Developing Your Talent through Intercultural Assessment and Training
Intercultural training can deliver lasting value to both companies and employees, not only on an individual assignment level but also through driving positive impact toward the realization of talent management goals.
Intercultural experts understand the cultural nuances that drive behaviors and by understanding a company’s objectives they can partner with companies to help:
- Build a pool of candidates
- Choose the right employee
- Ensure employees are prepared
- Provide support on assignment
- Support employee retention
In this article, we’ll explore each of these in more detail.
Build a Candidate Pool
Candidate selection tools ensure companies have the right mix of pre-qualified individuals in their candidate pool that can be considered first when global opportunities arise.
Through a self-assessment tool, such as BGRS’s proprietary Global Assessment Inventory, employees answer a series of questions to measure attributes related to success in multicultural interactions that are essential to a successful experience working with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Pending the outcome, companies can then add those high performers who also demonstrate themselves to be good candidates for international assignments to their candidate pool.
The Global Assessment Inventory yields several benefits for the employee as well. As part of the process, employees receive a report outlining his or her areas of strength as well as development opportunities. This affords them specific areas to focus on to develop their cross-cultural effectiveness and work toward positioning themselves favorably for future opportunities.
Select the Right Employee
As international assignment opportunities become available, companies can rely on their candidate pool as a source of prospective candidates. There are several methods to ensure the best candidate within that pool is then selected for each unique assignment.
In addition to results from a self-assessment tool, employees and their spouse/partner can also be asked to participate in a more formal candidate assessment, incorporating tools such as BGRS’s proprietary Overseas Assignment Inventory, which evaluates cultural adaptability as it pertains to expatriate assignments and includes a behavioral interview with an intercultural trainer. Companies often elect to administer these programs to multiple candidates to ensure they select the best employee for each particular opportunity. Through a review of a detailed risk assessment report, companies can move forward with confidence that they have chosen to send someone on assignment that is likely to succeed, both on the job and in the new culture.
Prepare the Employee and Family
Once the ideal employee for the assignment has been determined, it is important to assure that he or she is well prepared for both the move and assimilation to the new location. Intercultural training for the employee and any accompanying family members provides the optimal solution.
An in-person intercultural training program, customized for both adults and children, addresses concerns the employees and family members may have and also provide in-depth training about what to expect in their assignment country. Training includes information about the language, customs, communication styles, cultural sensitivities and also explores how people in the host country might perceive the relocating employee and family.
Relocating spouses/partners also derive a great deal of benefit from dedicated training about what to expect as an accompanying spouse/partner in the new culture, particularly as they are the person who will likely engage most often with locals. Children also benefit through an early and thorough understanding of what school will be like, how to make new friends and even how to connect via video chat to other children who will be at his/her school to make the transition easier.
Employees and their families will conclude the training with a better sense of everyday life in the new culture, as well as with strategies for adaptation. And the employee will be equipped by better understanding global management and leadership models to assure success in the workplace.
Provide Support while on Assignment
Intercultural programs that offer ongoing cultural assimilation support and on-assignment support to employees whose responsibilities change or expand are also available. Through direct coaching, this type of program can support employees whose role is extended to include professionals from other cultures and broader management responsibility.
Companies that utilize this type of ongoing support for employees not only increase the odds of assignment success but can also be effective at demonstrating their commitment to their high performing employees’ success on assignment.
Retain the Employee
Demonstrating commitment to high performers can be a significant contributor to retention. Repatriation can be a difficult transition. While often the focus is on the expatriation process, many relocating employees need as much support returning to the home country as when they left. Time has passed and things have naturally changed during the assignment, which is something that the employee and his or her family don’t often anticipate.
Offering employees a repatriation training program, such as BGRS’s Repat Advantage training program, helps ensure assimilation back into life after the assignment, making the return home feel more seamless.
A repatriation program can also encourage the employee to reflect upon his or her experiences abroad and will help identify strategies to embed those experiences into everyday life back in the home country. Through exercises to set expectations for reintegration, employees and their families can work through re-entry concerns, reverse culture shock and other repatriation management strategies like maintaining friendships from abroad and reconnecting with people at home.
Today’s global mobility leaders recognize the power of sending the right person on the right assignment. In addition to preparing employees and family for success on assignment, intercultural training is a powerful tool that can enable companies to achieve their overall talent management and business goals while strengthening their leadership ranks.
To learn more about BGRS’s customizable solutions to support candidate assessment and selection, training and language competence programs and assignment coaching, visit the Intercultural Language Training section of our website.