The Importance of Chief Learning Officers

By Andy Lothian

To develop and implement a learning strategy that solves enterprise problems, deliver results and enables business breakthroughs, organizations don’t have to look far from home to lean on the expertise of their CLOs and training teams.

These days, more and more organizations are seeing the improved business results of elevating human capital management to the same priority as financial capital management. Author Mike Hawkins said, “Indeed, learning no longer stands alone, but rather enables business change as much as it enables human development.”

As Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends Report said, “Chief learning officers are taking on critical business roles. With a background in employee development, change, and leadership, the CLO of today wears many hats: chief capability officer, chief leadership officer, chief talent officer and even chief culture officer.”

The multifaceted nature of an organization’s learning function makes it one of the most valuable resources in an organization. Here’s why:

1. Learning solves enterprise problems.

While training functions can still be regarded as an “add-on” or “nice to have,” in reality, the function is critical to disabling systemic business problems. Brent Schlenker, chief learning strategist for Litmos, said, “Training departments exist to solve business problems.” By developing strategic learning programs that are tailored to a particular business issue, training functions can single-handedly reverse the downward trajectory of organizational problems.

2. Learning delivers results.

Observing the workforce and advocating for its people’s needs has the power to yield proactive, enterprise-wide results. According to a 2011 study by the Association for Talent Development and the Institute for Corporate Productivity, high-performing organizations are more likely to have a formal process in place in which leaders look at the annual performance outcomes for the business and use those to help shape the future learning strategy. Similarly, Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, said, “The learning curve is the earning curve. If you’re continuously learning, you’re always adding more value.”

3. Learning enables business breakthroughs via personal breakthroughs.

Professionals are asked to know a lot about a lot, but among the many skills and types of expertise they are expected to possess, it is their knowledge of themselves that truly has the power to multiply their success. In 2013, a study by Korn Ferry analysts David Zes and Dana Landis titled “A Better Return on Self-Awareness” confirmed the “direct relationship between leader self-awareness and organizational financial performance.” It is this interconnectedness between the effectiveness of the individual, team and organization that warrant organizations to lean on learning to reach their business goals. CLO and writer Dan Pontefract said, “When an employee discovers their personal purpose and it is lockstep with the role they perform in the organization, both the employee and the firm benefit.”

Trends show learning functions will continue to grow in support of their high-performing organizations. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends Report, “Chief learning officers (CLOs) should become part of the entire employee experience, delivering learning solutions that inspire people to reinvent themselves, develop deep skills, and contribute to the learning of others.” To develop and implement a learning strategy that solves enterprise problems, delivers results and enables business breakthroughs, organizations don’t have to look far from home to lean on the expertise of their CLOs and training teams.

By | 2017-08-09T18:40:38+00:00 August 9th, 2017|Client News|