It’s Time For CLOs To Shine—With Data

The CLO Exchange, part of the HR Exchange Network of events by IQPC, wrapped on Tuesday, December 14, in Orlando, FL. With the theme, “Future Proof the Organization,” the event included dozens of chief learning officers (CLOs) and other top learning leaders from diverse organizations including Kellogg’s, Wix, Huntington National Bank, and the Bureau of Prisons. Over a dozen panel discussions, champagne chats, and plenary sessions were held over three days at the Hilton Orlando. 

In a time where organizations are fighting harder than ever before to recruit and retain talent, IQPC executive Peter Grimes rallied learning and development professionals with the message, “It’s your time to shine!” And a recurring theme was the need to move more aggressively into data and analytics. 

In the kick-off session, Alison Shea suggested that for too long learning and development professionals have focused on the limited metrics of participation and completion (i.e., activity metrics). Shea says this is similar to confusing “being busy with being productive.” Activity doesn’t mean impact. Instead, she challenged her peers to measure organizational impact, and how that impact aligns with the larger strategy.

Building on this idea, Dr. Eli Bendet-Taicher, Head of Global Learning & Development at Wix, gave specific examples of how he was able to show a data-driven business case related to customer service training and extending the length of new hire orientation. He explained that to finally get to the elusive level four of the Kirkpatrick model, you have to move beyond first-party data (generated by L&D) and reach out to others in sales, operations, HR and other departments to get second-party data. Dr. Bendet-Taicher offered a seven-step framework he uses to demonstrate value. 

  1. Identify your organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs)
  2. Determine how L&D supports them
  3. Derive L&D specific KPIs based on that support
  4. Collect first-party and also second-party data
  5. Correlate the data points
  6. Determine what the data means
  7. Turn the analysis into a compelling story for key stakeholders


Adele Cook, chief learning officer, Arizona Department of Economic Security, also urged colleagues to evaluate the relationship between training interventions and business metrics like performance against a standard, upward mobility, management stability rate, and leadership quality index. And her focus was ethical considerations of gathering and using workforce data. Cook recommended the thoughtful practice of making sure the benefits of the analysis outweigh any risk to privacy, that all performance data be aggregated, and work with experienced partners.

The next 2022 CLO Exchange event, with the theme “L&D and Talent as Catalysts for Organizational Growth and Productivity”, will be held in San Diego, CA from Feb. 27 to March 1.

Kevin Kruse is the Founder + CEO of  LEADx, a platform that scales and sustains leadership habits through micro-coaching and behavioral nudges. Kevin is also a New York Times bestselling author of  Great Leaders Have No Rules, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Managementand Employee Engagement 2.0.

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