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3 Reasons Why Cultural Awareness Training is Essential to Success


Does Cultural Awareness training work?

Will investing in such training really offer any sort of ROI and help your staff?

Well, back in the day, when ‘my way or the highway’ ruled supreme across the international business stage of Western countries, cultural awareness training was generally ignored.

However, this attitude is now considered bad for business and, instead, international businesses are embracing a more outward-looking way of doing things.

This change in attitude has made cultural awareness training an important part of the training portfolio for business personnel wanting to excel within international roles.

So why the change of heart? Why is cultural awareness training now considered important?

Below, we list 3 important reasons why businesses are realising such training leads to success.


3 Reasons Why Businesses Need Cultural Training

1) Culturally aware staff are equipped with ‘the rules of the game’

Staff who have received cultural awareness training are far more likely to enter a business scenario, such as international negotiation, understanding the expectations of their negotiation counterparts and the way in which events are likely to play out.

By understanding these expectations and the unspoken cultural codes, the culturally aware staff member is more likely to make a good impression and to avoid potential frustration or faux pas if events don’t mirror those of their home country.

A common fallout for individuals who have not received cultural awareness training is that they become frustrated when events take a direction they don’t understand.

Confusion and misunderstanding are prime ingredients for friction and upset, leading to a loss of trust and damaged relationships.

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2) Culturally aware staff protect and promote the reputation of the business

Individuals who have received cultural awareness training, gain an understanding of differences in business-critical areas such as communication, decision making, business etiquette and conflict management.

By understanding these areas, culturally aware individuals are less likely to cause offence by breaking cultural taboos and less likely to miscommunicate.

By understanding ways to adapt their behaviour to suit the specific dynamics of their cross-cultural situation, they are able to present a positive image and behave in a way that promotes trust and drives more productive outputs.

3) Culturally aware staff provide greater returns on investment

International projects involve investment. From simple travel and accommodation fees to more complex financial demands, international projects are rarely cheap. However, the upside is that culturally trained staff are likely to drive a return on investment.

If, for example, a business is sending staff to India to sell a product to an Indian company, then who better for the job than someone who understands Indian business etiquette, Indian cultural taboos and essential strategies to drive engagement and build trust with Indian counterparts. It goes without saying that a member of staff without this level of cultural understanding is far less likely to return home with optimal outcomes.

The impact on investments of failed expatriate assignments is one of the most startling examples of staff without the necessary cultural training costing their company.

In the USA, PWC (2019) estimated the cost of failed expatriate assignments at 2 billion USD per year. One of the leading causes of failed expatriate assignments relates to assignee failure to assimilate into the new host culture.

Expats who are dropped into a country with no understanding of local culture are vulnerable to falling into a net of messy outcomes, such as poor relationships, miscommunication and offence.

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So, why invest in Cultural Awareness training?

Clearly the reasons for the importance of cultural awareness training go far further than those listed here.

  • Culturally aware staff are equipped with ‘the rules of the game’
  • Culturally aware staff protect and promote the reputation of the business
  • Culturally aware staff provide greater returns on investment


Businesses that embrace cultural awareness training for their staff are clearly at the forefront when it comes to making a good impression and securing positive outcomes.

Take a Professional Course on Cultural Awareness

Why not sign-up for our cultural awareness eLearning course? It's only $15! For a limited time only!

Bursting with valuable insights and practical strategies to help you maximize your international business success, our cultural awareness eLearning course will enhance your interpersonal skills.

You can watch a sample video here. Go to the course page to learn more [link above].

Main Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

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