Training the Leadership for Multi-National Assignments

| | 2 min read

Multinational corporations are now increasingly faced with the challenge of operating across partner companies with diverse corporate cultures. For leaders who are currently leading these business functions or would likely move into such roles - training plays a vital role.

Managers from the human resource department understand that the existing training modules on rapport building and negotiation techniques are not good enough for these leadership roles. According to them, what is missing is a sensitization on the differences in culture and practical ground-level knowledge on how deeply it has become part of how we understand the ‘normal way’ of working.

Training and human resource development managers were looking to develop a web-based training tool that could induce cultural intelligence and give them the ability to adapt effectively to diverse people from diverse backgrounds, in new geographical settings, with ease. They also wanted the system to measure the progress in sensitization effectiveness, for each participant.

An off-the-shelf training software was not good enough for putting together such demanding course material on cultural intelligence and measuring its impact on the participants. Effect of cultural differences on work behaviors needed more than just basic awareness about the difference in cultures. This would require imbibing ground-level knowledge on the difficulties that managers would face. It required a collaboration of participants and the active development of materials from the experience of anthropologists and business trainers in the context of cultural understanding.

Once the system was developed, selected employees were handpicked, sensitized, and put on regular long-duration expatriate assignments. Based on a twelve-point scorecard, developed in consultation with multiple stakeholders - the systems were now able to measure the progress of each of these employees after each assignment.

Participants periodically came together online and shared their experiences and learnings. from spending time in unfamiliar countries and cultures. Over a period of three years, the mentors noted down valuable feedback which in turn was then used to improve future training materials. In addition, the training tool measured how an individual’s ability had accentuated towards the achievement of organization goals.

The training system also helped the organization uncover employee values in difficult and conflicting situations where multiple stakeholders were involved. The training system also enabled the human resource department to bring forth more focus on developing global talent, that is fit to make global assignments.