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Communicaid work with us to really understand our needs and create training solutions that are tailored to our business needs. They provide engaging trainers who have really helped to bring the realities of working internationally to life for our teams.”Sharon Quinn, Global Mobility and Reward Manager, Whitbread Group PLC
The last decade has seen Costa expand globally with the opening of many new outlets in southeast Asia, China, the Middle East and central and eastern Europe. To support this growth strategy, Costa’s international division has recruited internally and externally to fulfil a number of senior roles. These new international roles are required to work extensively with Costa’s overseas network, engaging both face-to-face and virtually with colleagues and partners to support and develop Costa’s international business. Developing the international competence of employees working globally is seen as a core skill to be acquired in order to build effective, cross-cultural relationships with these international colleagues and partners.
In response to this requirement, Communicaid has been working with Whitbread since 2009 to provide intercultural training for both UK based teams working internationally as well as employees embarking on international assignments.
Whitbread is the power behind some of the UK’s most successful, much-loved hospitality brands. Employing over 40,000 people and serving more than 22 million customers every month in the UK, Whitbread’s brands include Costa, Premier Inn, Beefeater Grill, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns.
Whitbread’s ambitious and fast-paced growth will, by 2016, see 3,500 Costa stores worldwide and the rollout of its Premier Inn brand in Asia. To support this international growth strategy, Whitbread identified the need to develop the international competence of employees working in these new markets.
The training programmes were designed to:
Following an in-depth diagnostic consultancy with each employee or team, Communicaid designed a series of targeted training solutions. The programmes were highly practical with focused case studies, role plays, critical incidents and other scenarios relevant to Costa’s business activities providing delegates with an insight into their own cultural values as well as those of their international partners.
Communicaid designed the following training solutions for Whitbread employees:
A one-day Working Effectively across Cultures programme providing delegates with practical tools and strategies for working and communicating more effectively across cultures
A one or half-day Doing Business in the target culture programme which offers practical strategies to help delegates to work effectively with their counterparts in the Middle East, China or Singapore
A two-stage programme was designed for employees embarking on long-term international assignments.
Part 1: Delegates completed The International Profiler, an international development tool comprising an online psychometric questionnaire and a personalised feedback session highlighting strengths and skill gaps for international working.
Part 2: One day Living and Working in the target culture designed to assist delegates with the transition of relocating to their new location by providing cultural awareness knowledge together with practical advice on daily life and business practices
Following these intercultural training sessions, newly hired employees are now able to build more successful relationships with their new international partners and strengthen their international network. Techniques acquired on how to communicate virtually have also helped employees based in the UK to build stronger relationships with their global networks.
Delegates who have attended these programmes commented that they had gained a better understanding and learnt new ways of dealing with cultural divergence. Participants found that they now possessed an increased awareness of their own cultural values, attitudes and behaviours, how these influence their working styles and how they are perceived by others. Finally, Whitbread employees who have attended these programmes are now able to adjust their behaviour to achieve better communication with colleagues and partners from other cultures.
“Communicaid work with us to really understand our needs and create training solutions that are tailored to our business needs. They provide engaging trainers who have really helped to bring the realities of working internationally to life for our teams.” Sharon Quinn, Global Mobility and Reward Manager, Whitbread Group PLC