The results are coming in from the great remote work experiment of 2020. 73% of employees want to continue having flexible remote work options after the world returns to some semblance of normalcy. Remote job postings have increased fivefold during the pandemic, and a significant portion of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer now that they can work remotely.²
Remote work, in hybrid form, is here to stay, and the future of work is being re-imagined. Chief Learning Officers are helping to drive that.
Learning and Development now has a seat in the C-suite with a primary focus to upskill and reskill the workforce.³
Our research, part of a six-month study on remote learning, found that forward-thinking CLOs and Chief Talent Officers are expanding their focus. The traditional role of corporate learning is transforming.
Businesses are building a learning flywheel.
Amazon famously drives growth and innovation through a flywheel.⁴ That may seem odd. How can a mechanical device drive a trillion-dollar business? It’s the effect, not the object. If you’ve ridden a bike, you’re familiar with how a flywheel works. At first, the bike is hard to pedal and get up to speed. Once the bike is moving, the laws of physics work in your favor; you can coast, then pedal. Coast, then pedal again. You have momentum.
Metaphorically, the flywheel is a virtuous cycle that propels and anchors the business. Jeff Bezos first sketched his on the back of a napkin.
By feeding any part of the flywheel Amazon powers their business. This flywheel has driven growth and digital transformation across industries.
The shift to remote work allows a similar opportunity for CLOs. Instead of growth and innovation, you need a flywheel to drive business transformation. That transformation may be cultural or digital, or both. The CLOs contribution will be the building of business capabilities. A repertoire of new skills and behaviors, both hard and soft, to upskill the organization.
Parts of a Learning Flywheel.℠
For this, we propose a Learning Flywheel.℠ As the Amazon flywheel drives growth, this flywheel drives learning. Its axle, around which the wheel spins, is measurement. The CLO still cares for her traditional role: curating a portfolio of learning assets. But she also puts time towards creating demand for formal and informal learning. Deliberate practice is encouraged, and leaders coach to new skills. Shaping a learning culture maintains momentum and energy in the flywheel.
Is your flywheel turning? Here’s a quick checklist.
If most of the boxes on the left are checked, congratulations, you have built a learning flywheel. If you also have the boxes on the right checked — even better, you have your flywheel turning.
Click HERE to receive a full copy of REMOTE LEARNING - a how-to guide for business.
¹ Rich Vincent is the Vice President of Talent Management & Development at Knotel.
² “Microsoft Releases Findings and Considerations from One Year of Remote Work in Work Trend Index” Stories, 22 Mar. 2021.
³ “2021 Workplace Learning Report” 2021 Workplace Learning Report | LinkedIn Learning, 23 Mar. 2021.
⁴ Stone, Brad. The everything store: Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon. Random House, 2013.