The Challenges Of Globalization In The Workplace

The Challenges Of Globalization In The Workplace
Dmytro Zinkevych/
Summary: Folk say ‘it’s a small world’ and it seems to be getting smaller. Better, faster, cheaper forms of technology bring us all closer together, both in terms of how long it takes to travel and how quickly we can get in touch or access information. For the L&D professional, that may mean that your patch is actually getting larger and larger. And more diverse.

Globalization In The Workplace: Challenges And Solutions

Many businesses we interviewed for Kineo's Learning Insights 2018: This Time It’s Personal report identify themselves as ‘global’ with a workforce in more than one country – often in more than one continent. That can mean 10,000+ learners speaking several different languages in several time zones with different cultural contexts.

Learning Insights 2018: This Time It’s Personal
Check the insight, real-life stories, challenges, and successes collected from interviews and a survey with 200 L&D leaders across the globe.

Sure, technology means you can deliver the same piece of learning content to all of those learners, more or less at the same time. But should you? Will it ‘translate’ (both linguistically and culturally)? Are the regulatory conditions the same in all of your markets? If you’re using imagery or video, does it represent a diverse workforce and show locations and settings that will resonate with all?

We interviewed many people grappling with these precise issues. Their role heading up the L&D function has been designated as ‘global’, but what kind of control really should be held globally, or centrally? With differences in language, context, and culture—to name just a few issues—does it make sense for one person or team to take responsibility for all learning across an international organization?

In some cases, central teams are liaising with locally-based satellite teams, responsible for localizing learning content or troubleshooting technical issues on the ground. In itself, this is causing challenges of communication, budgeting, resourcing, and trust.

Connection and the constraints of tech play a part here too. The learning is perhaps devised in a location with easily accessible WiFi networks and a propensity of handheld devices. It is broadcast out to countries with patchier networks or more challenging security (more than one interview respondent cited challenges with 'The Great Firewall of China', for instance).

Different regions may well have very different expectations when it comes to technology. And different hardware – will your learning content and platform adapt to whatever kind of device is going to be used? In the Learning Insights 2018: This Time It’s Personal report, you’ll be able to take a look at how taking a flexible approach to your Learning Management System can help here.

Success Story – Case Study

We talked to a large global corporation who’d successfully rolled out a blended online and offline training program for front-line Salespeople across the world.

With around 15,000 Sales staff over Europe and sub-Saharan Africa and a high level of turnover, the team needed to find a way of getting new people up to speed as quickly as possible, with minimal traveling or time away from the day job.

The majority of training now takes place through an app integrated with the LMS. Because it can be used offline, employees are no longer bound by challenges of connectivity, nor limited to training in the office or at a particular time. The content can be downloaded when there’s a good internet connection, then run whenever it suits the individual. Interviews with Salespeople show that they particularly like the flexibility this offers.

Another big win is how the content was created and deployed. The platform itself was created centrally, but then the team relies on colleagues in local markets to tailor, translate, and localize the content and upload it to the site. It even has local sales people doing the narration, rather than professional voice artists.

This ‘glocal’ model has proved a success with its target audience who appreciate the effort to provide a solution that suits their working style. It uses one centrally agreed and approved approach to training, but takes into account regional differences and circumstances.