PROBLEM: An automotive supplier with offices in over 35 countries noticed that employees were struggling with cross-cultural communication and collaboration. Employees had trouble understanding and adapting to the work styles of colleagues from different cultural backgrounds and one break in communication in particular cost the company an important client. This was not an isolated incident – teams from all over the company were missing deadlines, exceeding budgets, and overall feeling frustrated by the challenge of cross-cultural communication. The company needed employees to be able to identify when a situation or incident was culturally driven and then know what steps to take next to clarify communication.
RECOMMENDATION: The client reached out to Techworld for assistance. Techworld recommended the client introduce a series of fully customized multi-cultural training courses that would educate employees and address the concerns of supervisors from any location. Since the situation was not isolated, all employees needed to have the opportunity to attend the sessions, so the client opted for virtual training.
IMPLEMENTATION: Techworld consulted extensively with the client and designed a seven-part series of 2-hour “lunch & learn” training sessions in the following cultures: German, Mexican, U.S., Italian, Indian, French, and Japanese. Two sessions were held per month, and employees were encouraged to sign up for as many training sessions as they pleased. All programs were offered in a live, virtual training format for convenience and access.
RESULT: The results of the training series were overwhelmingly positive. Participating employees found the experience invaluable. Employees now possessed the ability to recognize their own cultural errors. In addition, entire teams started talking about the ways in which cross-cultural communication would impact their projects. This training helped them uncover a set of tools to improve their communication and collaborate effectively with others. The company now offers this same cultural training series to all their employees annually.
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