The Work from Home Chief Learning Officer
Although people have been Working from Home for several decades, for a vast segment of the workforce, it is new due to COVID. However, the workforce has been moving to this model for quite some time. Working from Home presents a whole new adventure in corporate training and brand new experiences for the chief learning officer (CLO). A good CLO can align the organization’s learning programs with the mission, vision, and objectives. the primary techniques of the Work from Home Chief Learning Officer use to accomplish this are measurement, coaching, engagement, mentoring, and course training.
The CLO should also be adept at measuring training results, which is not as simple a simple task as you may think. Per the guru of training measurement, Donald Kirkpatrick, there are four levels to measure:
- Reaction, specifically how the student feels about the training
- Learning, or how well the info was groked by the student. Can the student pass the test
- Behavior, Is the student applying the information
- Results, what impact did the training have on the business
With a non-centralized workforce, The Work from Home Chief Learning Officer needs to measure these as the staff is not centralized. A manager cannot just walk to someone’s desk to see how a teammate is doing, so the measures are the only way to tell.
So what you may be asking yourself is now that we know what the learning officer needs to measure the success of a learning initiative. How can the CLO increase the organization’s performance and bottom line while decreasing the costs and risks? Five functions are vital to this task; Coaching, Engagement, Mentoring, and Management Training.
The CLO supports and trains an individual to be fully competent in attaining a skill or a goal. For instance, the team is working on completing a coding project. The CLO will support that team member to learn any technical and social skills required. An example of technical skill would be learning a new programming language and a social skill, collaborating with teammates worldwide.
The CLO, in a Work from Home situation, may also need to train team members on time management or collaboration tools. When teams are distributed worldwide, they cannot just take a walk to the Fuze-ball table, play a game, and discuss ideas about the project. They would need to use available collaboration tools such as Zoom, Trello, Slack to get the required collaboration.
There is also no supervisor standing over their heads to make sure they are not spending too much time shopping on Amazon. Time Management and collaboration are among the many skills to teach remote workers.
In Work from home Learning, the CLO must pay particular attention to the soft skills. In addition to the technology, the team also needs to know the softer skills such as working with each other remotely, Zoom etiquette, and time management skills to keep themselves productive and keep them safe and healthy.
When I was a child, watching Star Trek after school, my mother always admonished me for sitting a meter away from the TV Set. “You’ll go blind,” or “The radiation coming from the TV will kill you!” Hyperbole aside, mom was right! It wasn’t healthy for me to be glued to the TV for hours on end! That is essentially what we are doing in a Zoom conference; sitting a meter away from the TV set. The worker must manage time to not only deal with distractions but to combat Zoom fatigue.
Engagement is also referred to as The Buy-In. The CLO must ensure that the team member is invested in the learning process and the project’s aims, and the company. The CLO has numerous tools at his/her disposal, including but not limited to Kotter’s 8 step model. The CLO must also measure the effectiveness of the training.
The Buy-In is perhaps the most essential part of the CLO’s job. The staff must be aligned with plans, including the learning plans; otherwise, it will either consciously or subconsciously sabotage any efforts that are put forth. With a remote workforce, you can’t just make an announcement, “Hey, let’s have a team building session after work tomorrow, and all play bocce ball at the pub.” I doubt staff working from Home in Timbuktu would want to make the journey. The CLO must come up with different ways to build consensus and team building.
Let’s take mentoring, for instance. This process primarily involves relationship building and communication between the mentor and mentee. Thus The Work from Home Chief Learning officer has the responsibility to ensure this is happening and stepping in as needed if the relationship is not working.
My Ph.D. Dissertation was about mentoring online or e-mentoring. The CLO needs to ensure, ementoring is available and that both mentors and mentees have access to the technology necessary for this Work, such as high-speed internet connections. It is also vital that the right people are paired with each other based on mentee and mentor goals. Tools such as DISC and social styles can help with this. Also, technical skills are not the only thing to be mentored. Your team probably wants also to be mentored on their careers and even stuff like the company’s vision, mission, and core values. That way the company culture stays alive even though there is no central location
Working from Home is NEW! Middle management needs to learn how to manage differently than what he or she may be used to. A manager cannot manage by watching the employee work (Not that this ever worked). The manager must manage by Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). This is something that also requires training. Training the management team is vital, given that even the best skilled and trained team members will falter in the face of poor management. The CLO is responsible for ensuring that the management team is practicing the specific skills and competencies related to management functions.
So what is the take-away? The Work from Home Chief Learning Officer is a functionality that must exist in any successful organization. Without an active CLO, the untrained staff will create chaos rather than the services that align with the organization’s goals and mission, and the bottom line will sink.
Even though it is not really new, Work from Home may be new to some people. Companies must be alert to the additional training Work from Home requires. Measurement, Coaching, Engagement, Mentorship, and Management Training are ways that the Work from Home Chief Learning Officer can ensure a successful remote work experience. Dr. Work from Home is quite adept at helping your business set up a successful learning experience for your organization.
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