The Changing Role of CLOs in the Age of Digital Disruption

Organizations have embraced disruptive technologies with warm hands. This tireless and game-changing effort needs the reskilling of the workforces. Sourcing talented professionals from outside the company may not always be competent. Building the internal capability should be on the plan to cut budget and time. Upskilling or reskilling the existing employees’ skills keep the organization’s cultural integrity.

At this juncture, the role of chief learning officers is much more influential. The role of the CLOs is becoming more challenging and complex. With the changing needs of the technology, the employees must fast-track their learning. The CLOs must think of opportunities to innovate equip employees.

The technologies such as advanced robotics, next-generation genomics, renewable energy, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud technology, automation of knowledge work, mobile Internet, 3D printing, etc., have the potential to drive tangible benefits in the value of businesses.

As these disruptive technologies continue to evolve, it is the responsibility of the business leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs, learning officers, employees, and citizens to maximize their opportunities by being on the winning side of these technologies. The first step is to embrace disruption and invest in their technical knowledge.

Taking learning and development initiatives with innovation as per the organization’s demand and employees’ interests would make the organization future-ready.

“With technology disrupting jobs across sectors, it is important to bridge the skilling gap,” says Nikhil Barshikar, Founder and MD at Imarticus Learning.

Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India supports the view and says the introduction of technology as a subject in the school curriculum is vital. The government must drive investment towards skill development in the space of Big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“The big difference that I witness is we are no longer scared of technology as our potential replacement, but seeing it as an enhancer of life,” says Catalina Schveninger, Global Head of Learning at Vodafone, the United Kingdom.

AT&T has shown its commitment to internal development through its USD one billion budget as a future-ready initiative. Companies like Bloomingdale’s, BT, and Merck are using AI-enabled technology to provide personalized training to their employees.

Given the implications of technologies in businesses, the CLOs must address the new challenges and opportunities. The most progressive organizations have already deputed people as Chief Learning Officers (CLO), Chief Artificial Intelligence Officers (CALO), Chief Data Officers (CDO), and more designations as required.

As a C-level leader, learning officers must cut through the hype of the technologies, identify the technologies that might work for the company, acknowledge and plan learning and development solutions to bring long term gains for the entire workforce.

The leaders must inspire the organizations as digital advocates and promote promising and future-ready learning and development projects. They should ensure that employees are up-to-date and well-equipped to meet emerging challenges. They should form a bridge between other C-suite members and employees to understand learning requirements, solve challenges, and make the organization future-ready. While it is a technology-led concept, people and their needs must remain as the highest priority and central focus.


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