Importance of cultural competencies is still under-estimated by international companies, especially those of small and middle size. While big groups started in recent years to integrate few days training in mobility packages, others doubt the benefits and argue that they are difficult to quantify, thus making it an investment challenging to justify. However, even if the geographical borders begin to fade, the cultural frontier persists. Risks of misinterpretation and damaged relationships may have consequences on social and professional lives. A lack of engagement due to frustrations can cause failure or early end of an assignment abroad.
Other hidden costs such as breakdowns in negotiations or business relations can also occur, while the cost of cross-cultural training is very low related to international assignments and relocation. Many agree to say it’s less than 1% of the expenses related to international assignments. Participants to cross cultural training understand differences between their own culture and the way of thinking / being of hosted country. They are able to identify points of connection and facilitate their acceptance in local environment. They also acquire the appropriate knowledge of local norms and regulations, providing them the opportunity to develop an appropriate perception of a culture. Acquiring necessary skills to adapt allow them to faster establish relationships, facilitate behavior and ease communication, in the private life as in business.
So, investing in a cross cultural training program for your foreign employees will not only help to reduce risks of early departure, but also help to increase success rate and business engagement.
The idea is simple: Volunteer families, members of the association, invite foreign hosts to share dinner at home, with the only purpose of a cultural exchange. The association exists in Lyon for 30 years and rely on few highly-motivated volunteers: each year 350 welcoming families receive about 1000 guests from 100 different origins.
Students, expatriate employees, or simple visitors can directly register on the website, and the association also develop partnerships with high schools and international companies. All members and guests meet several times a year with special events organized by Lyon International, such as an outing in Beaujolais, a Rhône-Saône cruise, or even a Jazz evening ...
A great experience to try for those who wish to open to the world the time of an evening, to offer a user-friendly image of our country, a slice of French culture, a few hours of conversation in Molière’s tongue ... unless it’s in their own… Catherine P.