How the Evolution of Learning & Development Transformed the role of Chief Learning Officers (CLO)

After months of research with over 50 Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) and de facto Learning & Development (L&D) executives in preparation for Corinium’s Chief Learning Officer Forum USA, I found that the fundamental principles of L&D have not changed substantially since their implementation nearly 20 years ago. However, these exceptional leaders are constantly looking at ways to innovate and keep ahead of the curve developing more creative, thorough and inclusive initiatives to fulfil those traditional ideas.

It is evident that corporations still seek to champion and support the professional development of their workforce in order to maintain their predominant position within a specific market. Nonetheless, highly competitive environments have propel substantial changes in the fundamental tasks that every CLO faces at any modern corporation. For instance, corporations now expect from these executives to: (1) effectively develop leadership programmes focussed on business delivery; (2) facilitate the transition from legacy methods to modern technologies to further promote employee capacitation/engagement/retention; and (3) overcome the generational gap issue when implementing new tools and L&D programmes.


Key Principles of Learning & Development

In order to understand how these new challenges have transformed the CLO role, let us look at two main and contemporary principles of any L&D initiative: Diversity and Inclusion. Due to some old cultural traditions, a few of the old fashioned corporate values were determined by underlying notions of segregation and discrimination. These old social institutions, that shaped those L&D programmes in the past, have gradually given way to more contemporary ideas of “people’s development” and “workforce Inclusion”. The direct task of transforming those notions falls into the CLOs responsibility. These experts understand that there is a direct correlation between better professional performance and the implementation of programmes that recognise and promote diversity and inclusion.

Certainly, the key is understanding that diversity is not only a concept applicable to race and gender; it also encompasses age, sexual orientation, faith, social background, language, amongst many other things. Also that inclusion does not only refer to minorities and/or outsiders integrating with established social groups, but also to fundamental ideas of recognition and respect.

The key is understanding that diversity is not only a concept applicable to race and gender; it also encompasses age, sexual orientation, faith, social background, language, amongst many other things.

The importance of right technological solution

It should not be a surprise to discover that these corporations, who will join us next March in New York City, have embraced these two concepts thoroughly and have applied their principles as core values of their L&D programmes, promoted by the CLOs. The vast majority have publicly committed to improving the presence of minority groups within the leadership organisational structure; close the gender gap amongst the executive office and promote values of respecting difference amongst their local or international workforce. Similarly, they have acknowledged the vital role that generation exchange has to further endorse leadership initiatives and the importance of openly discussing topics related to race, gender, background, faith and others.

However, all these initiatives have been supported by the right technological solution to enable and grant access to these programmes to a wider audience. Whether it offers faster, easier and cheaper access to information or promotes more contemporary principles that aim to support the ideas of inclusion and diversity, it has crucially transformed the way that corporations interact with their employees.

Those L&D programmes that were once designed to target a select group of individuals, have now become accessible to anyone. The wider opportunity to access information everywhere and anytime has democratised the way people learn and develop their personal and professional hard and soft skills. Nowadays the capacitation, readiness and reskilling of personnel is carried out without segregation or segmentation, thanks to inclusive corporate policies that promote contemporary values of respect and social recognition and technological platforms that allow anyone to access L&D programmes anytime.

Clearly, neither of those initiatives or programmes could be considered perfect nor the answer to those demands raised by the global corporations. Nonetheless, they could show us how the CLO the US has embraced these concepts and tried to construct a more solid policy of inclusion of a vast and diverse workforce within flexible organisational structures.

Understanding the significance of these concerns and the importance of public initiatives for debating these key aspects and many others, Corinium Intelligence has proudly created the Chief Learning Officers Forum USA, taking place in March 7-8 2017 in New York City, for all CLOs and L&D experts in the US. The event promises to be the place in which more than 100+ L&D experts will gather to discuss these and more issues regarding the challenges they face daily and the clever solutions they have produced to implement those diversity and inclusion values. Please, get in contact and let us welcome you at the Convene 101 Park Avenue next March!

By Alejandro Becerra:

How the Evolution of Learning & Development Transformed the role of Chief Learning Officers (CLO)

Alejandro Becerra
is the Content Director for LATAM/USA for the CDAO and CCO Forum.
Alejandro is an experienced Social Scientist who enjoys exploring and
debating with senior executives about the opportunities and key
challenges for enterprise data leadership, to create interactive
discussion-led platforms to bring people together to address those
issues and more. For enquiries email: [email protected]


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