By Corporate English Solutions

26 April 2022 - 11:53

Global training initiatives

Reading time: 4 minutes 

In the current climate of increasingly centralised and global training initiatives, how can learning and development teams engage local teams to implement global content, closing skills gaps and preparing their teams for the future? We examine four strategies to help you achieve this.  


Global L&D teams have been grappling with how to achieve consistently high-quality results across borders and adopt new digital learning methodologies.

The pandemic has heightened these challenges – as teams become more dispersed, budgets and resources are even more stretched and it has become harder to engage busy teams in training.

Global L&D teams are now under more pressure to get local teams to adopt global content and prove the impact of large-scale training initiatives for geographically dispersed, culturally diverse workforces. Yet engaging these teams is a challenge: only 60% of employees in the 2020 Cornerstone Global Research felt confident their organisation could develop skills for the future.

So what techniques can global teams use to communicate and collaborate more effectively with local teams, engaging them to implement learning initiatives that close skills gaps and prepare employees for the future?

We caught up with Kate Sullivan, Head of Services & Talent, Corporate English Solutions at the British Council.   

Ensure you understand the diverse needs of your people, wherever they are  

Assessing capability gaps and uncovering needs at scale is challenging, particularly with increasingly dispersed teams, hybrid working and cross-cultural communication challenges. 

However, it is key to providing targeted solutions that get results and should be given time and attention before any programme development.   

Work closely with local L&D teams and business managers who understand the context and business. Collaborate on reviews of existing capability models to ensure they fit with the future direction of the organisation.   

Take a systematic approach to capability assessment to uncover similarities and differences in different contexts. Use online surveys of business leaders and employees to quickly gather large-scale data on gaps and prioritise those most important to the organisation’s growth. These may not necessarily be the biggest gaps: look for critical capabilities that can make the biggest impact globally and in each market.    

Develop microlearning libraries to curate personalised pathways

Creating modular, micro-learning libraries of content allows local teams or individuals to build a programme from global content to suit the needs of their context. This is common in eLearning, but can also work for face-to-face or virtual instructor-led sessions by creating a calendar of open courses staff can sign up for.    

CIPD’s Learning and Skills at Work 2020 research identified personalisation and tailoring of learning programmes as one of the top 10 priorities for L&D. Personalised learning leads to improved engagement and results: 77% of L&D professionals in a recent survey (by growth engineering) believe there is a clear link between the two.  

Global teams can provide toolkits and work closely with local teams to guide them on curating pathways, especially in the set-up phase. Ensure your systems track which content items are most engaging and deliver optimum results in the different contexts to suggest future pathways.

Check in with local teams regularly, if they are quiet it doesn’t necessarily mean that all is well.

Use frameworks and templates to ensure relevance 

Frameworks and templates allow you to embed key global learning outcomes whilst providing opportunities for personalisation. 

During content development or sourcing, the use of frameworks or templates of strategies, tools and processes can help participants relate content directly to their unique context, work environment and role. In the British Council’s NEG-PRO framework for effective negotiations, participants work through their own negotiation case study, planning, delivering and evaluating a real-life negotiation from their workplace (see link at the end) This also facilitates transfer of learning as the study can be used immediately at work.

Adapt metrics to suit local contexts

While global metrics will be necessary to report on training ROI, adding functional and context specific metrics will make reporting more meaningful to local audiences.   

As you and local teams identify and assess capability gaps, spend time discussing the metrics they will find most useful. Identify trends and common themes and make these core to your measurement to avoid duplication. Customise dashboards to different contexts so local teams can report with ease and conviction.   

Designing relevant global content is about effective communication and collaboration with local teams. There are many ways to ensure global content remains flexible and is also customised to meet local needs.  

Find out how our approach and learning methods may help your business teams.

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