FAQs about cross-cultural training


11-06-2020
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Are you a human resources professional looking for a partner to help your multi-cultural project teams, strengthen JV relationships overseas, or coach your Team Leaders to develop skills for managing international colleagues?  Not sure where to start during this challenging time?

Babel writes:

As seasoned training professionals we are used to talking through issues with our clients and making recommendations on how to address their needs.  With this in mind we have put together a short FAQs which we would like to share with you, to perhaps give you some food for thought.

Why are Cross-Cultural Management Skills Important?
To thrive in the world of international business today demands an entirely different set of skills than was expected even a decade ago.  Team members, in any role or function, work in a diverse workplace with people from different national cultures.  They must develop skills and strategies for interacting with a range of individuals whose behaviour is influenced by other cultural priorities.   
 
Hult Business School asked 100 of the world’s leading CEOs what key competencies business graduates need in the 21st century. When it comes to international business skills, they ranked the following as critical for employability and success:

  • Cross-cultural communication skills
  • Excellent networking abilities
  • Collaboration
  • Interpersonal influence
  • Adaptive thinking
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Resilience

In short, cultural training provides an efficient way of quickly developing the knowledge, skills and behaviours for successfully working internationally. 
 
What are some examples of cultural issues at work?
When speaking to the thousands of delegates we have worked with, we see challenges in four main areas:  
1) Relationships: varying attitudes in diverse teams towards hierarchy, leadership, decision-making and the authority to implement tasks
2) Time:  varying attitudes towards timeliness, change and schedules leading to conflict on deadlines and priorities
3) Communication within teams:  what’s appropriate, language barriers, engaging more reserved cultures to speak up
4) Trust: especially when trust in the team or organisation has broken down leading to dispute and conflict.
 
Are all your programmes related to cultural training?
No, we also offer inspiring and interactive language lessons at a convenient time, tailored to our learners’ specific goals, with enthusiastic support and motivation from native-speaking tutors.  Furthermore, we deliver a variety of Personal Impact courses to develop managers to become capable, global leaders.
 
What does cultural training cover?
We begin our programmes helping learners understand core concepts related to culture and cultural competence. We explore how we identify ourselves and share our understanding and experiences of other cultures’ preferences.  Our work with global teams means we practice how to communicate successfully in various intercultural situations and how to resolve differences with creative problem-solving skills.
 
What are the benefits of your programmes?
Tangible benefits include increased productivity and retention in teams, improved customer service and reduced complaints, improved business relationships between clients, stakeholders and peers and increased job satisfaction.  Read our blog in full, 'Cultural Training - Nice to Have or Must-Have?'.
 
How will I know which programme suits my needs?
As you would expect, we tailor all our programmes following a needs assessment. Prior to the delivery of a session, and with your agreement, pre-course questionnaires will be distributed to your delegates for completion and return.  Their responses and examples help us fine-tune our programme to any specific requests.  We are also happy to speak with the sponsor of the course to finalise our understanding and agree their outcomes for the programme. 
 
How long are your training programmes?
During the coronavirus disruption, we have expanded our online offering so that delegates can continue to learn while working from home. Our experienced trainers are providing inspiring coaching sessions, webinars and web-based profiling questionnaires with feedback. In the longer term, when it is safe to do so, we will continue to offer our classic in-company one- day programmes, half-day Master Classes and short Learning Bites.
 
What is your learning style?
Our interactive learning style includes reference to pre-course questionnaires, mini case-studies, cross-cultural dialogues, simulations, role plays, video feedback and exercises.  Our course content refers to:

  • Models of Culture: Fons Trompenaars, Geert Hofstede, John Mole and Edward T. Hall
  • Research by André Laurent and Erin Meyer, Professors at INSEAD
  • Research by leading authors – Richard Lewis, Nancy Adler, Elisabeth Marx, Craig Sorti
  • Country Profiles by the International Monetary Fund, BBC, HSBC, CIA World Factbook, etc.
  • Our Course Leader’s own personal experiences of working globally.

Normally, we offer blended learning solutions and clients can opt from a face-to-face workshop, online feedback and coaching or webinars.  However, during the coronavirus disruption, we have extended all our offerings online so that delegates can continue to learn from home.  When it is safe to do so we shall continue to offer our face-to-face programmes.  
 
Is Cultural Training an unnecessary expense?
If an organisation is failing to measure the costs of botched expatriate assignments, underperforming global teams, supplier delays, missed opportunities, failed joint ventures, etc. then it may never know how preventative these costs could have been with effective cultural training. In fact, in our experience, insightful organisations fully understand the accelerated speed with which projects succeed, assignments go smoothly and relationships flourish all as a result of cultural training.
 
Who are your existing clients?
We work with small enterprises through to widely recognised organisations from diverse industries. Our clients also include international universities and individual C-suite executives.  For inspiration, please read our client Case Studies.
 
Why should I choose Babel as a training provider?
We will help you define your own blended learning solution, whether you have a straightforward need for language learning or require broader global cross-cultural programmes.  Each year, 70 per cent of our income comes from repeat business from long-term, loyal clients which we believe is testament to our success, read what they have to say.

Babel is also a member of Cambridge Network, sue.curry@babelgroup.co.uk

To read more information, click here.

Babel delivers language training in all major world languages, coaches delegates to be culturally competent in their global roles, briefs expats for starting new jobs overseas and helps create high-performing remote teams.

Babel Language & Cultural Consultants