Success Stories: Building Bridges – Merging Two Corporate Cultures
A key division of one of the world’s largest automotive companies sought a partner to develop a tailored training program that would accelerate connecting their German and American business cultures with the organization’s values.
Program Size:400 training participants
- Talent Development Intercultural
The client was opening a new production facility for more than 1,700 employees on the East Coast of the United States. The facility opening involved a need for integration of incoming German expatriate populations in leadership positions and a local U.S. employee workforce. The German nationals were coming to the U.S. as a rotating population to transfer specialized knowledge and oversee production at the facility. The client identified a critical need to provide tailored talent development programs to support these two employee groups.
The program objectives included:
- Create a transformative, cohesive workplace that would support the company’s new culture
- Incorporate the organization’s global, core value systems while embodying the very best of each culture
- Train both German and American nationals at all levels, from leadership to those on the production line
The ultimate goal was to create a transformative, cohesive workplace that would become the local business unit’s new culture. The client called this ‘new concept training’ designed to move all employees towards an integrated corporate mission, culture, and process.
Following a request for proposal and through a series of discovery meetings, the client elected to partner with the BGRS’s Intercultural Group. Working closely with the client’s leadership and HR teams, BGRS supported the client’s request for global awareness and intercultural leadership training by developing a broader transformation approach to talent development. The client ultimately adopted this approach as its “new concept for trainings.”
BGRS’s Intercultural Group designed a comprehensive tailored training solution to support the client’s objectives.
- The training design process included defining the key anticipated intercultural challenges and the vision for the outcome of the training.
- The program was designed to:
- Incorporate European corporate headquarter and southern U.S. values.
- Develop a mission statement by both groups to accelerate the integration of two different corporate cultures.
- Provide a common vision under which to work.
- BGRS developed a training plan including an initial leadership session followed by on-going monthly group training sessions for all new employees. The monthly training program was split into two distinct sections.
- Developing intercultural awareness and understanding cultural values between German and American nationals. This segment focused on communication, time, control, formality and differences in values, attitudes, and behaviors.
- Familiarizing the participants with the client’s organizational values and culture and analyzing how the client’s guiding principles manifest in employees’ day-to-day jobs through discussions and group work. This section included an executive-level guest speaker.
- The client’s partnership and willingness to allow the BGRS team to interview employees to determine training needs allowed BGRS to develop truly tailored materials and modules.
- BGRS also implemented a continuous feedback cycle that allowed for ongoing updates, changes, and improvements to the training programs.
RESULTS AND OUTCOMES
Over the course of two years from the program introduction, BGRS’s Intercultural Group successfully delivered 26 of such training programs to over 400 employees.
- After an initial successful introduction, the client incorporated the program into their onboarding process. BGRS delivered the training program to eligible employees over the course of 2 years until the facility became fully staffed.
- The program flexibility allowed the client to transition from offering the training sessions several times a month to training as needed, as the new facility became more fully staffed.
- The client was able to rapidly build the necessary rapport and close the gap between production and office employees through blending the participant groups in the training sessions.
- Two years of delivering programs on a continuous basis generated constant positive feedback with 98% of participants reporting to have “found value in the program” and 97% said they would “recommend the training to their colleagues.”
"It was critical to set the scene for better collaboration and top productivity from the facility opening. We looked for accelerators to build a common culture that would otherwise take months, if not years, to achieve. In BGRS, we found a partner that offers a robust talent development offering with a flexibility to tailor their solutions to our unique situation."
Training and Development Key Account Manager, HRV/C
Intercultural understanding and ability to collaborate is critical to any contemporary global workplace. However, in circumstances when accelerating intercultural cohesion of specific groups is important, tailored training can have significant positive impacts on employee engagement and productivity. BGRS has a wide offering of intercultural best practices with training and coaching elements designed to suit each clients’ needs. In this case, for example, group workshops where employees have an opportunity to share their cultural perspectives in a guided environment, develop a global mindset and cultural competencies to enable understanding, and create their own mission and vision statements were significant contributors to success.