What are the benefits of intercultural training for groups as opposed to individuals alone?
Well, this is a question we are asked many times by business stakeholders deciding whether to invest in group intercultural training programs.
Due to the advent of eLearning courses, learning has become more individualized, with an emphasis on self-guided learning.
The expectation is that individuals working in the same organization or company will draw the same conclusions and align in terms of the intended behaviours and practices.
However, many organizations are concluding that the focus on the individual alone is not necessarily effective as this approach excludes experiences that can only really be found in group intercultural training programs, such as spontaneous laughter.
Let’s take a look at the direct business benefits that can be gained by investing in group intercultural training.
10 Benefits of Group Intercultural Training
1. Practices skills
Group intercultural training allows for exercises and games which help learners practice intercultural skills. The opportunity to practice intercultural negotiation skills or intercultural communication skills is limited on a computer as it’s not real life. Having people to practice with makes a huge difference to learning outcomes, which in turn, makes learners more effective at their job.
2. Encourages a learning mindset
Being around others in a learning environment fosters a spirit of enquiry and knowledge. Having the opportunity to bounce ideas off people, listen to other points of view, learn new techniques and gain fresh insights all nurture a mindset that wants to improve, progress and succeed.
3. Addresses issues in the team
Sometimes group training environments provide one of the few opportunities for team members to address issues in person. Bringing a team together and allowing the trainer/facilitator to encourage discussions and debate around challenging, divisive or contentious issues can be a very healthy way to identify solutions.
4. Aligns team values
Intercultural training is essentially about finding alignment between people from different cultures. Group learning makes it far easier to do this as the session allows learners to discuss the issues that really matter to them, as opposed to an eLearning course which sets the agenda and determines relevant topics.
5. Sets benchmarks
Learning around others helps people create benchmarks and standards against which they can compare themselves. By listening to peers or asking more experienced seniors questions, those in the group training setting start to develop an awareness of their own levels of knowledge and where they may need to improve.
6. Generates new ideas
Without a doubt one of the biggest business benefits of group intercultural training programs is creativity. With the right exercises and activities, lots of new ideas, concepts or ways of thinking can be explored which results in benefits both for the team and the business/organization.
7. Adds depth to learning
When attending group intercultural training you get to move beyond the learning offered in individual learning. With different perspectives sharing their stories, experiences and anecdotes, everyone in a group training gets extra exposure as well as tangible and practical examples they can relate back to the core content.
8. Gives an outside perspective
As well as benefitting from peers’ opinions in group intercultural training, learners also get access to an independent, expert’s point of view, i.e., the trainer, facilitator or coach. Essentially, learners can draw upon the knowledge of an expert as well as invite their external opinion on challenges or problems.
9. Improves relationships
If done correctly, group intercultural training programs put learners in situations in which they learn more about themselves and those they work with. By listening and engaging with their colleagues through focused activities, learners develop trust and build rapport which is instantly carried back to the workplace.
10. Boosts employee engagement
Investing in solution-focused group training programs, which emphasize practical, relevant and transferrable skills, boosts employee engagement. As well as making employees feel a sense of worth, it develops internal networks and creates a connection with the organization’s wider goals.
Group training doesn't have to be face-to-face. All these benefits can be achieved with online training via various platforms that allow team engagement and interaction. In fact, virtual intercultural training is essential in minimising conflict in global virtual teams.
So, let’s summarize the key business benefits of group intercultural training programs:
1. It helps learners practice their skills with others
2. It encourages a learning mindset in the organization
3. It allows teams to address issues and challenges
4. It helps teams align values and expectations
5. It sets benchmarks and standards
6. It generates creativity and new ideas
7. It adds depth to learning and understanding
8. It offers an outside, expert perspective
9. It improves relationships between employees
10. It boosts employee engagement and conscientiousness
Do you need group intercultural training programs for your employees?
Having delivered group intercultural training programs to corporate and multinationals for the last 15+ years, we certainly know a thing or two!
If you would like to explore training for your organization or business, then get in touch. We will walk you through options, fees and the process so you can decide what solutions are best for you.
Our team work closely with your stakeholders to ensure any training programs are relevant, rewarding and offer all the benefits outlined above.
Would your employees benefit from free intercultural training?
Well, you are in luck! We can’t offer you group intercultural training for free but what we can offer you is an eLearning course on cultural awareness.
The online course covers a whole range of topics including self-awareness, the Culture Lens, values and then business-specific topics such as time, teamwork and communication.
We offer both a free and paid version which offers full access to all course contents.
To learn more, visit our Cultural Awareness eLearning Course page.