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How to Design Training Content to Appeal to a Multicultural Workforce

If you’re running a multicultural organization, you’re likely aware of the challenges when it comes to employee communication. The challenges lie in the language barrier and differences in communication style, etiquette, feedback delivery, and the type of employee training.

In Singapore, the Skills Future funded courses are designed for a variety of learners, with lessons designed to accommodate their learning styles and boost their future employability. This allows them to explore more employment opportunities and promote a holistic system of lifelong learning.

Providing learning and development programs in a multicultural workforce can be a little tricky than the typical work environment. Here are ways to create impactful training content for a diverse workforce:

Group of young people in training course

Provide translated options

While English has become a primary requirement for most jobs around the world, it’s important not to ignore the fact that most people still learn best using their native tongue.

In a multicultural workplace, employees need access to various training materials in their native language. Avoid using auto-translating tools since most of them yield robotic results because they translate words objectively without proper context. Also, the lack of a human voice can lead to mistranslation, which results in misunderstandings.

The best solution is to hire a human translator to translate the whole training course into the preferred language. A great tip is to use a conversational language mode to make the content more engaging and easy to understand.

Work with cultural subject matter experts

Language can be an effective cultural basis, but it isn’t enough in a multicultural environment. Regional identity comes in different subtle forms. These include gestures, such as calling a person by their first name or surname and making office interactions more laid-back or formal. A great example is the American and British office environment — the cultural differences are quite distinct in almost every area of their day-to-day interactions.

Hiring a cultural subject matter expert (SME) and making them a part of your development team will help you incorporate essential aspects of cultural identities into your training courses. They can help personalize your training content in a perfectly acceptable way to your employees coming from different backgrounds. This way, you’ll be able to navigate cultural issues apart from the challenges posed by language barriers.

Include localized examples

Including localized examples in your training content will help you adapt the course to your target audience and deliver the exact meaning with the right emotion based on a specific cultural context. You can create an entirely new localized version for your target audience than simply changing the format or the written/spoken language. Although this will cost a lot if you have to produce a lot of variants, the time, effort, and money spent will eventually pay off in terms of training ROI. You’ll notice this once employees become more receptive to your training initiatives.

Dig deep when presenting local scenarios. Avoid using stereotypes, but rather genuine and real-life situations. The last thing you want is to create offensive content and make your employees feel discriminated against. For this part, your cultural SME can help you create wholesome and respectful content when portraying localized characters and situations.

Incorporate gamification features

Regardless of their cultural background or the type of role they perform, your training content should allow learners to utilize their competitive nature. This means breaking down training barriers through gamification features, such as points and image-based badges.

Gamification in training is the process of incorporating game mechanics into training content to increase motivation and engagement. This will allow you to monitor their training progress and drive them to accomplish the course. But be sure to include a translated copy of the game mechanics, so they can understand what to do.

Ask for input

Employees have certain expectations when it comes to their idea of an effective training experience, including the type of training resources and activities they prefer. When designing a training program, asking for input or feedback is important to determine their learning styles and needs. You can do this by conducting polls, online surveys, or focus group discussions on gathering feedback and knowing their opinions of an ideal training course.

For instance, ask for their opinion about the latest task simulation or the policy compliance set by the management. Did it provide relevant samples? Did they feel alienated or isolated? Are the characters portrayed wearing proper attire? How was the quality of translation? Was it accurate enough or filled with errors?

There’s no shortage of corporate training that takes into account inclusion and diversity, but much of your training concerns should consider the abilities and issues faced by a multicultural workforce. These people have so much to offer in your organization, so make sure to prioritize their interests when designing a training program in the workplace.

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