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What is Cultural Training for Businesses?

Cultural Training is designed to help businesses bridge the gap between different cultures in the workforce and/or between employee and customer. In essence, it sets the foundation for a cohesive workplace environment, where differences are easily managed and misunderstandings rare.

While the concept is built on sound ethical ideals, it also possesses genuine business value. Successful businesses embrace cultural differences and understand each culture’s value to the organisation.

Cultural Training is useful for businesses that require:

  • Expatriate cross-cultural training (for employees working abroad)
  • Integrated multi-national teams (minimising misunderstandings, streamlining coordination)
  • Culturally sensitive leadership teams (overseeing operations in different countries).


UK businesses alone employee over 5 million people overseas. That number is set to increase with technology making it easier than ever for businesses to find new markets and lower the barriers of entry to establishing international offices.

Why should a business consider Cultural Training for their employees?

Learning and development is an important driver of a business’s success, particularly when establishing a presence in, or introducing staff, to new countries and cultures. Investing in your people and leadership team will not only improve your success rate but create an environment for employees to feel supported and capable of taking on the challenges and opportunities that you present to them.

Ultimately, a well-designed Cultural Training programme will ensure greater cohesion within teams, leading to gains in productivity, improved decision-making and ultimately, improved return on investment (ROI).

Let’s look at in more detail at the three main use cases:

Expatriate cross-cultural training: If an employee is sent on assignment in a foreign location, they will benefit from a solid grounding in local customs and vagaries of communication. In essence, they will have the tools to make the most of their assignment, having a positive impact on the company/locale and taking away a positive experience.

Multi-national teams: In a globalised marketplace, companies are increasingly multicultural. That’s true within a team, but also in terms of the client or customer-base being served. Any business keen on maximising the potential it offers, will benefit from a Cultural Training programme which smooths the communication process.

Leadership teams: As above, any leader of a multi-national organisation will require the pre-requisite skills to communicate effective to employees and clients from different cultural backgrounds. A little cultural awareness goes a long way and one mistake can cause an unfortunate misunderstanding.

In each example, a specific – and carefully designed – cultural training programme can make a positive difference in productivity and return on investment, as well as more engaged, prepared and happier employees.

Need help finding a suitable Cultural Training programme for your business? Arrange a free no-obligation chat with the industry experts at Engage on

What Cross-Cultural Training is available for expats?

One of the highest country-to-country expat failure rates is from US employees who come to work within the UK. It underlines the importance of properly preparing your employees being sent on expat assignment. Most employees (and managers) will have preconceived ideas of what to expect when working in a different territory, but this might not reflect the reality.

An expatriate cross-cultural training workshop, ahead of departure, enables the employee to prepare for and learn about:

  • The culture of the destination country and its values
  • Different beliefs and norms
  • The peculiarities/quirks of daily living
  • Work issues related to their specific situation
  • Cross-cultural communication (dos and don’ts)
  • Cultural assumptions and how they manifest

What Cross-Cultural Training is available for executives?

Understanding the culture of the people working for you and the appropriate business etiquette is vital when developing multinational teams and appointing new global leadership positions.

Cross-cultural leadership training is highly customised to the specific needs of executives. Training can be taken either as a single one-day session, or across a series of hourly coaching sessions over a number of months. Either way, the objective is to help senior executives and people leaders to:

  • Develop strategies for adapting business styles
  • Troubleshoot cross-cultural issues that arise in the workplace
  • Empower people to lead multicultural teams
  • Develop effective cross-cultural communication

“The team are incredible knowledgeable, take the time to explain our different options and respond to any queries promptly. Happy to recommend!”

What Cultural Training programmes are available for workforces?

More and more companies are catering for multicultural audiences thanks to the evolution of online technology. But in a world of fluid borders, workforces are also increasingly culturally diverse.

Consequently, the ability to develop a global mindset and communicate effectively across different cultures is an important component of success in a domestic marketplace, let alone a global one.

In today’s multicultural workplace both manager and employee must understand how culture affects communication – and even business practices.

Cultural Training workshops are designed for both employees and people leaders and helps them to:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of cross-cultural business and communication skills
  • Implement strategies and skills for communication more effectively with different cultures
  • Understand the challenges of conducting business in a second language
  • Develop understanding of non-verbal and verbal communication cues in different cultures
  • Examine how we perceive ourselves in our own culture and how people from other culture perceive us
According to a 2019 study by Kotze and Massyn, those equipped with greater cross-cultural resilience were less likely to burnout and more engaged in their work.

Are there country specific workshops?

In short: yes. A country specific workshop is a one-off session designed to help employees to:

  • Focus on the cultural aspects of a specific country
  • Provide the business and communication skills necessary for developing cross-cultural competency
  • Better understand the impact cultural differences have on working relationships
  • Identify gaps between their style and that of the target culture, creating an action plan to develop effective relationships.

We find that businesses often partake in country-specific Cultural Training programmes for the following reasons:

  • Business is going through a merger or acquisition programme
  • Launch of an international project
  • Commencing (or increasing) work with an international client

Understanding a specific culture other than one’s own is important in helping grow businesses and improving personal relationships.

How much does Cultural Training cost?

Each workshop will have a different price, depending on how many people are looking to attend, where the workshop is held and any specially designed services required. Please contact us for more information and we’ll provide a tailored quote.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does cultural training last?

Training can usually last as little as 30 minutes or as long as three days. Budgets, time, geographical spread, and practicality all play a role in the length of training.


Face-to-face training is usually done in one day, and Webinars can often be delivered in two-hour segments

Who are cross-cultural trainers?

Cross-cultural trainers are professional consultants who should have a background in cross-cultural communication. Along with a broad range of competencies, they often have either country-specific expertise or expertise in a particular branch cultural training.

What types of cultural training exist?

There are various forms of cultural training for businesses such as Intercultural Training, Cultural Competency, or Diversity Training. They can look very similar in content, style, and appearance depending on pre-designed training courses.

Does my company need cross-cultural training?

Every business is different and so the need will vary from company to company. It’s particularly suitable for those companies with international reach, workforces in different parts of the globe and those with individual business locales which have a diverse ‘in-office’ make up.

What are the different approaches to cross-cultural training?

It all boils down to context. A training course designed for high-ranking business leaders is very different from one for architects visiting Haiti for the first time. Hence, we tend to divide training programmes between: workplace culture, global leadership and expat workers.

Cultural Training For Business
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