Training and Maintaining International Employees

02/09/2022 0 By indiafreenotes

International assignment management is one of the hardest areas for HR professionals to master and one of the most costly. The expense of a three-year international assignment can cost millions, yet many organizations fail to get it right. Despite their significant investments in international assignments, companies still report a 42 percent failure rate in these assignments.

With so much at risk, global organizations must invest in upfront and ongoing programs that will make international assignments successful. Selecting the right person, preparing the expatriate (expat) and the family, measuring the employee’s performance from afar, and repatriating the individual at the end of an assignment require a well-planned, well-managed program. Knowing what to expect from start to finish as well as having some tools to work with can help minimize the risk.

New technologies provide greater opportunities in globalization for businesses of all sizes, but this international growth requires sending employees to foreign countries, either temporarily or permanently, to oversee the operation, administration, and marketing of international negotiations. Unfortunately, the biggest obstacles in International business are problems caused by cross-cultural differences. When cultural differences are not respected, appreciated and noted, negotiations can fail. By training employees in cross-cultural differences before sending them abroad, you can resolve many of these misunderstood issues.

Incorporate Multiple Delivery Modes

Quality elearning is not as simple as posting a series of videos on a shared drive. Not everyone can absorb knowledge or skills just from watching videos. Although convenient, self-paced videos often lack the power to keep viewers engaged. Plus, studies have shown that different people learn differently. These differences can be especially profound across diverse cultures, generations and languages.

Search for a native cross-cultural trainer from the country the employee will work in. Use foreign in-house training personnel or contact your local Small Business Administration to find businesses specialized in this type of training. You can also locate this specialized training from online businesses like InterCultural Group, People Going Global or Interchange Institute. Ask for training in cultural practices in business, and in body language and facial gestures for the country you are doing business in. Many foreign countries emphasize hand and body gestures. Learning to identify these can help the negotiation run smoothly.

Teach future international employees a little of the language used in the country they will work in. The foreign business associate will not see it as insulting or embarrassing when a foreign associate mispronounces a word. To the contrary, it is a sign of respect and recognition to attempt to speak the foreign language.

Train the employee to slow down. Most Americans and Canadians are trained to work on a schedule. They live fast-paced lives and stick to set times faithfully. Other cultures are not as defined in their daily schedules. Help the employee understand these different perceptions of time and be a little more flexible with scheduling meetings and other work related events. Understand that the negotiating partners may be more interested in the long-term relationship rather than just closing the deal in a week.

Define the country’s cultural standing when referring to power, individualism, collectivism and masculinity vs. feminism. For instance, some countries put more emphasis on group communication rather than individual decisions. Teach employees to respect these differences even if they don’t coincide with their personal beliefs.

Train the employees in local culture, art, history and politics. This will give them topics of conversation not related to business to help remove the stress from the business negotiation. Explain the importance of complimenting a culture and country, without comparing it unfavorably to that of their native country. Allow the employee to demonstrate pride in their country without demeaning the foreign country.

Train the employee to be aware of culture shock and its possible interference in the work environment. Explain the three stages of culture shock, which are initial optimism, followed by a period of frustration and gradual improvement of mood and satisfaction.