| Pic: INPIX-LITE/IndiaPicture |
Organisations, in an endeavour to address the need of the growing expat population, are introducing cross-cultural training programmes to make them accustomed to the new work environment.
With a booming Indian economy and organisations positioning themselves as global players, the global marketplace has become truly competitive. With the competence bar being raised every quarter, organisations have started including training and development costs in their budgets. Cross-cultural training is a training programme being introduced in organisations for their expat workforce, as it is more important than ever for the management to understand the differences not only in time zone and language, but also customs and culture.
With global boundary lines diminishing and relocation of employees becoming common, managing their relocation in terms of investments is not the only aspect organisations are apprehensive about. They need to make sure that their ambassadors (read: employees) are prepared in every facet so that they work in tandem with the organisation's vision. "Developing a global cultural competency framework is one of the most challenging aspects of working globally. In order to avoid cultural misunderstandings that may lead to failure in business, the need for cultural awareness and sensitivity has become important," says Roshan Joseph, associate director - training and development, Virtusa Corporation.
Offering staff cross-cultural training minimises stress, frustration, failed assignments, poor retention rates and low morale. "We extend constant support to expats during their tenure with us. They have detailed briefing packs before they start their assignment with us to understand the culture and business norms. It is extremely important to be conscious of building an inclusive work environment; hence, all new joinees are introduced to the challenges and nuances of business communication in a cross-cultural setting first during the induction programme and then, on an ongoing basis across the year," says Sangeeta Singh, partner – HR, KPMG India while explaining about their training initiative.
While it has been debated on whether to introduce such programmes is beneficial looking from the return of investment perspective, how do organisations and employees perceive this initiative? "From an organisation point of view, the understanding across various cultures is uniform and the interaction between employees is at their best. This also helps new employees from different cultures to settle down sooner and better, which helps in high employee engagement," states Ashok Ramchandran, director HR, Vodafone India. Additionally, commenting on the value-add that can be attained, Harjeet Khanduja, head-HR, Anthelio Business Technologies opines, "Employees who go through such training programmes are better individuals and are touted as ‘global' employees."
When an adequately trained person lands in a foreign country, the organisation's external brand as well as employer brand value enhances as people who interact with the person perceive a higher image of a foreign national who is sensitive to local culture.
— Manoj Reddy