Article originally published on HR.com
Piling training and education on the crowded HR plate is not just inefficient, but also complicated
Unfortunately, in too many cases, training has become part of the HR mission. That’s unfair and inefficient.
It’s unfair because HR teams and leaders are busy enough doing what they do – finding and managing talent in an increasingly complex and complicated workplace environment. That does not even include the basic organizational functions they’re expected to complete seamlessly and invisibly every day. Adding the huge burden of keeping skills up-to-date for existing team members is unfair. There’s just no other word for it.
Piling training and education on the crowded HR plate is also inefficient because, frankly, it’s complicated. As fast as required skills change, the training and education options do too. And if it’s just part of someone’s job, training cannot possibly receive the focus it requires to do it well.
That’s why, as employee training and upskilling become more and more imperative, your c-suite or HR team needs to have a CLO – a Chief Learning Officer.
If you’re considering adding a CLO, or have one already, here are things they can and should be doing:
Create a Cross-functional Team and Align, Align, Align
A CLO should be responsible for working with every department to identify the skills your company needs to achieve key business objectives today as well as consider the skills needed tomorrow. A CLO should not overlook the top C-suite leaders for ongoing training and education or even departments such as marketing that can be a training afterthought. Digital marketing science, for example, is a rapidly evolving and highly competitive arena that your team may need to understand and master -- especially since marketing may start to spend more on technology than a typical CTO.
The CLO should make a literal list and share it up and down the leadership chain and across departments to be sure they understand future training priorities and buy into those needs. This may require working with departments or business functions to compromise on where their specific needs and gaps are versus overall business needs.
The best training leaders don’t try to invent the wheel – they survey and explore first. Sometimes a wheel is needed, other times you can borrow one or just copy one.
They should conduct research on what competitors are doing, interview leaders in Learning and Development at Google. Look at places such as Trailhead. Additionally, keep teams ahead of the digital curve by watching trends on LinkedIn Learning and research what’s happening in demand and learning supply – what companies say they need as well as what’s available in the market.
Part of leading a learning team is to keep learning.
Develop the Strategy
Once your CLO knows what your company needs and where to find it, they should be able to write and share a plan on how to merge the two.
The key here is to dream big but start small. A good practice is to develop a simple, one-sentence strategy statement that states precisely what you aim to achieve. With that, your CLO, leadership team and – importantly – HR leaders can source a comprehensive strategy for how to do that.
The reason research about learning is important is that the dynamics change all the time. Providers come and go and the skills you most need now may be outdated next month. Therefore, beware of solutions that are a single solution.
Don’t expect that you can build a rigorous learning and training program in-house or outsource all of it, especially to one provider. Some skills may require company or market-specific intelligence and have to be done in-house. Others may require the most advanced, specialized training only found in places such as colleges or from the software providers themselves. Your needs are probably specific to your company and your talent, your solution should be too.
Measure, Analyze, Listen and Optimize
You’d be shocked how many training departments or education leaders don’t have a good way to measure learning outcomes. This should be a core part of the CLO’s responsibilities. The CLO should be able to explain what the outcome metrics are, how the data are collected and what constitutes success or lack of it.
A neglected part of the measurement process is listening to the talent, the employees who are in or recently out of training. Further, good CLOs don’t just send surveys – they are often as blunt as they are annoying. They should sit down with team members, read their body language. They should do the same with outside providers. Drop in. Sit down with the program leaders and the instructors, take their temperature.
However you set it up, it’s time to give talent training its own home, someone who can make it their job, instead just one more thing HR is expected to do.
View the article at HR.com