More than half of CEOs are not actively involved in learning and development programs, creating a significant challenge, and opportunity, for CLOs seeking to demonstrate the value that their learning efforts bring to the organization.
Jack Phillips, chairman of the ROI Institute, opened the Spring 2009 Chief Learning Officer
Symposium on Monday by sharing the results from recent surveys his organization has conducted with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies on metrics being used to measure the success of learning and development.
Themed “Beyond Boundaries: Learning’s Impact Across the Organization,” the Spring Symposium brought together more than 200 senior learning and development practitioners at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla., for a three-day conference.
According to Phillips’s survey, 55 percent of CEOs are not actively involved in learning and development programs.
"We’ve got to get executives more involved in that level,” Phillips said. “In fact, one of the key challenges for CLOs today is to build lasting partnerships with key executives. But have a formal partnership plan, we leave that much too informal. [And] how do we partner with a person who doesn’t want to partner? We have to have them get more involved.
"If we get the CEO involved in teaching just one or two sessions of a program, it can really make a difference.”
Phillips outlined the current metrics used by organizations to measure their learning and development efforts and compared that data to what surveyed CEOs said they would like to see. The data revealed opportunities to connect learning to business impact and adjustments needed to the current measurement mix.
While many companies measure employee satisfaction with learning programs, for example, CEOs overwhelmingly ranked this measurement low on their list of important metrics.
On the other end of the spectrum, only 8 percent of CEOs surveyed said their organizations measure the impact of training, yet 96 percent said they should measure it.
“One of the lowest reported measures is the most desired measure,” Phillips said.
Phillips also said it is important to take the company’s top five intangible measures, such as customer service, and tie them directly to concrete business goals or results.
"Alignment occurs … when we actually observe that measure to see if it changed and then take that extra step to connect learning to that, isolating the effects of our program on that measure,” Phillips said. “That’s one of the critical things that came out of this study: business alignment.”
Following the opening keynote from Phillips, a panel of learning practitioners explored the role that learning and development plays in leading the organization into the future.
Panelists included George Tanner, chief learning officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Arleas Upton Kea, director of administration for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Ron Lawrence, vice president of organizational effectiveness for VF Corporation, and Lee Maxey, president of MindMax Inc.
The Spring 2009 Chief Learning Officer
Symposium continues on Tuesday with keynote addresses from Major General Anthony Przybyslawski, vice commander of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, and Allison Rossett, professor of education technology at San Diego State University.