Companies everywhere deliver products and service to their customers using a multi-cultural workforce, whether or not they are global companies. Employees, managers and executives need to be able to work productively with people different from themselves - people who want the same things - safety, security, a good job, a decent wage, and interesting work - but who may have different perspectives on what makes a good manager, on how best to resolve conflict, on what is important in getting the job done or in helping the customer even if it takes a long time. To be effective across borders, organizations and employees at all levels need to broaden their collective understanding of other cultures and the needs of people from these cultures. (NOTE: It takes several generations before most strong cultural values are eroded, if they are eroded at all.)
Some examples of global workforce development include:
Ambitious companies across the world recognize the opportunities that the global market place offers them. ITAP can help your company achieve its global ambitions intelligently, effectively, rapidly.
- Managers need to know how to motivate and organize people from a variety of cultural backgrounds
- Sales people need to know how to build relationships, negotiate and sell across cultures
- HRD specialists need to understand how best to develop the capability of employees in countries other than their own.
- Employees need to be able to work effectively with a wide variety of types of people
- Financial advisors need to understand how differences among cultures impact ethical conduct in their area of responsibility. (Click here for information on ITAP's program Strengthening Commitment to Compliance.)
- Contact center offshorers need to know how to provide effective learning and development in other geographies and cultures on client-specific products and processes while maintaining high quality customer service levels.
Since its inception, ITAP has been providing cross-cultural training and development across cultures all over the world.
Our extensive expertise, experience and global coverage enables us to support clients by ensuring that training content, training delivery, development processes and skills initiatives are effective in the multiple cultures in which they are often applied.
Even with the best of intentions, many international companies continue to use training program content that assumes knowledge of the organization's home-culture, or that employs culture-specific metaphors or critical incidents, or that rely on styles of training-delivery that are counter-cultural and therefore counter-productive in many of the cultures in which the training is delivered.
The 2012 ITAP Training CatalogThe 2012 ITAP Training Catalog represents a sample list of our worldwide capabilities. Any client anywhere can request any program listed here – or any program not listed here (custom designed). If you do not see what you need, please call any one of our offices to request further information. Click here to access the catalog.
Culture is a competitive variable in the entire customer service cycle, affecting everything from site selection, agent selection, agent training, and general quality and performance. Cultural preferences define customer expectations and these expectations vary greatly from one culture to another. ITAP's tools and solutions for the offshore contact center/call center market address cross-cultural differences that, if not expressly handled, can negatively impact agent performance, management performance, and customer experience. ITAP provides contact center/call center performance improvement services in every stage of the employee lifecycle.
Simply transferring existing training programs overseas is not recommended, even in countries where English is commonly spoken (such as India, Canada, the Philippines, and South Africa). It would be difficult enough to be the internal instructional designer supplying company-specific materials and programs, then complicate that by adding the trainees' cultural background, learning preferences, and knowledge (or lack of knowledge) about concepts, rules and regulations, or customer/client expectations which may be culture- or country-specific. ITAP recommends reviewing all aspects of the training for cultural appropriateness through a cultural audit process. Conducting a cultural audit, using the cultural analysis to determine what kinds of changes and improvements need to be considered for training redesign, and identifying areas that need a more balanced cultural perspective will greatly enhance the effectiveness of your company's investment in international capability development.
In addition to training programs and custom content, ITAP professionals can provide individualized learning opportunities and coaching to your talent. Sometimes employees from cultural backgrounds different from the company home culture need a specialist who understands cultural differences to partner with them in providing guidance on how to best succeed while working across cultures. The coaching relationship is a very specialized one and coaches who speak the mother tongue and/or deeply understand the coachee's background can more effectively work to help talent succeed.
As companies globalize to take advantage of emerging markets and the newly freed movement of capital and labor, new issues emerge. One of the most prominent is the global workforce itself. In many companies, groups of technicians, scientists, financial analysts and other professionals are comprised of people whose national origins are different from the country in which they work, and in which the local workforce itself may be diverse. They are employed by companies because of their professional training and skills, but often cultural differences begin to arise which may threaten the very advantages of diversity.
While diversity is not new in the US, global diversity presents unique challenges and opportunities. In the US diversity is a legal issue focused to protect the rights or the workers of protected classes. Diversity is defined by gender, age, sexual orientation, race or ethnic background and so on. Global diversity means something different; it is larger and much more complex.
Workforce Opinion Surveys:Many companies survey their employees to identify levels for motivation and change. Global companies may need more sophisticated approaches when surveying a global or multi-cultural, multi-lingual workforce. Analysis of responses also may need a culturally-sophisticated approach and understanding of how rating itself differs across cultures.
Before embarking on development of global approaches to any HR function (from compensation to succession management), ITAP recommends a Cultural Audit to assess the level of appropriateness across cultures of anything from policies and practices to programs and processes.
Business ethics encompasses the rules, roles, and values that inform ethical conduct. It is the framework for compliance behavior, risk management, business strategy and growth. ITAP understands both the behavioral and systemic implications of business ethics, and offers a variety of services to help you strengthen the ethics in your organization.