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The CLO's Critical Role: Nine Areas for Action
After presenting chief learning officers with a self-assessment in his last column, Jack Phillips offers nine action areas to help improve the learning organization and connect it to business goals and strategy.
The October 2004 Business Intelligence column presented an instrument designed to assess the extent to which the CLO and the learning enterprise add value to the organization. The 30-question instrument detailed specific areas that define this critical role of the CLO. This article presents nine areas for action that, when addressed appropriately, will ensure that the learning and development enterprise adds value and helps the organization meet its strategic goals.
1. Creating a Strategy and Setting the Investment Level
Fundamentally, the first area is to determine the strategic focus of the learning enterprise. This involves the typical issues addressed in any strategic plan: mission, vision, values and strategic objectives. It also involves identifying the stakeholders, audiences, services and scope of the function. This is not news. Perhaps a more important issue is setting the desired investment level, which is defined several ways. Traditionally, the investment is the total learning and development expenditure, often reported as a percentage of total employee compensation. In best-practice organizations, this is typically in the range between 3 percent and 5 percent.
Five strategies can be used to set the appropriate investment level:
- Let others do it. Avoid the investment in human capital to whatever extent possible. This strategy involves a significant use of outsourcing, offshoring, temporary contract employees and sometimes hiring fully competent individuals so that no additional training and development is needed.
- Invest only the minimum. Rarely, if ever, invest in the training of employees beyond what is absolutely necessary for current job functions.
- Invest with the rest. Use benchmarking and other aggregate data to determine this level.
- Invest until it hurts. Spend more than necessary. These organizations invest excessively - over-investing in learning and development - offering all types of learning programs and making them easily accessible to employees. In some situations, attendance is required to achieve certain arbitrary targets.
- Invest as long as there is a payoff. Deliberately evaluate learning and development and invest when there is an actual return, at least for certain major programs.
Leveraging the Latest in Brain Science to Deliver the Next Generation of E-Learning
May 29th 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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