“Do I want to give people culture shock or do I want to get savvy about culture in the training room, and do it right first time?”
Every day – in a training room somewhere round the world – someone is having culture shock. Either the participants or the trainer – or both! Globalisation means that most businesses are doing everything, today across cultural boundaries – including training. And global businesses want to do this with ‘universal’ training packages to have consistent levels of quality and keep the training cost at a manageable level. They do this because they know that their success is completely tied up with having a quality workforce – right across the global business.
So, universal training packages are the solution they use to achieve this. It is very common to find these universal training packages are designed and developed, and trialled in Western countries, in Europe and the US. And often the trainers are also from these countries. If there is a mismatch between the learner’s culture and the trainer’s culture then it can lead to ineffective learning and ineffective transfer of learning back to the work-place and even loss of credibility, respect and, therefore, effectiveness for those leading or facilitating the learning process.
So how do we make training across cultures more effective? Firstly, we need to identify how culture can influence the training and learning process. Next, we need to recognise how cultural differences can affect the learning. Then we can design in these differences when planning and delivering training across different cultures. This will reduced prejudice and stereotyping about learners and give a better return on the training investment.
For the learners, it’s a better learning experience that can more easily be taken back into the workplace. So next time you are involved in global training rollout, ask yourself this question: “Do I want to give people culture shock or do I want to get savvy about culture in the training room, and do it right first time?”