How to Use Language to Create a Healthy Global Company (Part 2)
When a company experiences changes, remembering and making space for human emotions is key. That’s the principle behind change management strategies (CMS), which aim to help companies adopt new technologies, initiatives, software, or situations. One of the best ways to help workers navigate the emotions of change, in addition to ensuring that your company’s message is transmitted as clearly and completely as possible, is to conduct training in the language(s) and media that are most familiar to your employees.
Here are some tips for making your message as clear as possible and conducting effective training, which we at Venga have gained through our own experience helping global companies adopt human resources information systems (HRIS).
Consider your end-users, and structure your training around their needs
Your employees want to know how to use new technologies or how to change their work, but they aren’t necessarily interested in knowing the deeper structures behind systems. (They may already know these, or will figure them out while using the new technology.) Employees will want to know how to do tasks, so you’ll want to focus on making your training tactical and focused on solving common problems.
When thinking about your employees’ needs, you’ll also want to consider how they will best learn new material. This will likely involve…
Train in native languages
Why is communication in worker’s native language so important? Learning a new technology or adapting to a new initiative is difficult enough. Doing it in a new or unfamiliar language makes adapting to a change uncomfortable and unpleasant.
Here’s our take: “It is a well-accepted fact that learning in your native language is more effective. And for job-aids and tactical training, such as an Employee Self-service module, which will be used over and over by all employees, it is essential. You really want to make sure everyone follows the new procedures and avoids generating costly internal support calls or mistakes… The overall objective for the whole program is to achieve the expected benefits of the investment in a new system as quickly as possible.”
– From Venga’s HRIS System rollout eBook
Provide multiple avenues for training
Some people are visual learners, some learn by hearing, and others learn by doing. Most of us learn through a mixture of these. Providing various types of training media will maximize the efficacy of your training and cover the broadest possible base of your employees’ needs.
We recommend a combination of written instructions, recorded demonstrations, forums, and self-study materials, plus follow-up seminars or webinars to check on employees’ progress and provide a place for them to ask questions.
Translate and localize your multimedia too!
When globalizing your company’s new change, it’s important to translate and localize all training materials. We’ve typically encountered three major types of training materials: voice, presentations, and demos.
For voice materials, replace the audio with a translated human or computer-generated voice, or add subtitles.
In presentations, ensure that all parts of the slides are translated, and consider the cultural appropriateness of any images you’re using.
For recorded demonstrations: create demonstrations in your employees’ native languages, ensuring that any specialized terms appear in translation and as the software uses them. For example, if a country uses English and Spanish versions of software, you’ll want to provide key terms in both languages to make crossover easy.
From our experience as a provider for HR Technology companies, we have found that localizing training materials works. Based on our client base (which consists of large and medium-size multinational companies), users of enterprise-scale HRIS/HCM systems have experienced an increase in adoption ratio of 45-65% and a reduction in the adoption timeframe from 18 months to 9 months.