How to develop effective employee training programs for global media teams

• 3 min read
Tips for training international teams across the extended enterprise

How to develop effective employee training programs for global media and publishing teams

When I decided to conduct a mini-experiment with my Docebo colleagues as the subjects, I basically knew what I was getting into. I sent out a simple request via the global Slack channel: “Find an image, any image, that depicts the concept of teamwork, and email it to me,” was my plea to my coworkers in Italy, the U.S. and Dubai.

We’re thinking a lot this week about how our international teams learn from each other, and support their new peers. Many of the images that landed in my inbox, I quickly realized, had to do with sports. Regional sports. Football. American Football. Rugby. Baseball. But does a photo of a celebratory Little League baseball team mean the same to an Italian audience as, say, a photo taken just seconds after a game-winning soccer goal? Would an emotionally-charged baseball photo resonate with the Italians the same way a photo of a victorious soccer team might?

If I were in charge of training for my international company, which image would I choose to place in a learning object for all of my global teams to access concurrently? Most likely, neither, or, I’d branch the content for the local audience to guarantee effective training. Here’s why:

When developing learning programs for a diverse audience in an employee training scenario, particularly a global one, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re to approach the learning plan with a certain amount of empathy.

According to a report from LionBridge, organizations that develop a consistent strategy for developing, localizing, and deploying HR and training materials will see improvements in several key areas:

  • Workforce connection: Distributed employees will have a deeper understanding of corporate goals and mission, and will more readily understand their role in reaching those objectives.
  • Reduced global turnover: Better trained and more connected employees are more likely to stay with your organization. Reducing turnover can significantly cut recruitment and training costs.
  • Greater efficiencies: Engaged and well trained employees are more efficient across a number of factors depending on the type of work that is being done. Most organizations can readily identify top and bottom line improvements if they were to improve the efficiencies of their workforce.

What makes globalized learning content effective?

But great training strategies are only as good as the content that’s deployed. Great learning material should be:

Conversational
Great learning content should be conversational enough in tone that it inspires learners to ask questions and create a healthy discourse, just outside the learning environment. Whether that conversation is held on the learning management system (LMS) or at the water cooler, you’ll notice a more attentive group of individuals who will begin to seek out more information over time.

Relatable
In today’s world, we want to share content that we can identify with. Like most editorial content available on the web, your learning content should be understood and deeply appreciated by a slice of the population (in many cases, this means someone in a certain role or location). As your online training platform evolves over time, your knowledge library will become more sophisticated, and your content will appeal to a greater number of people around the world. You should always be cognizant of language use, and avoid hyperlocal idioms and colloquizations that your colleagues across the pond may not understand. Keep in mind that English is often the language of business, but it’s also a second language for many.

Global
As online learning content becomes more and more collaborative and social in nature, LMS vendors will continue to encourage companies to produce sharable learning content. Features like deep-linking and social media integrations will become more common, while formal training modalities will continue to shift toward mandatory and compliance training (don’t get me wrong, there will always be a place for formal learning!) Be sure to ask for regional input on approaches like gamification – what’s engaging for one audience might be uninteresting for another.

As your company expands its global footprint, the need for diverse training material increases. By thinking like a global citizen, your learning content is sure to be more diverse, inclusive and engaging, which drives retention and performance.