We are living in a hyperconnected world. An estimated 258 million people are currently living outside of their home country. If all of those people made up their own country, it would be the fifth-largest country in the world. This number is increasing day by day and will continue to grow and impact the way we work.
Ten years ago, you may have worked mostly with colleagues in Germany and the U.K. Now, you’re more likely to work with colleagues in China, Singapore and India. Of the Global 100 companies, 27% are based in Europe (compared to 48% in 2010), 37% are based in the United States (compared to 33% in 2010) and 35% are based in Asia (compared to 19% in 2010).
As organizations become more global, intercultural understanding becomes more crucial. In addition, technology is connecting people and cultures like never before. In order to be an effective leader, business traveler and global citizen, employees must learn the right skills.
However, the way we deliver and expose people to intercultural training and information is changing. Modern learners want learning to be immediate, personalized, flexible and ongoing. They take just seven seconds to decide whether content is good. They want to be instantly wowed, they want to be challenged and they want to have fun along the way.
Taking these learner needs and desires into consideration, companies should create tailored solutions to ensure that intercultural education is part of their corporate strategy and culture. With that goal in mind, here are four trends likely to emerge in intercultural training over the next five years.
1. Skills for All: Intercultural Training Is Not Just for Expats
Intercultural training is necessary at all levels and functions within an organization. It’s for multicultural teams and organizations, business travelers, human resources (HR) teams, short-term assignees, rotators, developmental programs and employees working on virtual teams.
You don’t have to be a large company or make international assignments to invest in intercultural training. You are most likely a global company, even if you have a single office in one country. Anyone working with partners, clients or vendors abroad will benefit from such information.
2. Collaboration: Intercultural Training Is a Natural Partner for Other Initiatives
Organizations are starting to combine intercultural training with other learning and development (L&D) initiatives and other disciplines; it will also partner increasingly with HR, diversity and inclusion (D&I), and in-house global mobility programs.
According to 2016 research by the Association for Talent Development, only 18% of multinational companies “believed they had a strong leadership pipeline to meet their future business challenges.” Why not integrate intercultural information into your existing leadership development programs to give your people and your organization a competitive advantage?
3. Integration: Intercultural Training Content and Delivery Is Changing as Technology Advances
Companies are increasingly integrating intercultural tools, courses and information directly into their portals and intranets. As technology advances, gone will be the days of multiple logins and cumbersome systems. Application programming interfaces (APIs) will enable more connection and sharing of information. Intercultural information will be at employees’ fingertips via texting apps, chatbots and machine learning applications.
4. Strategic Partners: Intercultural Training Success Is About Finding the Right Partner
Strategic partners can lead you through the ins and outs of intercultural training and help you navigate your options. Many provide complete customization, alignment with your corporate culture, a better learner experience, lowered costs and increased return on investment (ROI). If you incorporate intercultural training into your mobility and development programs, or are considering doing so, you may want to speak to a strategic partner who can help guide the way.
The more connected the world becomes, the more cultural competence organizations will need. Many leading multinational organizations have developed global programs dedicated to nurturing the skills and mindset required for international growth. These companies are creating the international leaders of tomorrow.
The future of work is global. Are you ready?