Digitization has resulted in a rising number of global marketplace where the company is no longer limited to a single geographical location but spans several cities, countries and even continents. This has led many organisations to conduct virtual training programs as a means to minimize cost and have a greater outreach.
However, the assumption of one training content being sufficient for the global workforce is incorrect. For the training to be successful and effective, it must generate learner engagement and retention. This is impossible if the learners don’t connect or feel involved with the training program. Hence, it becomes imperative to localize the training process. Localization can be defined as the process of customizing the training content to a specific locale or market. There are many benefits of doing this.
Given below are the 6 reasons to localize your global training program:
1) Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Workspace-
With digitization, an organization has better scope to diversify their workforce and advance globally. However, this can only be done if their workspace is inclusive to people and their cultural backgrounds and languages. Hence, it is essential that the training programs cater to this diversity by welcoming people from all over the world and imparting content that is not just informative but relevant to their social space and work culture. Translating the training program into the required language can also help people connect better with the course content.
2) Improving Engagement-
The training program is successful when it effectively engages people in the course content. However, if the program is not localized, there is a disconnect between the learner and the course material, as they do not understand and feel involved with the process, or feel the information to be irrelevant to their cultural context. In the absence of effective engagement, content retention is not possible.Therefore, global training programs should be localized so that the learners feel valued and invested in their own training process.
3) Cultural and contextual understanding-
Global training programs must take into account the culture and social systems while creating their course content. Using culture appropriate avatars or avoiding the use of images with people is essential in creating a program that connects with the learners.
Certain colours and numbers are also viewed in a negative context, for instance, in Brazil and Thailand, the colour purple is associated with mourning. Likewise, the number 4 is considered unlucky and a symbol of death in China.
It is important that to achieve maximum results out of the training program, the course should be created with the cultural and contextual understanding of a demographic location.
4) Achieving Performance Goals-
Localization is not just about translating but also about adapting the training course to a particular cultural context. This includes adapting their units of measurements, currency, idioms or expressions, tone of voice, images and symbols, etc. When the training doesn’t take these into account, it alienates the learners whereby they lose interest quickly. It can at times also cause dissatisfaction where they feel unwelcome or undervalued by the organization which can greatly affect their productivity. It is therefore necessary that the company localize its global training program to achieve their performance goals and develop their business at a steady rate.
5) Accuracy and Standardization of Content-
Localization is needed to maintain the accuracy and standardization of content. For instance, if the content is regarding Body Language for Sales training, simply having an image of two people shaking hands in greeting is insufficient, as this gesture may seem foreign to the native people of Japan who greet others by bowing. Thus the message may not be delivered accurately or at times can even be misinterpreted.
Similarly, the ability to make the best decisions in regards to profit will only be possible if the learners understand cost, which can vary according to the country and their currencies. Localization trains the employees in these matters which can also help the organization standardize their global information and data.
6) Complying with Law-
Lastly, some countries make it mandatory to have their business transitions in their native language along with English. Localization allows the companies to comply with the local law and conduct their training program in a smooth and effective manner.
Localization is thus, one of the best practices with regards to global training programs because there can be no true global learning experience without localized training. It also effectively eliminates cultural differences and not only improves knowledge acquisition but also increases learner engagement and content retention.