The success of a talent management strategy in today’s competitive labor market may well be determined by a little-known position: the chief learning officer.
Younger workers typically want constant learning in the workplace, and it needs to be at their fingertips, Ed Cohen, learning and leadership development consultant for Nelson Cohen Global Consulting, told Bloomberg BNA. "That has really changed the game a lot," he said.
The competitive labor market also means that employers will have to hire workers who aren’t appropriately prepared or developed in terms of skills, Cohen noted. "That is where the CLO really comes into play," he said.
The CLO role first emerged in the late 1990s and was predominately focused on learning and development, but the role "has expanded quite a bit" since that time, according to Cohen. In some cases, the chief learning officer position is also responsible for the organizational development strategy and the talent management strategy. This can include performance management, career development and succession planning, he said.
Today, there is a global war for talent, and companies are looking at how to best retain skilled employees, acquire new talent and attract top performers. Talent management and learning and development practices are among the key ways of doing that, Cohen said.
"The reason why it has become even more critical is because we are in this era where you have an exodus of the baby boomers," Cohen said, noting that approximately 65 million baby boomers will likely retire by 2028. "That’s more in a 10-year span than the U.S. has seen in 25 years," he said.
At Appirio, a global cloud consulting IT company, the CLO is viewed as a strategic partner who helps develop company culture, which in turn contributes to customer satisfaction, Cat Lang, chief learning officer at Appirio, told Bloomberg BNA. "It’s not just about keeping employees happy, it’s about making sure that we’re building a level of competence and expertise" that provides exceptional service to our customers.
Appirio also is forming employee resource groups, community-based mentoring and other programs to provide opportunities for employees from different groups and levels to work together without the confines of a more formal training environment, Lang said.
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