4 types of cross-cultural training and how they can help your business

cross-cultural training

Cross-cultural training is designed to help businesses bridge the gap between people of different cultural backgrounds, whether within a single workplace or across different global offices. It’s all about building a smooth line of communication, avoiding misunderstandings, and negating the potential for a cultural faux pas.

UK businesses alone employ over 5 million people overseas – this is likely to increase with technology making it easier for businesses to find new international markets. Management and staff must understand the challenges posed – and the benefits offered – by culturally diverse workforces, and how they can create the most supportive environment possible.

There are four main types of cross-cultural training, each one designed to tackle a different scenario faced by businesses. Read on to discover what they are and how they can smooth the process of communication no matter how culturally diverse your workforce is.


If you are looking for business-specific advice regarding international employee benefits, the experienced team at Engage is here to help. Contact us at +44 (0)1273 974419 or click on the bottom right chat box for FREE one-to-one advice and quotes.


#1 Expat cross-cultural training

This first type of cross-cultural training focuses on expatriate employees. It’s designed to help expats adjust to their new culture and develop an understanding of cultural norms in their host country. Employees must be prepared for any culture shocks they might experience working and relocating to a new country – the success of these expat placements is incredibly important to prevent businesses from losing return on their investment.

The benefits of expat cross-cultural training to employees include:

  • Improved awareness of local customs
  • An understanding of business etiquette in the host country
  • Avoidance of culture shock
  • Increased chance of a successful placement
  • Seamless interaction with minimal misunderstandings

The benefits for businesses include:

  • A much higher success rate for expatriate missions – saving your business time, money, and effort
  • Less troubleshooting, in cases where employees are struggling to adapt
  • Greater workplace productivity – the expat will take less time to adapt to a new environment and meet their targets


According to Kotze and Massyn, individuals equipped with greater cross-cultural resilience were more likely to be engaged in their work and be less likely to burn out.


Bonus tip: To further reduce the risk of a failed overseas placement, consider undertaking Pre-Assignment Screening beforehand. Learn more about Pre-Assignment Screening here.


#2 Cross-border business training

It’s increasingly common for businesses to hire staff based in different countries. Cross-border business training can help these international businesses overcome the inevitable challenges of hiring across different cultures and time zones, and managing them in an appropriate manner.

This type of cross-cultural training is designed to help businesses master communication and avoid any misunderstandings resulting from cultural differences. The overall aim is to learn how to best work together, ensuring that differences become a strength and not a weakness.

For example, if you were to make an online presentation to a multinational team, you’d need to use language and expressions which translate effectively across different cultures. Certain linguistic idiosyncrasies such as pop cultural references, figures of speech and attempted humour – all have the danger of alienating certain groups.

Would you like one-to-one advice on finding cross-border training schemes for business? Our expert consultants provide FREE quotes and FREE independent advice. Simply call +44 (0)1273 974419 or use the chatbox in the bottom right corner.


#3 Global executive training

Third on the list is Global Executive training which aims to help businesses operating in multiple countries prepare their executives for working in an international environment.

Global executives must be able to effectively communicate with and understand staff from different cultures and backgrounds. Having a training programme that focuses on developing global executives’ cross-cultural understanding will help them thrive in a new global environment with new colleagues and clients.

This training helps executives to avoid any potentially costly misunderstandings by enabling them to learn about the different business etiquettes and norms taking place in a country.


#4 Multicultural team training

Last but not least, multicultural team training is designed to help businesses with employees from multiple cultures work together side-by-side and to the best of everyone’s abilities.

The benefits of Multicultural Team training for both businesses and employees:

  • Helps ensure smooth and effective communication
  • Helps to build/maintain a diverse and inclusive working environment
  • Helps businesses to utilise the individual strengths of employees by understanding their different cultural backgrounds
  • Develops employees’ understanding of each other’s cultural celebrations and norms


When employees feel like they belong to a team who values their individual skills, they’re far more likely to be productive and loyal to your business. Multicultural Team training can really help your team work together in a positive and productive way.



Find the best cross-cultural training scheme for your business

A training course designed for high-ranking business leaders is very different from a course designed for building contractors visiting Dubai for the first time. At Engage Health Group, we tend to divide training programmes between workplace culture, expat employees and senior international business leaders.

Not all cultural training courses are created equal, and each business has its own unique requirements. That’s why, as independent consultants, we are dedicated to linking companies with those courses which provide optimal ROI.

Investing in the right cross-cultural training course can benefit businesses in so many ways, from providing staff with the tools to effectively communicate and collaborate with other cultures, to ensuring a more inclusive working environment.

There is a huge range of international employee benefits, training courses, and insurance policies to choose from. At Engage, we offer expert advice and support free of charge, advising companies on all the key issues surrounding employee benefits and their management. We source FREE quotes, provide help with implementing new schemes, and are always on hand to answer all the questions you could ever want to ask.

Contact us at [email protected] or call +44 (0)1273 974419 for FREE no-obligation advice and support.

Picture of Eleanor Chilvers

Eleanor Chilvers

Eleanor started at Engage in 2021, and is now a Digital Content Writer after studying BA English Literature at University of Sussex for the last 3 years.

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