teaser why intercultural training

Why Inter-Cultural Training / Education?

When working internationally or within diverse teams we will be facing cultural differences at some stage. Often talent is not enough as culture gets in the way of being effective. Ever wonder why people have different attitudes towards e.g. time, authority, rules or relationships? Or whether a "Yes" means "I agree" or "I'm listening" in meetings?

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

Most of our culture is invisible, yet has a powerful influence on our daily life. The way we communicate and behave is culturally determined. We simply cannot assume that our colleague, client or neighbour has the same world-view, the same values and ethics as we have. Hence, being culturally aware and knowledgable will benefit anyone in today's environment.

Inter-cultural competence | intelligence is crucial for success – to avoid incomprehension, frustration and excessive costs due to the “trial and error” method.

Ensure success in different cultures

  • saving individuals and companies effort, time and money
  • increasing success rate and performance of employees / teams / expats
  • minimising cultural adjustment impact / time for the assignees and their families

Small investment, great returns

  • the minimal cost of employee development vs the actual cost of losing employees, clients, customers
  • e.g. an average international assignment cost to company ~ US$ 1 million per year
  • average cost to company for a failed assignment is up to 3 times the investment
  • average cost to company for cultural training as % of total relocation costs ~ 1% (costs vary between 0.01% and 1.44%)

Retaining valuable employees

~90% of executives from 68 countries say intercultural management is their top challenge

Failure rate*

~70% of international ventures fail
~40% of multicultural teams fail (due to lack of cultural understanding and knowledge)

failure rate of international assignments
~50% of all expatriate managers fail (either return early or do not reach goals)
~48% of all returning employees leave the company within the first year

Reasons for unsuccessful assignments*

~62% due to spouse or family’s inability to adapt
~58% employees' inability to adjust and perform
~34% lack skills to conduct business in the host country

further insufficient selection standards (employee is not suitable for assignment i.e. personality and emotional immaturity or lack of motivation)
~63% have low motivation and interest to interact with other cultures 

due to the significant increase in intercultural education the failure rate for international assignments is on average 20% lower today than during the 1990s.

the importance of intercultural work and education is growing. the classic foreign assignment is changing – organisations becoming larger, projects abroad shorter, expats must be more flexible. plus 80% of millennials (generation y) want to work outside their home country by 2020…

* source : WEF, E&Y, KPMG, PWC, EIU, DFA, Harzing (intercultural research), Economist