Connecting Cultures: An American Company with a Multinational Presence

At Global Arena, we strive in helping our customers to improve their internal communications and interactions across cultures and time zones. In our third installment of Connecting Cultures, we discuss the challenges and actions of an American company at the start of its international expansion.

When the American company acquired its German subsidiary, the German employees felt threatened by the new leadership and were not perceived as collaborative by their U.S. counterparts. The Germans had a propensity for meticulously planning, designing, and implementing their processes to ensure success. The Americans perceived this behavior as being too cautious and it often interrupted strict internal deadlines. This was having a negative impact on the merge, the exchange of information, and the goal-oriented American business. Based on the initial merger experience and Global Arena’s suggestions, the American company decided to work towards generating a trusting environment where the German employees felt valued and were provided with the tools to understand the American pace and its “can do” approach.

Global Arena initially designed and conducted intercultural training seminars in the U.S., U.K., and Germany. The trainings were highly effective, but they were not providing the flexibility that the customer’s employees would expect. After analyzing the customer’s feedback and the results of the initial programs, Global Arena moved the training to a virtual environment, which allowed a more cost-effective, time-efficient and time-zone friendly Intercultural Training program. While the German/American/UK relations were stabilizing, the American company proceeded to expand operations in Switzerland and Japan and used the customized cultural approach to integrate the new business cultures.

Our client continues to be focused on uniting employees from its many locations around the world and this has a direct, positive impact in our costumer’s internal business culture. Our client increased cultural competence by emphasizing the cultures of the U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan, and Switzerland. The virtual approach has allowed all the customer’s employees to attend simultaneously and enrich the training experience by having a multicultural attendance, promote the real-time discussion and the sharing of experiences.

Currently, this ongoing program is conducted as a series of webinars. This approach enabled the global employees to participate, and interact with the consultant and each other in real time. It also allows electronic role-play to reinforce the multicultural teaching experience. The consultant incorporates quizzes and scenarios into the program as different methods of relaying the information. The Intercultural program is helping the client’s employees to learn how culture influences behavior, how that affects their global team members, how to better interact with their peers electronically and work effectively in different time-zones. This program is now part of the Company’s training schedule and is conducted twice a year.

The American company is very pleased with the outcome of the seasonal intercultural training and appreciates the flexibility the webinars allow. Now, they use the webinars to help new hires to get accustomed to working for an international and diverse company. The training helped to boost cultural awareness and improved communications amongst employees.

Global Arena’s Intercultural Training programs play a key role in our customers’ day-to-day. Many companies are expanding into global markets and the differences in cultures should be addressed right from the beginning to allow for a more interconnected and productive work environment. Global Arena’s professional trainers and project coordinators make us the right partner to help you overcome your cultural challenges. We are here to help you to be successful.

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