The Rise of the chief learning officer


In today’s competitive labor market, the gain that you are going to receive from a talent management strategy has to do a lot with the chief learning officer of an organization. According to Ed Cohen who is working as the learning and leadership development consultant with Nelson Cohen Global Consulting, younger employees crave for continuous learning in the organization. And it has to be immediately available for them. This fact has completely changed the game.

Due to the changing dynamics in the labor market, organizations appoint people who are not very knowledgeable or skilled. That’s where the chief learning officer comes into the picture. The role of a CLO appeared in the late nineties. Initially, the role mainly targeted learning as well as development. However, this role has evolved since then.

In many organizations, the chief learning officer’s responsibilities involve working upon the talent management strategy along with the organizational development strategy. This mostly consists of career development, performance management together with succession planning.

These days, there is a high level of competition among companies for hiring the best talent. The top priorities of companies in today’s business scenario are retaining knowledgeable employees, hire new talent and captivate best performers. In order to achieve all that, the most important activities to be taken on to are related to talent management along with learning and development.

Various organizations treat CLOs as strategic partners. They help in the development of the organization’s culture. Subsequently leading to customer satisfaction. One such organization is Appirio which is a global cloud consulting IT company. Cat Lang, CLO at Appirio, believes that it is not only about keeping the staff happy, it is about creating a level of proficiency that provides great service to the customers.

As per Lang, there are few ways in which the functions of the top Chief Learning Officers worldwide differ from more conventional talent management.

  • They are required to work on the talent needs of the company but not always consider the long-term requirements of the organization. According to Lang, this can be done by predicting the needs of the customers and observe the direction of the business strategy and place programs in the right place to accomplish those goals.
  •  Secondly, for a thriving remote workforce Chief Learning Officers build learning as well as development programs. Lang once made a statement that her team and she always ensure the proper connection among all distributed initiatives.
  •  Metrics are supposed to be established on the employee as well as business success. In order to construct programming that will evolve leadership skills among the employees, Lang and her team work really hard. Through powerful mentoring programs, the team of the CLO advocates career development along with learning. Lang also said that they target cross-company experiences. Which means that they appoint a distinct set of perspective and experience. They also give high importance to expertise together with association among employees. Which provides the finest opportunities for coaching.


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