build a great reputation with senior leaders at your organization is to embrace that change – when it is in fact going to help your organization – and help others embrace it, too.

6. You treat people with respect and common courtesy.

I think there’s no more incorrect statement in business than “nice guys finish last.” Being a generally nice person who treats other people with respect and courtesy is a massive competitive advantage in the workplace.

Why? People want to invest in people they like being around. If you consistently treat people with respect, you will get more opportunities, not less. Conversely, people who treat others poorly generally don’t last too long, even if they are talented.

This doesn’t mean you are a pushover or you let people walk all over you. It just means you give people attention when they talk to you, you open the door for people who have things in their hands, you say “please” and “thank you”, etc.

“Courtesy plays such a big part in the way people view you,” McLeod said in her course, Learning to be Promotable. “So make sure you're polite and you're kind to everyone at the office, regardless of their role.”

So, want a great reputation at work? It starts with just being nice.

Lisa McLeod and Elizabeth Lotardo are fantastic Instructors, offering courses chock-full of practical advice for all professionals.

Some of their outstanding LinkedIn Learning courses include:

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We all get frustrated with our jobs sometimes. And no workplace is perfect; there are always things that could be improved.

But that doesn't mean the culture is outright toxic. Truly toxic workplaces are (relatively) rare, but if you are in one, best be going – soon.

How do you know if you are just having a bad day or if your workplace truly is a toxic one? In his LinkedIn Learning course Management Tips Weekly, Leadership Guru and Instructor Todd Dewett listed five signs that your workplace is, indeed, toxic:

In a video from his LinkedIn Learning series Management Tips Weekly, Instructor Todd Dewett lists five telltale signs of a toxic culture.

1. The head of the organization is either overly negative or narcissistic.

Leaders of organizations need to strike a balance of being both transparent and positive. The best leaders inspire their teams, without hiding the truth, and by making it about the employees or the vision, not themselves.

Toxic workplaces happen when the opposite happens. Either, the leader has lost faith in the organization and is overly negative. Or, they think the organization is there only to serve them, and makes everything about how great they are.

Either is a sign of a toxic workplace.

2. There is constant complaining among employees.

A classic sign of a toxic workplace. The workers there are always complaining, particularly about management not treating them fairly.

This can stem from a lot of causes. Either way, these are environments drenched in negativity.

3. There is no transparency.

Are decisions made out-of-the-blue, without consulting anyone? Are there a lot of secret meetings only a select few people are invited to?

All offices have some degree of surprises. But, if you are consistently surprised by decisions that happen at work, it’s a clear sign of no transparency – and a toxic culture.

4. Rules are enforced arbitrarily.

Is one person allowed to stroll in at 10 a.m., while everyone else is required to come in at 8? Are some people allowed to go to educational conferences, while others aren’t? Are some required to dress a certain way, while others aren’t?

“If you see no consistency in the application of rules at work, you might be facing a toxic environment,” Dewett said.

5. People are promoted based on relationships, not their performance.

Building off that point, what type of people are promoted within your organization? The very best people who have the most potential, or people who go fishing with the boss?

There’s some degree of politics at any organization. But, if it’s rampant, and going to a BBQ at a senior leader’s house is more important than doing great work, it’s a sign of a toxic culture.

What to Do if You Are an Employee in a Toxic Work Environment

Let’s say you are seeing at least two of these signs at your office. What should you do?

First off, unless you are the leader of the organization, recognize it’s not your fault. The culture is toxic, likely stemming from poor leadership.

You can try and change it by airing your concerns to management. If you are the leader of a team, you can work to create a great culture, at least among your group.

If the problem is truly systematic, you might not be able to change it. In that case, the best move is really to move on – because no matter what job you take at the organization or how much money you make, you still will be working in a toxic environment.

These LinkedIn Learning courses can help you land that next role:

Leaving a job is easier for some people than others. If you are forced to endure a toxic work environment for whatever reason, recognize it’s not you, it’s them; and focus on what you can control and doing a great job (as hard as that can be).

Todd Dewett’s course, Management Tips Weekly, is filled of short, actionable videos that can help you become a better leader.

Videos within the course cover:

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Each week presents a new opportunity for you and your team to learn the skills necessary to take on the next big challenge.

And, at LinkedIn Learning, we want to do everything we can to help make that happen.

So, each week, we add to our 14,000+ course library. And this past week was no different, as we added 31 new courses covering everything from Microsoft Excel to cloud development to performance-based hiring.

The new courses now available on LinkedIn Learning are:

Business Software Finance and Accounting HR Information Management Leadership and Management Marketing Project Management Graphic Design Visualization and Real-Time Back-End Web Development Cloud Development Data Science Front-End Web Development Security Software Methodologies

Want to see what else we offer? View all of LinkedIn Learning's 14,000+ courses today.

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Each week presents a new opportunity for you and your team to learn the skills necessary to take on the next big challenge.

And, at LinkedIn Learning, we want to do everything we can to help make that happen.

So, each week, we add to our 14,000+ course library. And this past week was no different, as we added 24 new courses covering everything from project management to cloud development to graphic design.

The new courses now available on LinkedIn Learning are:

Education and Instructional Design HR Marketing Project Management AEC Graphic Design Photography Video Back-End Web Development Cloud Development Cloud Infrastructure Data Science Mobile Development Software Methodologies

Want to see what else we offer? View all of LinkedIn Learning's 14,000+ courses today.

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For 24 years, Chris Voss worked as an FBI hostage negotiator, in places like New York City, the Gaza Strip and Iraq. There, he led some seriously intense negotiations, where lives were literally on the line.

His biggest lesson from that time – the negative weighs far heavier on people's minds than the positive. And so only by quelling the negative can you negotiate effectively and get the deal you want done.

“People are so much more driven by avoiding negative things and avoiding loss,” Voss said in the LinkedIn Learning course, Negotiating: A Toolkit for Advancing Your Interests. "If I can get the reasons you won't make a deal out of the way, you're probably going to make the deal."

Good news? In the course, Voss listed some specific techniques you can use to defuse the concerns of your counterpart. And this doesn’t just work for negotiating hostages; the same principles apply to everything from negotiating a higher salary to convincing your spouse to go on the vacation you want.

Former FBI Negotiator Chris Voss explains techniques that’ll help you get the outcome you want, in this clip from the LinkedIn Learning course Negotiating: A Toolkit for Advancing Your Interests.

4 Techniques That’ll Make You a Better Negotiator

Voss said, in negotiating, you want to connect to the person you are negotiating with. If they feel like you understand where they are coming from and what they want – and what they want to avoid – they are much more likely to deal with you.

How do you do that? By utilizing these four techniques:

    1. Acknowledge their negative statements, instead of denying them.

If someone says they don’t like something or something is bad, it’s our tendency to want to talk them out of it. Voss said do the exact opposite – instead of denying their negative statements, acknowledge it, and then move past it.

So, for example, let’s say you are on a sales call and the client says the price is too high. Our instinct is to disagree with them and say it isn’t too high.

Wrong move. Instead, Voss said, agree with them. Say the price is indeed high. But then, communicate why it’s high and the value of the product.

Knowing this is incredibly valuable information, too. Understanding what your counterpart is most scared of is key to closing the deal, as once you understand it you can structure a deal around it.

    2. If needed, use the phrase, “You aren’t going to like this.”

Once you understand what your counterpart is afriad of, you can begin to structure the deal around it. But, let’s say they think the price is high and you, again, have to talk about price or tell them that something will cost more.

When talking about those sensitive topics, try this. Instead of saying, “This will cost 10% more", say, “You aren’t going to like this, but it’s going to cost 10% more.”

“I'll actually say to somebody ahead of time, look, this is going to sound really harsh and there's a really good chance that when I get done saying what I'm going to say, you're not going to like me at all and then I'll say what I have to say and they'll say, 'wow, that wasn't that bad',” Voss said in the course. “So I know I can take a very preemptive approach to negative thinking because I know what a barrier it is to decision-making in business.”

    3. Label their negative emotions.

Remember – negative emotions are really what kills deals. So, you want to temper those negative emotions as much as possible.

One of the best ways to do that is to label negative emotions when you hear them. For example, say you ask your boss to work from home on Fridays and she seems hesitant to say yes. Label it; tell her, “it seems like you are hesitant about saying yes, I’d love to learn more.”

This simple practice will actually lessen her hesitation and get her thinking, which will help you close the deal.

“Science is showing us now that if we label a negative, it diminishes it,” Voss said.

    4. Empathize by listening to their concerns and repeating them back to them.

The most important. Empathize with your counterpart as much as possible, by listening to their concerns and describing them back to them, to demonstrate you understand.

That greatly diminishes their negative emotions – and lays the groundwork for actually getting a deal done. While you can see this being used in many situations, Voss gave a great example of using this technique to get a refund on a plane ticket from a customer service rep.

In the call, rather than arguing for why he should get a refund on the ticket, he started by saying he understood the rep must get yelled at all the time, but he appreciated the woman taking the time to talk to him and being generous with her time.

The woman thanked him – and, ultimately, refunded the ticket. Why? Because he empathized with her.

How to Use This Advice in Your Career and Life: Don't Be Afraid to Negotiate

All of our lives can be made better through negotiation. By negotiating effectively, we could get a higher salary, more interesting projects to work on, the ability to work from home one day a week, a better title; the list goes on and on.

Yet many of us don’t negotiate for any of these things. Why? Because we have no practice in it, and therefore we think we will not succeed, so we don't even try. 

This post gives you the very basics of negotiating, but of course there’s far more to learn. Here’s the bigger point – don’t be afraid to negotiate. Many times, the reason we don’t get what we want isn’t because someone said no, but because we never asked in the first place.

Learn how to negotiate. And use those skills to get what you deserve, instead of taking what you get.

Want to learn more? Watch the LinkedIn Learning course Negotiating: A Toolkit for Advancing Your Interests.

Other LinkedIn Learning courses on negotiating are:

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Most likely, the person or people you admire most in this world broke the rules in some meaningful way.

In fact, that’s likely why you admire them. They broke rules that were the wrong rules, brought in the right rules and made the world a better place. This applies to everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Gandhi to Nelson Mandela.

And it certainly applies to business as well. The people who change the business world the most are the people who break their organization’s or their industry’s rules for how things should be done – and show a better way.

This is all so motivating. And yet, if you are being honest with yourself, have you ever broke the rules in a meaningful way? Have you ever have pushed for something better, chopping through some red tape as you went?

LinkedIn Learning Instructor Bob McGannon wants to help you do that. In his 30 years of experience in project management, he found that "always following the rules" stifles creativity and rarely leads to the innovations necessary to compete in today’s business environment.

But, he also acknowledged that rules are often there for a reason and they work for most situations. Breaking the rules for the wrong reasons hurts organizations and can – if let unchecked – lead to really big problems.

In a clip from his course Leading with Intelligent Disobedience, Instructor Bob McGannon lists the rules of breaking the rules at work.

So, in his LinkedIn Learning course Leading with Intelligent Disobedience, McGannon explains how to – you guessed it – act disobedient intelligently. As part of that, he gave the (somewhat ironic) rules for breaking the rules at work, which can guide you on when and how you should break the rules yourself. 

McGannon's rules for breaking the rules at work are:

1. Only break the rules when absolutely necessary.

Many times, corporate policies and processes slow us down. They make us work a little harder. They can be frustrating.

But those reasons alone aren't enough to break them. And if you really think they are too cumbersome, you should work to change them, as opposing to breaking them.

Instead, you need to have a truly compelling reason to break the rules outright. Maybe it’s preventing you from building a feature you know would add a ton of value? Maybe you have a very limited window to make something happen, it’ll add a ton of value if you hit that window, and the only way you can do it is bypassing a few processes?

These are times when you should break the rules. In other words, they are rare occasions – if you are consistently breaking the rules, you need to seriously reconsider your approach.

“Corporate processes and a good set of guidelines, 95 percent of the time, are going to work just fine,” McGannon said in his course. “You only do this in that small percentage of time when the standard rules aren't going to work.”

2. Don’t break the rules passive-aggressively or secretly. Instead, be transparent about the why and what.

If you break the rules at work, break them out in the open.

Don’t be passive-aggressive, saying you’ll do something one way and then doing it another. Or don’t break the rules in secret and hope nobody finds out.

Instead, be open. Tell your boss why you are planning on breaking the rules.

“You don't do this in stealth,” McGannon said. “You communicate your intent, what you're trying to achieve and how you're seeking to achieve it with intelligent disobedience.”

3. Don’t break the law.

Lastly, we are talking about breaking corporate policies and processes here. McGannon does not recommend breaking the law, ever.

What if you think the law itself is wrong?

Well, then you need to lobby the government or find some way to change it. Breaking the law is never the right approach.

Here’s the bigger point – McGannon believes in processes, to some degree. He believes in corporate procedures, to some degree.

But there are exceptions. When you confront one, sometimes the right thing to do is to break the rules. In those times, if you follow the three rules above for breaking the rules, you’ll break the rules successfully (don't say that too fast).

“These rules help you define constraints, boundaries if you will, for intelligent disobedience,” McGannon said. “If you're a manager, and you can define these for your people, you're empowering your people to generate better outcomes. If you're an employee, you can look to your manager, use these rules, and define your own empowerment.”

Want to learn more? Watch Bob McGannon’s full LinkedIn Learning course, Leading With Intelligent Disobedience.

Videos within the course cover:

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Great professionals are always learning – it’s what makes them great. But the challenge for many professionals isn’t getting motivated to learn, but instead choosing what skill to learn.

There are a few different paths you can take to answer that question. You can look at what skills are the most sought-after by organizations. You can look at the fastest growing skills at top companies. Or, you can look at the skills professionals are learning the most.

This article is centered on that last point. It is a list of the 20 LinkedIn Learning courses professionals viewed the most over the past year, a testament to both the need for that skill and the effectiveness of the course:

1. Excel 2016 Essential Training

Instructor: Dennis Taylor

Course Description: Start mastering Excel, the world's most popular and powerful spreadsheet program, with Excel expert Dennis Taylor. Learn how to best enter and organize data, perform calculations with simple functions, work with multiple worksheets, format the appearance of your data and cells, and build charts and PivotTables. Other lessons cover the powerful IF, VLOOKUP, and COUNTIF family of functions; the Goal Seek, Solver, and other data analysis tools; and automating tasks with macros.

2. Project Management Foundations

Instructor: Bonnie Biafore

Course Description: Bonnie Biafore has always been fascinated by how things work and how to make things work better. In this course, she explains the fundamentals of project management, from defining the problem, establishing project goals and objectives, and building a project plan to managing team resources, meeting deadlines, and closing the project. Along the way, she provides tips for reporting on project performance, keeping a project on track, and gaining customer acceptance.

3. Programming Foundations: Fundamentals

Instructor: Simon Allardice

Course Description: This course provides the core knowledge to begin programming in any language. Simon Allardice uses JavaScript to explore the core syntax of a programming language, and shows how to write and execute your first application and understand what's going on under the hood. The course covers creating small programs to explore conditions, loops, variables, and expressions; working with different kinds of data and seeing how they affect memory; writing modular code; and how to debug, all using different approaches to constructing software applications. Finally, the course compares how code is written in several different languages, the libraries and frameworks that have grown around them, and the reasons to choose each one.

4. Cert Prep: Project Management Professional (PMP)®

Instructor: Sandra Mitchell

Course Description: This certification training course teaches critical project management concepts from the exam and offers study guides and sample practice exams to hone your test-taking skills. This course also fulfills the 35-hour education requirement needed to sit for the exam and provides 35 PDUs for current PMPs who need the credit to maintain their certification.

Sandy covers the major ideas from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and walks you through the project lifecycle. She also goes over material that is not covered in the guide-pointing out what is most likely to be featured on the exam and what you should try to commit to memory.

5. JavaScript Essential Training

Instructor: Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Course Description: JavaScript is a scripting language of the web. As the web evolves from a static to a dynamic environment, technology focus is shifting from static markup and styling—frequently handled by content management systems or automated scripts—to dynamic interfaces and advanced interaction. Once seen as optional, JavaScript is now becoming an integral part of the web, infusing every layer with its script.

Through practical examples and mini-projects, this course helps you build your understanding of JavaScript piece by piece, from core principles like variables, data types, conditionals, and functions through advanced topics including loops, closures, and DOM scripting. Along the way, you will also be introduced to some ES6 and the basics of JavaScript libraries.

6. Python Essential Training

Instructor: Bill Weinman

Course Description: Due to its power and simplicity, Python has become the scripting language of choice for many large organizations, including Google, Yahoo, and IBM. A thorough understanding of Python 3, the latest version, will help you write more efficient and effective scripts. In this course, Bill Weinman demonstrates how to use Python 3 to create well-designed scripts and maintain existing projects. This course covers the basics of the language syntax and usage, as well as advanced features such as objects, generators, and exceptions. Learn how types and values are related to objects; how to use control statements, loops, and functions; and how to work with generators and decorators. Bill also introduces the Python module system and shows examples of Python scripting at work in a real-world application.

7. Body Language for Leaders

Instructor: Carol Kinsey Goman

Course Description: Research shows that when your verbal and nonverbal signals are out of alignment, people are forced to choose between what they hear and what they see. And subconsciously, they'll believe your body language. In this course, workplace body-language expert Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD, reveals how body language is perceived and often misread, and shares the six nonverbal signals you need to know to make a positive first impression. She also discusses the importance of body language for leaders, and shows how you can establish leadership presence. Lastly, she provides simple and effective tips on communicating with gestures and stance.

8. HTML Essential Training

Instructor: James Williamson

Course Description: HTML is the programming language that powers the web. And like any language, once you master it, you can begin to create your own content, whether that's simple websites or complex web applications. This course provides an in-depth look at the essentials: the syntax of HTML and best practices for writing and editing your code. Senior staff author James Williamson reviews the structure of a typical HTML document, and shows how to section pages and format your content with HTML. Plus, learn how to create links and lists, and find out how HTML works with CSS and JavaScript to create rich, engaging user experiences. So open a text editor, watch these videos, and begin learning to author HTML the right way.

9. Strategic Thinking

Instructor: Dorie Clark

Course Description: Strategic thinking is the ability to think on a big and small scale, long and short term, and into the past and the present. While strategic thinking is a valuable skill for everyone in an organization, it becomes increasingly essential as you ascend the ladder. In fact, you may have a difficult time being promoted or succeeding as a leader without it. Yet, no one formally teaches strategic thinking—so it's critical to take the initiative and learn how to do it yourself. This course teaches managers and leaders how to use strategic thinking to guide the direction of their teams and come up with solutions to key business problems. Career and personal branding expert Dorie Clark shows you how to carve out time to think about strategy, gather data, learn from the past, create a vision for the future, and implement strategic thinking within your team.

10. Online Marketing Foundations

Instructor: Brad Batesole

Course Description: Learn how to promote your business effectively online and develop a targeted online marketing strategy that engages potential customers throughout the digital landscape. In this course, Brad Batesole explains today's digital marketing techniques in simple terms, demonstrating how to build a successful online marketing campaign for all digital channels: search, video, social, email, and display.

Brad shows how to evaluate your website and identify conversion goals, measure and interpret website analytics, get the most out of SEO, and set up your first text and display ads. See how to connect with communities on the leading social networks, learn best practices for developing and distributing video marketing content, and find out what makes an email marketing campaign successful. This course also covers content marketing, mobile marketing, and influencer marketing, as well as recommendations for expanding your digital marketing skillset. Upon completing this foundational digital marketing course, you'll be equipped with skills and strategies that can help you navigate today's online landscape and develop a smart plan of action.

11. Learning Python

Instructor: Joe Marini

Course Description: Python—the popular and highly readable object-oriented language—is both powerful and relatively easy to learn. Whether you're new to programming or an experienced developer, this course can help you get started with Python. Joe Marini provides an overview of the installation process, basic Python syntax, and an example of how to construct and run a simple Python program. Learn to work with dates and times, read and write files, and retrieve and parse HTML, JSON, and XML data from the web.

12. Excel 2016: Advanced Formulas and Functions

Instructor: Dennis Taylor

Course Description: Excel expert Dennis Taylor demystifies some of the most useful of the 450+ formulas and functions in Excel and shows how to put them to their best use. Dennis starts with a review of the more basic functions (SUM, AVERAGE, and MAX), and a few critical keyboard shortcuts that will let you locate and display formula cells and accelerate working with Excel formulas—even on multiple sheets. He then covers how to find and retrieve data with the VLOOKUP and INDEX functions, calculate totals with counting and statistical functions, extract data with text functions, and work with date, time, array, math and information functions. The course focuses on practical examples that will help viewers easily transition to using Excel's most powerful formulas and functions in real-world scenarios.

13. Time Management Fundamentals

Instructor: Dave Crenshaw

Course Description: Effective time management is an indispensable skill. Best-selling author and business coach Dave Crenshaw lays the theoretical and practical foundations for managing your time and becoming more productive. Learn how to get more done in the shortest time possible and avoid the obstacles and distractions that can get in the way of good time management. Dave gives practical strategies for increasing productivity in three main areas: developing habits to be more organized and reducing clutter in your workspace; staying mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; and developing a time budget to get the most done during your workday and focus on your most valuable activities. 

14. Communicating with Confidence

Instructor: Jeff Ansell

Course Description: Most people are afraid of speaking in public, but effective oral communication is a key skill in business. Jeff Ansell provides simple communication tools, strategies, and tips that are easy to use and produce immediate results. He'll help you sound more confident, use body and language to better express ideas, and overcome anxiety. In the last chapter of the course, all these concepts are brought together in two real-world coaching exercises that will help you see the techniques in action.

15. Scrum: The Basics

Instructor: Kelley O’Connell

Course Description: If you've spent any time in the project management world, you've likely heard of scrum—the popular framework for managing complex processes. If this mysterious-sounding framework has piqued your interest, this course can help provide you with a basic understanding of what scrum is and how you can start implementing it at work. Follow scrum expert Kelley O'Connell as she walks through why scrum has taken the business world by storm, and how it asks you to organize your team and work. Plus, she explains how to manage your projects and measure how they're faring, and set manageable improvement goals.

16. Git Essential Training

Instructor: Kevin Skoglund

Course Description: Learn how to use Git, the popular open-source version control software, to manage the source code for almost any project. In this course, Kevin Skoglund explores the fundamental concepts behind version control systems and the Git architecture. Using a step-by-step approach, he shows how to install Git and presents the commands that enable efficient code management. Learn how to add, change, and delete files in the repository; view a log of previous commits; and compare versions of a file. Plus, see how to undo changes to files and ignore certain files in a Git repository.

17. Developing Executive Presence

Instructor: John Ullmen

Course Description: Learn to project self-confidence, clarity, and credibility even under conditions of stress, pressure, and uncertainty. In this course, John Ullmen, PhD, a professor from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, shares key research insights and step-by-step methods he uses to coach leaders around the world to develop executive presence. He outlines the four key factors that drive executive presence, and the specific actions that make them work for you. He also explains the difference between "internal" and "external" presence, and how to enhance both to increase your self-assurance and self-possession. He addresses how to do all of this without being fake or feeling inauthentic, and how to be "fully present, persistently."

18. GDPR Compliance: Essential Training

Instructor: Mandy Huth

Course Description: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new privacy-related regulation in the EU that will become active and enforceable in May of 2018. GDPR requires US companies doing business in the EU to protect citizen privacy, and companies who do not comply will face heavy fines. This course is intended to outline who needs to do this, what they need to do, and how they need to do it. Learn about the scope of GDPR, the definition of a personal data breach, the rights of data subjects, incident response requirements under GDPR, and more.

19. Amazon Web Services Essential Training

Instructor: Jeff Winesett

Course Description: Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the most widely used cloud platforms, and the go-to for many organizations looking to reduce costs by adopting a cloud infrastructure strategy. This course starts by examining cloud concepts and best practices. Next, it walks you through how to design your infrastructure to prevent failure. Then, you'll discover how to implement elasticity with automation, and strategies to decouple application components. Then, learn how to optimize for performance and for cost. Last, put concepts into practice by setting up the server-based architectures for a web application in addition to implementing a serverless approach using AWS API Gateway and Lambda.

20. Critical Thinking

Instructor: Mike Figliuolo

Course Description: Critical thinking is the ability to think reflectively and independently in order to make thoughtful decisions. By focusing on root-cause issues critical thinking helps you avoid future problems that can result from your actions. In this course, leadership trainer and expert Mike Figliuolo outlines a series of techniques to help you develop your critical thinking skills. He reveals how to define the problem you're trying to solve and then provides a number of critical thinking tools such as blowing up the business, asking the 5 whys and the 7 so whats, exploring the 80/20 rule, and more. He also provides guidance on how to develop this skill across your whole team.

LinkedIn Learning has more than 14,000 courses covering virtually every professional skill. See our full library today.

Methodology: Our most popular courses were identified by looking at the courses with the most total minutes viewed on LinkedIn Learning between May 1, 2018 and May 1, 2019.

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We’re excited that the migration from Lynda.com to LinkedIn Learning will give our library customers and their patrons access to 2x the learning content, in more languages, and with a more engaging experience. Our goal is to help people build the skills they need, which is closely tied to our vision of creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.

As part of this change, patrons will need a LinkedIn profile to access LinkedIn Learning, helping us to authenticate that users are real people and further protect our members. To create a profile, the only action that patrons need to do is add a first name, last name and email address. Patrons have the same controls that all LinkedIn members do, including the ability to set their profile to Private Mode as soon as they sign up. They can also choose to not have their profile searchable on search engines. Members can change their settings at any time on their Settings and Privacy page.

We recognize that this is a change for both librarians and their patrons. Our commitment to you is that protecting our members’ trust and data is our first priority and guiding principle. Through this lens is how we make decisions every day, and we take this very seriously.

LinkedIn Learning has the ability to empower patrons to develop the skills they need to realize economic opportunity. Patrons can now access more than 14,000 courses across seven languages and they can take their learning history with them if they lose their library card or change cities.

Lynda.com has served libraries for over 20 years, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with libraries - now as LinkedIn Learning.

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Oxford PharmaGenesis has doubled in size over the last 5 years and, like many fast-growing companies, their directors understood that they needed to create a learning and development function to help it scale gracefully.

Founded in 1998, this independent, multi-award-winning HealthScience communications consultancy supports the healthcare industry, professional societies and patient groups. The company continues to grow strongly, and employs more than 260 people in offices in Oxford, London, Cardiff, Basel, Philadelphia and Melbourne.

Iain Hildyard, Director of Learning and Development, was hired in July 2018 to build a L&D solution to organize learning and connect it to drivers of growth, employee satisfaction and retention. Quickly, Hildyard knew that people at Oxford PharmaGenesis wanted and needed formal training programs and an easily accessible online learning platform, to build both commercial and technical capabilities.

“Our typical employee has graduated from an ‘Ivy League’-type university and our writers have postdoctoral experience in one or more scientific areas,” Hildyard observed. “They are smart, self-starting and creative.” Hildyard knew the L&D solution would have to satisfy a demanding and discerning staff.

Challenge: Formalizing An Informal Learning System To Meet All Learners’ Needs

Historically, learning at Oxford PharmaGenesis mainly came from one-to-one mentoring and coaching within each department/team, focusing on technical skills. With the continued success of the company driving growth year on year, formal training was needed to bolster the traditional one-to-one learning, but Hildyard recognized that the platform he chose needed to align with Oxford PharmaGenesis values: commitment to develop professionally, to each other, to clients and to commercial success.

“So the very first thing I did,” he said, “was listen.”

Hildyard wanted to understand “needs, wants and what they think already works. I needed to listen, learn, understand and then synthesize everything.” From his 'Listening Tour', Hildyard identified three main needs of learners.

  • Perform better in their current role.
  • Learn to progress in their career.
  • Be fully prepared for moments that matter in their career, ranging from making a client pitch to conducting a performance review.

He also knew he needed a learning platform that was:

  • portable, with an easy-to-use mobile app
  • bite-sized, so that content could be consumed as needed, and a learner wouldn’t have to take an entire course to answer a question or learn a new skill
  • had the breadth and depth of up-to-date content to meet learner needs across the whole company, while also personalizing the content to individual roles and needs.
Solution: Applying Scientific Principles to Find The Best Learning Platform

Oxford PharmaGenesis employees spend their days working with clients on highly technical and scientific content, so Hildyard knew that the road to learning success was paved with trials and tests.

“Scientists require evidence-based conclusions,” he noted.

So, he created a user trial for LinkedIn Learning and one of its competitors, asking 12 employees from across the company to test both platforms across six dimensions.

  1. User experience.
  2. Price.
  3. Integration.
  4. Support.
  5. Functionality.
  6. Custom content.

He also invented a test he called Pick Up, Put Down, that asked learners to determine how easy it was to start a course on each platform, pause it, and then return to it later. “We wanted to move learning into the flow of work.”

LinkedIn Learning was the clear favorite. The test group also told Hildyard that they liked the accreditations that came with LinkedIn Learning courses and the potential to include in-house content, and that they were already familiar with and trusted LinkedIn.

“With LinkedIn Learning, so many barriers were removed right from the start,” said tester Tim Koder, a Communications Director at Oxford PharmaGenesis. “We already had LinkedIn profiles, so we were comfortable with the platform, and we could share courses on our online profiles for others to see.”

At the end of 2018, Oxford PharmaGenesis bought LinkedIn Learning licenses for all 250 staff. Hildyard opted for the LinkedIn Learning Pro platform, that enables Oxford to upload custom content for employees to use to maintain company standards, such as writing style and best practice guides for client calls and pitches.

Results: 96% Activation and 50% Engagement as Employees 'Stay on Trend'

Hildyard planned a roll-out to the company for February 14 – “avoiding all references to Valentine’s Day in the marketing,” he noted with pride. In the time between purchase and roll-out, he got busy.

“I spent a lot of time curating learning content in advance of the roll-out because I want users to find relevant content quickly,” he said.

“I want learning to be a partnership with the individual, to empower them,” said Hildyard. “But, I also want to make sure that everything they access is both intellectually robust and practically useful.”

Since going live, they have seen a 96% activation rate, and a 50% engagement rate.

A second key to the early adoption was Hildyard’s decision to walk the business leaders through the platform before the roll-out, explaining the strategy of structured learning and LinkedIn Learning. After the 30-minute session, he asked them all to sign up to a 'learning contract' to pledge their support to learning and fostering a learning and growth culture. Included in the contract are six tenets.

  1. I will use the platform thoughtfully, because I am a role model for my team.
  2. I will make my expectations around learning clear, so my teams know how much time they can and should spend on learning.
  3. I will recommend courses for my teams, lending my credibility among staff to the content on the platform.
  4. I will include learning in my performance plans, ensuring that it is a deliberate part of my team management.
  5. I will review it with my managers and individuals to ensure they are leveraging it to full effect.
  6. I will provide honest feedback on what works and what doesn’t, so as a leadership group we can ensure that the content for staff remains “sharp, relevant and fresh”.

Koder was part of Hildyard's test group, and said he chose LinkedIn Learning over the other platform because it had more high-quality content and good structure, with videos and associated materials grouped together. He also liked the mobile app, in particular the ability to download in the office then listen when commuting, taking a walk or travelling abroad.

“I had a whole load of content in my pocket ready to go,” Koder said. “If I’m waiting for 20 minutes for a train, then I can learn. That’s very important to me.” And with a team of 35 people to manage, the main focus is on the benefit to the team. “It’s so important for a company to stay on trend. We knew some of our competitors already had learning platforms, and we wouldn’t want to be the company that hasn’t shown that it's invested in its employees.”  

Senior Project Manager Laura Escalante Santos has started sharing courses that she has found helpful with her colleagues. She has even curated a collection of courses she thought would benefit those who report to her.

“Being able to share content like this — both internally and externally — creates a community,” she said.  

LinkedIn Learning has already had an impact externally, demonstrating to potential applicants the commitment that Oxford PharmaGenesis has made to its people. Candidates mention at interview that they have seen the posts and value the company's involvement with LinkedIn Learning as they make their career decisions.

Conclusion: LinkedIn Learning Works Well for Oxford PharmaGenesis

With industry-leading rates of activation and engagement, LinkedIn Learning clearly reaches deep into Oxford PharmaGenesis, and with social sharing, the partnership is also influencing potential candidates in a highly competitive market for the brightest and best communicators in medical science.

"Oxford PharmaGenesis Is well set with the LinkedIn Learning platform to provide an excellent training environment for its staff, at all levels," said Hildyard. "I'm excited that Oxford PharmaGenesis has committed to this investment, that it is already paying off, and that there is so much more to see in the very near future!”

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