Organizations have always felt the importance of learning and training, but have rarely put them center-stage. That mindset is now changing as organizations have more access to rich data. With the increased ability to link learning back to the bottom-line, organizations are realizing that the ROI of training programs is on-par with, and often even higher than, traditional investments, such as new technology, plant upgrades, and other more “tangible” investments.
It isn’t just internal teams noticing this trend either, the market is taking notice. For example, Learning and Development topics are now being mentioned in over half of the covers of the Harvard Business Review Magazine. In addition, learning and development has also taken center stage in acquisition discussions, most notably marked by LinkedIn’s largest acquisition to date, paying $1.5 billion for Lynda.com.
Churchill, Roosevelt, and Lord Melbourne have all been quoted: “With great power comes great responsibility”. It is almost comical to place Infopro Learning amongst these great leaders, but this famous saying does relate to the position that Chief Learning Officers find themselves in today. With the spotlight on, it is crucial that we center ourselves around what matters most to organizations. In “The Three Levers of a Successful CLO” guide, we define these levers and why they matter most to the success of all leaders in the L&D organization.
Successful learning and development can set a company apart from competition, better engage and train employees, cut costs related to workplace inefficiencies, and create a lasting competitive advantage. But, it is the job of the CLO to take a bigger picture view of their organization and to not solve for individual problems. Instead, the most successful CLOs measure their success by their ability to impact these three areas:
According to a survey by Chief Learning Officer, 27% of CLOs are deeply concerned that their learning strategies are not aligned with business objectives. These CLOs are concerned because if they cannot connect learning outcomes to business results, they cannot prove their investment in training has resulted in a positive ROI. This lever is not only the most important for most CLOs, but it is also the hardest to impact because it requires an orbital shift from a “training” organization to a “performance improvement” organization.
It is time that we start looking at our learners as customers. Customers that have several options when it comes to consuming content and only have no affinity to one source or the other, if they can get the answer quickly. In this competitive landscape, L&D organizations need to be more like marketers, creating lasting impressions on learners across all the platforms that they use. It is more expensive, but considering the alternative is investing in content that nobody consumes, your return on investment is quite favorable.
If you’ve been the L&D industry to any amount of time, you are quite familiar with our battle cry, “doing more, with less”. As a CLO, this is your burden to bare, as most decisions to spend less fall on your shoulders. This makes efficiency a huge lever for your success because every dollar saved through people, process, or performance efficiencies result in a dollar to invest in more mission critical areas.
To learn more about these three levers, we recommend that you read “The Three Levers of a Successful CLO” guide.
For all future CLOs reading this article, there’s possibly nothing more important to your growth than to know the most important levers to your organization (and boss), so we hope you find it equally valuable.