A global workforce is no longer only relevant to large corporations. In the global marketplace, it’s not uncommon for even relatively small organizations to have a globally dispersed workforce. This could mean they have a complete office in a city across the world, or perhaps some remote employees who work elsewhere. Maybe the company has manufacturing centers in another country or even a few countries.
Whatever the situation, a globally dispersed workforce is becoming an increasingly common situation, and employers are finding while there are of course benefits, there are also challenges. One of the big issues is how to consistently train internationally dispersed employees.
So how, specifically, do these challenges present themselves?
Below are highlighted some of the biggest issues facing companies when it comes to training workers who aren’t all in one location, or perhaps even in one country:
Challenges of Globalized Training
These are some of the ways companies, big and small, are finding it difficult to keep their workers trained:
- It’s difficult to understand how to motivate and engage employees if they are locals of another country. Cultures are naturally varied, as are views toward work. There are also different regulations regarding work hours, and how employees can be trained. Even the smallest cultural mistake in training can be problematic and can lead to more resistance on the part of trainees. There can also be cultural misunderstandings in training.
- It’s expensive. This is one of the biggest problems, and it’s a common reason that training isn’t properly implemented for global employees. It can be very costly to create cross-border in-person training for employees.
- There are differences in time zones that can make training logistically difficult. Timing is a problem even if you’re not training employees who are part of another culture, but are just U.S. workers stationed somewhere else around the globe.
- A lack of consistency can be problematic. You may be training your U.S.-based employees one way, but that then that totally shifts for your international team members. The results can be anything from lower productivity at international locations, to compliance and regulatory issues. Training has to be cohesive and consistent to add value to a business.
- Even when training is translated to fit the needs of workers in a different location, the problem can become a lack of consideration for dialects or hyperlocalized differences.
- Even if an international training program is in place, it may not be able to speak adequately to the varying knowledge, education and experience level of employees. For example, delivering the same training to manufacturing employees who work on a plant floor as what you’re giving to managers isn’t likely to play out well. There may also be differences in overall learning style, so consider an example. You’re offering classroom training to all employees at your international location, but it’s difficult for many of your employees to retain what’s being taught during the session. Not only was this classroom training expensive to implement, but it’s also likely lacking in effectiveness for many of the trainees.
So what’s the solution?
e-Learning for International Training
In a general sense, e-Learning is an excellent option to deliver international training. It solves all the challenges above, and then some.
- e-Learning is highly customizable, even on a shoestring budget. This combats problems such as translation issues and cultural concerns. You can customize your courses to be highly tailored to the needs of even a very small segment of your workforce, and it’s time-efficient as well as inexpensive. To try and customize traditional in-person training regarding language or cultural content would be not only extremely expensive but also very time-consuming.
- e-Learning, in general, is very budget-friendly. We touched on this a bit above, but it’s essential to highlight on its own as well. For small businesses and any company looking to keep their training budget on track, there really is no viable alternative to online training or e-Learning. Anything else would require the hiring of many professionals to create content, there would need to be instructors, printed materials, and employees would lose valuable work time to attend long training courses.
- Time zones and geographic barriers are of no consequence when training employees using a learning management system. Your staff can log on from anywhere, and at any time. You can include recorded webinars and video training sessions, so they get that in-person experience, even when they’re time zone is hours away from that of your main office. There really aren’t any constraints to how international employees can participate in training when you opt for an LMS.
- Maintaining consistency is simple. When you’re using classroom training for global employees, as a training manager or company leader located back in the States, you may have no real clear way of knowing who’s participating in what training or how they’re succeeding. e-Learning tackles these obstacles almost effortlessly. No matter where training managers may be located as compared to trainees, an LMS gives them a centralized dashboard to manage training and see how employees and performing. This can help ensure consistency and compliance in a way that’s nearly impossible with traditional and outdated forms of training.
- It’s difficult to design training that’s going to work for the backgrounds, education levels and specific needs of every learner, and that becomes even more challenging for a globally dispersed workforce. Use e-Learning as a way to design training the will work for everyone. Learners can choose their own ways to navigate training, and they can select the delivery methods that work best for them. For example, some of your international workforce may prefer to view videos, while others may decide to read content. E-Learning makes it easy to tailor training to the needs of each individual learner, without busting your budget or eating up too many resources.
As we conclude, a good overall tip here is to work with a local representative for the area employees live in. That person can help you create and implement e-Learning that’s going to have the maximum impact on international workers. Choose someone who’s a native of the area so you can localize training while also making sure it’s customizable and budget-friendly.
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