What do you need to do to deliver exponentially growing amounts of training on an international basis while keeping effectiveness? We take a look at the 8 key fundamentals to rolling out successful international training programmes.
Training your people internationally needs planning, ensuring there’s a corporate common vision with enough adaptation to make the skills and practices relevant everywhere. Further more, ensuring quality, control costs, cultureal differences and timezones… this can be a huge undertaking.
1- Have clear objectives and a rollout strategy
What do I want to achieve?
As with every plan and project, goal setting is key. In this case, it is important that you have a clear picture in mind of what your corporate programme should look like. And specifically what you aim to achieve in terms of KPIs and visible results in the workplace. These will illustrate your project scorecard and will be needed along the deployment to ensure you’re on the right track.
2- Define the right programme for you.
What should be the content and methodology?
There’s plenty of great learning solutions in the market (off-the-shelf). You may decide if you want to use any of them, to adapt and make them a company-specific, or to draft a totally custom one from scratch (maybe even combining existing off-the-shelf solutions). All options work, as it really depends on many factors. The more “off-the-shelf” material you use, the lower upfront investment would be ensuring quick implementation with an acceptable guarantee of positive results. On the other hand, if you go for customized you may benefit from earlier appropriation and will be able to tackle very specific objectives through the training programme.
3- Select a global training provider.
Who is able to do it globally?
Selecting the right training provider is paramount; the relationship you have and the ability to work together to define content and methodology is essential. However, often a provider is selected based on the programmes they bring you to you. That’s why it’s important that you partner with a provider that can guarantee the global footprint, the certified trainers and the project management capabilities for this rollout. For global initiatives, it is more effective to use global providers rather than a combination or multiplicity of local providers, or than a local provider who will fly or deliver virtually from one location.
4- Involve corporate and local stakeholders.
Who promotes and who is to be engaged internally?
You may find that your local in-country colleagues will know great training providers with good content. However, in order to pursuade them that the international approach is the way to go, you’ll have to present them a winning business case to go for the global initiative. You will therefore need corporate sponsorship and support, and tailored arguments for local buy-in.
5- Consider culture, language and local features.
How much should it vary per region?
Don’t wait for your local colleagues to ask you to make twists and tweaks in the programme to make it relevant for their region: play it proactively, defining what the “local characteristics” of your corporate programme will be. You may think you can live without this until someone crashes your meeting with a request for this… or even worse if it is later, when engagement metrics and results are not what you expected. Remember, “Translation is not localisation”, “English is not English”, or simply “A here is B there”.
6- Staff and onboard the right trainers.
Who are my envoys?
You may have your internal trainers, the training providers trainers or a mixed group: make sure that they can be the representatives of your organisation in terms of style, cultural match, background and expertise. Engage these trainers so they see the big picture, they are aligned with the company values and they can convey the messages. Give them context, explain them what your delegates’ journey looks like in the company, what they already know and what they’d expect from the programme. Team up with them, so they know which is their role and actions in the bigger process (i.e. make them “be part” instead of just “doing their part”).
7- Keep budget and admin under control.
Taking a broader look, what else do I need to manage?
Global rollouts may involve some costs you don’t usually deal with in local deployments, and they usually entail a great deal of stakeholder management. Allocate enough time and budget for programme design (or fine tuning) and anticipate the needed rounds of validation (you may also involve your local stakeholders). Figure out the best deployment strategy and seek clarity of cost per region, per cohort, per participant, and don’t forget to calculate total cost of ownership instead of just “total amount of vendor invoices” (e.g. travel, accommodation, venue, meals, process costs…). Agree the best contracting, admin and invoicing scheme with your procurement and admin departments. Check if your HR system is ready to integrate and support the programme worldwide. Create a global calendar considering holidays and high business periods… Wow, anything else? Well… Certainly there is more, but let’s keep it “simple” for today…
8- Monitor the consistency of the rollout.
Is this working as expected?
We’ve briefly mentioned the milestones of programme sign-off and trainer onboarding, and then it’s very likely you’ll want to run some pilot sessions before hard launch (in fact, defining your launch and rollout strategy is also another key to consider). Still after all that, you will keep following up closely on feedback and KPIs collected from the programme. Therefore, it’s important to maintain regular checkpoints with the local stakeholders to learn from their experience in each region and eventually make programme adaptations.
This completes our 8 key principles for implementing a successful International training programme. Check the summary in the video below!