Role of a Chief Learning Officer – Establishing priorities for effectiveness.

role of a chief learning officer

The role of a Chief Learning Officer is about – providing  leadership to organisational capability building, in line with business expectations. The Chief Learning Officer should keep eyes on some of these, in order to add value to the business in an effective manner. The dimensions of these priorities will vary from one organisation to another. One size fits all solution won’t work. These just present a macro perspective – any plan and strategy that emerge has to be supported by a deeper understanding of the business, culture, people, technology etc.

Business Imperatives:

The business is important. Your job exists because of the business. Any initiative or intervention is created because the business sees a value in the same, and decides to invest in it.

You don’t send an employee for training, just because you need to and it’s a good thing to do. You only send some one for training if it has a value for business.

The value could be in form of enhanced business contribution by the employee or just an happy employee. It helps, if the Chief Learning Officer, engages with business teams on an ongoing basis – to keep a tab on ever changing business needs and expectations.

Organisational Culture:

Understanding of organisation culture – the past, and the “as is” is essential. This helps one plan, relevant initiatives and interventions for the business and the people that comprise the business. This also becomes relevant when the the business imperatives demand a shift in culture. The Chief Learning Officer, has a big role to play in such scenario – support a change or shift in culture through ideas and change interventions. A Chief Learning Office, also needs to evolve strategies and interventions to enable a culture of learning. 

Organisational Capability:

With a good hang of the business imperatives and organisational culture – the Chief Learning Office, also need a good understanding of the organisational capability – “as is”, and see if it is in line with the business expectations. Any gap becomes an opportunity for a learning or culture building interventions. It may be a good idea to reach out to people on an ongoing basis to get an understanding of organisational capability and needs. A system (online or offline) for employee feedback to understand business needs and expectations may also help identify gap’s and needs.

People Capability:

Organisational capability, is a sum of people and process capabilities – along with the body of knowledge, research etc. To enable both people and process capability – the learning & development support to the people comprising the business is essential. A key role of a Chief Learning Officer is to have a good understanding of people capability. This may be ascertained possibly through an appropriate mapping of talent. This help to create relevant strategies that serve business needs, within time and budget.

Future Readiness & Technology Adoption: 

Every thing above, has to be done keeping in view of future needs for a business. The initiatives and strategies need to appropriately factor in future challenges, barriers to learning, simple approaches, effective approaches, cost efficient approaches. Market intelligence, understanding of technological advancements, developments in ways to enhance learning, optimise impact of learning etc., always helps. To be future ready – among other strategies – the role of a chief learning officer is to promote adoption of digital learning systems, self-paced learning, collaborative learning throughout the organisation.

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