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Customer service in globalisation – The real cost of saving money – Part 2

It is hard to measure ROI on trainings…especially when people are involved still most people agree that the skills to understand, lead and serve are even more crucial in an international context. According to the Economist a lack of skilled workers and managers drags the country down. Eight out of 10 businesses with turnovers of £5m to £300m say they are suffering, or will in the future suffer, because they are unable to source British workers with the skills they need.

The roles and responsibilities of Human Resources departments are transforming as the modern business faces pressures of globalisation. Global staffing and management of a workforce diverse in culture and language skills, and dispersed in different nations are the key goals of global human resources. Only those multinational enterprises willing to adapt their human resource practices to the changing global labour market conditions will be able to attract and retain high performing employees. Companies with the ability to foresee their business needs and their workforce needs – especially for high skills – will gain the decisive competitive advantage.

Effective CCT programme should include five distinct phases:

  1. Identify the type of global assignment for which CCT is needed.
  2. Determine the specific cross-cultural training needs.
  3. Establish the goals and measures for determining training effectiveness.
  4. Develop and deliver the CCT programme.
  5. Evaluate whether the CCT programme was effective

PHASE ONE: IDENTIFY THE TYPE OF GLOBAL ASSIGNMENT:  There are four kinds of international assignments:  technical, functional, developmentaland strategic. Technical and functional assignments are similar to the assignees’ domestic positions. The difference between these is that the functional assignees need to interact with the local people when they are doing the assignments, but technical assignees are usually not expected to fit into the new environment, as their only commitment is to transfer knowledge or skills. This kind of assignment is normally short-term and usually designed for technicians. However, technical assignments do not occur even as short-term because effective communication is always important in an assignment, so most hotel international assignments are considered as functional. Developmental and strategic assignments are totally different. Multinational companies send their developmental and strategic assignees overseas to develop and enter into the new market. The developmental assignees are usually on a managerial training programme. Strategic assignees, on the other hand, need to be very flexible and are expected to be cultural experts because this kind of assignment is usually for senior managers, such as general managers and vice presidents.

PHASE TWO: CONDUCT A CROSS-CULTURAL TRAINING NEEDS ANALYSIS: Organisational analysis is used to consider how the CCT programme assists the headquarters and the subsidiary in supporting its global strategy. The costs and benefits will be taken into consideration carefully. Individual analysis is used to examine how the CCT programme helps the expatriates to transfer their knowledge and skills. The expatriates’ intercultural communication skills will also be analysed. Assignment analysis is performed to judge how successfully the expatriates complete international tasks along with the CCT programme, and what improvements can be made.

PHASE THREE: ESTABLISH CCT GOALS AND MEASURES: There are long-term goals and short-term goals, and each goal needs different identification. Short-term goals specify the completion of the assignment. In contrast, long-term goals are aimed at the final outcomes of the CCT programme. Short-term CCT goals can bring out three types of changes – cognitive, effective, and behavioural.Different types of international assignments are supposed to bring trainees different changes. For example, people who are sent on a technical assignment need to focus on cognitive goals (e.g. providing practical information such as information on shopping experiences and the transportation systems of the host countries). People who are sent on a developmental assignment need to focus on the behavioural goals (e.g. developing their intercultural communication skills).

PHASE FOUR: DEVELOP AND DELIVER THE CCT PROGRAMME: Generally speaking, CCT methodologies can be separated into two categories: didactic approach and experiential approach. A didactic approach to training emphasises knowledge acquisition and is based on the assumption that a cognitive understanding of a culture is necessary to appreciate the norms and behaviours of that culture; the experiential approach to training stresses skills acquisition and is based on the assumption that individuals learn best from their experiences in the host country or from interacting with individuals from other cultures

PHASE FIVE: EVALUATION: This might the most difficult part to measure however the most obvious numbers do not lie. Less staff turnover, better customer service will generate more profit than cutting cost and every £1 spent on employee engagement and well-being should return at least £3 in the long run due to increase in sales and productivity.

Csaba Toth
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Csaba Toth

Managing Partner at ICQ Consulting
International Culture expert and researcher. Developer of the Intercultural DISC (IDISC) assessment of human behavior and interaction.
Csaba Toth
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