Employers are fully grasping the business case for diversity and inclusion. That’s why more and more organizations are investing capital in learning and development programs to help create inclusive workplace cultures and develop culturally competent leaders. Intercultural competence training is a form of professional development that enables employees to discern, navigate, and successfully operate within a multi-cultural workplace setting. Thanks to modern learning technology and analytics tools, it has become more effective and sustainable to implement this via e-learning.
Here are some strategies to get started on implementing a fail-proof online intercultural competence training.
First, set and communicate your goals
Before rolling out an organization-wide intercultural training, think strategically about what your goals are and how you’ll measure success. Although it’s difficult to put a hard number on an individual or a teams’ intercultural competence, it’s proven that when everyone in the workplace feels a strong sense of inclusion and are highly engaged, their performance improves, hence the business outcomes. Think about the bottom-line, employee retention rates, cost of on boarding, the level of employee engagement, and the level of customer satisfaction. These are all measurable. But make sure to align learning outcomes with these KPIs.
Be versatile, engaging, and user-friendly
One of reasons online learning can be effective is it sustains behaviour change. This is absolutely necessary when carrying out intercultural competence training. Changing the culture of a workplace is a slow and subtle process. Depending on the mode of delivery, e-learning makes it easier to feed consistent messaging in digestible bite-sizes in a timely manner. Use the versatility of e-learning to create content in a various formats that your learners prefer – i.e. videos, games, readings, podcasts, webinars, etc. – and always consider accessibility for its audiences with closed caption and machine readability.
Measure, measure, measure!
Modern e-learning technologies incorporate very accurate metrics and analytics tools that makes the training progress easy to track and measure. Make sure you monitor employees’ usage, progress, and success and failures. Monitoring employee activities allows you to see what is working, what is not working, and where and how gaps can be filled to attain success. A dashboard can help monitor content usage and see what time of day learners are consuming content, what training module is most popular, and which materials are being ignored. These analytics are useful to understand what content speaks to your audience. This will help you determine what to do differently in the next iteration of training.
Remember, any training is most effective when it is done purposefully, and consistently. Any organization that is serious about building an inclusive workplace should regularly examine its training practices and methods so that employees are set up for success in achieving intercultural competencies. Exploiting e-learning technology is something you may consider in helping you achieve your diversity and inclusion goals.
Jihyun Jeong is manager of online learning programs at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). She developed and oversees TRIECLearning.ca.