The very nature of cultural training is to explore change and difference as well as to devise strategies to adjust, adapt and code-switch. Challenges faced by “virtual
assignees” (employees who start a new international assignment but remain based in their home country) are similar to international assignees who traditionally
relocate – with the added complexity of having limited context for working across virtual boundaries.
How can cultural training help? Please listen to a short exchange between a Cultural Trainer, played by Atlanta-based IOR cultural trainer, Christian Höferle, and an “assignee”, role-played by IOR’s Senior Advisor, Olga Collin.
Why take Cultural Training if I am not relocating?
While you may not have to unpack boxes and figure out local schools, you still have to figure out how to communicate with your Indian colleagues, who seem to be in agreement on a call but don’t deliver the expected results. How do you impart your knowledge to an audience reluctant to turn on the camera? How do you implement change when trust has not been established and you only see your colleagues on a screen? Your cultural training program addresses these questions. You can expect to:
- Have a sense of mental preparedness and moving forward with the assignment while still at home
- Acquire critical ideas a n d practical tips to build trust and develop working relationships virtually
- Do a comparative analysis of different business behaviors in a virtual office with a focus on the “why’s” behind the behaviors
- Develop strategies to bridge observed/experienced communication and behavioral gaps
- Have an opportunity to apply newly gained skills in-between the training sessions and debrief resulting experiences with a trainer
- Evaluate/reset expectations and create an action plan for moving forward
Timing for a Cultural Training Program
There are benefits to meeting your colleagues F2F and physically spending time in your destination country. However, culture shock will not wait for you to physically arrive at your destination. You will have to manage and lead your team, establish trust and relationships, provide feedback and motivation with the added challenges of doing so from a virtual office. Take your cultural training as early as possible to prepare for a successful virtual assignment and to hit the ground running!