The Rise of the Chief Learning Officer

We see how the role's developing into a more varied one


The role of the Chief Learning Officer was traditionally one that was centred around a company’s corporate learning programme and aligning it to overall business objectives. Their responsibilities included supplying training courses, leading knowledge management initiatives and coaching senior management.

Whilst these facets remain pivotal to the CLO’s role, there have been considerable developments within it too.

As demonstrated in a variety of studies, change is now one of the biggest differentiators between companies who are successful are those who aren’t. A company’s capacity to drive change is something with the CLO should have a critical role in. It’s important the CLO includes ‘storytelling’ in its training as this is the best way to catch people’s imagination. This type of training also develops leadership within a workforce and encourages innovation, the hallmark for any agile company.

Although many CLO’s do not have a major stake in recruitment, those who are need to understand that they have a responsibility to develop and maintain talent which is in line with the company’s corporate culture. The CLO needs to be making sure that they are allowing people to rotate their jobs on a regular basis and that training programmes are never arbitrary, but in line with a certain individual’s needs. Above all, the CLO needs to guarantee that they’re supporting a culture of learning.

As the development of Big Data and analytics continues to move forward at an unprecedented rate, the CLO should be apt at looking at statistics and pulling insights from it. Whether it’s working with HR to decipher why people are leaving or looking at the types of training that seems to be driving profitability - data is key.

The role of the CLO is definitely developing and it now incorporates a vast array of roles which weren’t previously seen. Still one of the C-Suites most important positions, it’s now one of the most varied ones too.

‘Learning’ is something which every company is striving for as they look to enrich and improve their workers productivity. The CLO has the responsibility of not only making sure that company training is getting the best out of its workforce, but that future staff have the skills to slot straight into a role where they’ll be able to develop. 


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