The CLO Holiday Wish List

It’s that time of year again, when we get to give and receive gifts. How festive and how fun, regardless if you’re four or forty! We love tearing those ribbons and wrapping paper off and enjoying the surprise of what lies beneath. Of course, we usually just share these experiences with our loved ones, but what if we could do the same in the professional realm?

I guess there’s nothing stopping me, so I’ve dreamed up a holiday wish list of L&D trends that I’d like to see wrapped in big, shiny red bows. Ok, I know; you can’t really gift wrap a trend, but you get the idea. These are the things that I’d like to see more CLOs perceive as gifts we get to play with more in the year to come.

Mike’s CLO Holiday Wish List for 2019:


  • Automation and AI everywhere
    The faster the pace of business, the more automation we need. Especially for large companies, it’s just not possible for the L&D team to keep up with even semi-manually managing the entire learning program and making sure that all learners are seeing and completing the courses they need to perform at their best. This is where AI enters the picture to add a new level of sophistication to what we’re already automating. As we build smarter algorithms, even brand new content should show up in an individual’s learning path (based on historical activity and other factors). The very nature of AI means that the more content and activity the system analyzes, the better it gets at identifying these patterns. Hmmm…  I guess that why it’s known as “machine learning.” See, now even the machines are getting smarter, as our workforces do, too. Very cool.
  • Training taking a seat at the CX table
    As an extension of the bullet above, training is playing an increasing role in customer experience. Customer-facing workforces need consistent, ongoing training to stay up-to-speed on products, services, policies, procedures, and more, in order to deliver world-class customer experiences. This is true whether we’re talking about traditional corporate service or sales roles, or emerging roles in the gig economy. The connection between employee knowledge and customer experience has never been clearer, and in a world where customers will quickly go elsewhere if they don’t like their experiences with you, training programs should extend beyond “here’s how you do this” practicalities. Course material needs to be extended to its more logical conclusion, which is “here’s not only how, but why we do this, so that it helps the customer.”
  • A global perspective on learning programs
    There’s no arguing that corporate training is now a global undertaking. That horse is way out of the barn. Even mid-sized companies these days need to consider cultural and geographic diversity, multi-language capabilities, massive mobility, etc. Years ago, training programs I was involved with could be US-focused and English-based, but that’s no longer the case. CLOs need to think more broadly and develop learning that speaks to people across the globe in ways that work for those learners. This is a really exciting time as we get to incorporate insights from stakeholders all over the planet to make our training be relevant and stick, regardless of where it’s received.
  • Top-down love (and respect) for learning
    With 81% of executives citing talent as the top priority for the company, it’s no wonder that this wish is coming true already! We’ve seen a shift from learning being in a silo to it being embraced by the C-suite and seen as a company-wide strategic priority. Developing talent is key to better performance (for individuals and teams alike), as well as critical to employee satisfaction and retention. This warms my winter heart! Let’s hope the pendulum swings even further in 2019.

Happy holidays to you! I hope you get everything on your wish list!