Catering to Cultures: Training Within a MNC

Corporate globalization is here to stay as we see more corporations becoming multinational. Whether it is outsourcing, talent acquisition, or market penetration, it is likely that a company will do business internationally. As the business world becomes smaller, our cultural awareness must increase to be successful in international business relations. Especially as international talent acquisition increases, it is becoming important for managers to become culturally aware. A lack of cultural knowledge in the workplace can be detrimental to a multinational corporation; therefore, it is important that managers are aware of the underlying values that motivate different cultures.

A manager training employees within a multinational corporation must be able to cater to a variety of cultures. This is especially true as competition for international talent and the number multinational corporations continue to increase. A recent study found that only 55% of employees believe that their companies are able to effectively collaborate across departments which has implications on multinational companies. How can managers create an effective workplace consisting of different cultures? In order to create an effective corporation with a culturally diverse workforce, managers must be aware that different cultures require different training according to cultural norms.

Increase cultural awareness through training

We tend to judge solely through our own cultural lens, but cultural awareness training allows people to view a problem from multiple perspectives at once. A lack of cultural awareness leads to misinterpretations when interacting with people from cultures with different norms. Due to this, increasing training of cultural awareness is important, and in effect will increase cross-cultural communication. Understanding even the smallest behavioral nuances are necessary to be an effective communicator. Training managers and employees to be culturally aware will increase efficiency and lessen misunderstandings in the workplace. For example, although it is easy to be unaware of our nonverbal communication, it largely affects our relationships with others. Cultural training will increase an employee’s awareness of this subtle communication and be able to better adapt when interacting with people from different cultures.

Geert-Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

To understand how cultural values affect the workplace, it is important to familiarize yourself with Geert-Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions. These six cultural dimensions include: power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation, and indulgence. Geert Hofstede explored how each country scores in each dimension to gain a better understanding of how cultural background affects workplace behaviors. In order to successfully implement employee engagement strategies, managers must be aware of the needs of employees from different cultures.

Set an end goal, not specific directions

Providing employees with specific directions in order to reach a desired outcome may be a manager’s first instinct, but could reap unexpected results. While one strategy may have increased efficiency in the American office, those same tactics would have different results if implemented in a different country, or with an international employee. In order to drive results, it is important that managers specify the outcome and allow room for employee strategy adaptation. This allows employees to create tactics that will reach the intended result, rather than taking action and failing to reach desired results due to differences in culture.

Drivers of success vary depending on culture making it necessary for managers of multinational corporations to be knowledgeable on how to best train and motivate employees. The pattern of global business continues to grow, signifying that it is time to invest in cultural awareness training to improve your workplace!