Multicultural success

An internationally operating aviation service was facing the challenges of team performance in their multicultural project team and was looking for a way to re-establish team cohesion and improve work outcomes across all sites.

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Background

Background

Background

The customer organisation is a UK based aviation service that operates internationally

The customer organisation is a UK based aviation service that operates internationally, offering support in air traffic management, aircraft management, training and airport services, as well as support for the Ministry of Defence. The organisation has teams across the globe, and due to the international relevance of the service they provide, recognise the importance of effective multicultural co-operation. Due to the diverse range of services they supply to support the national and international aviation industry, they fully recognise the importance of providing their staff with the most effective, relevant and impactful training solutions to ensure effective outcomes.

Problem

problem

The Problem

The customer organisation is a UK based aviation service that operates internationally

One of the teams dealing with a major project in the business was based in disparate locations and was comprised of individuals from UK, France, Germany and Italy. Despite having worked together over the preceding year, there were concerns that the effectiveness of the team was in decline, and the organisation were looking for support in helping to re-establish the cohesion of the group and contribute to improved effectiveness. Although all members of the team were English speakers, they were not all native, and one of the challenges they wanted to address was the miscommunication that often arose between multilingual staff, and ensure clear exchanges could commence.

Solution

solution

The Solution

The customer organisation is a UK based aviation service that operates internationally

The solution that was decided upon was comprised of a one and a half day workshop designed to help the team realign in terms of working practices and goals. The workshop environment was chosen to offer them a supportive environment in which to explore their challenges and formulate appropriate solutions. As this was intended to support a specific team and address their unique challenges, it was essential that the solution designed would nurture the exact needs of the individuals in the group and facilitate the changes that would generate real and lasting change in the future. This required a highly bespoke approach with collaborative input from both parties to generate the most appropriate intervention. A general outline of what needed to be addressed was proposed by the customer; however it was as a result of extensive conversation and partnership that the final solution was decided upon. The solution was intended to be highly interactive and utilised group discussions, questionnaires and team exercises to convey the overarching message of the session, and help embed the learning more effectively and enable the team to reunite in a way that would empower them to perform more effectively going forward.

Training

Training

The Training

The customer organisation is a UK based aviation service that operates internationally

The training was a highly interactive session facilitated by experts from TLD, but run flexibly based on the demands of the group. It included a range of team activities, updates on the current status of the project, looking at both the challenges and successes of the team and wove together these project updates with more formal elements looking at multicultural awareness. The team were also asked to complete anonymous questionnaires looking at their opinions about the group’s current functioning, and then further exploring these to establish where the issues were and what could be done to address them effectively. In addition to this there was a dedicated session looking at multicultural awareness, and one of the tasks was to draw caricatures of the different nationalities within the group. The purpose of this task was to explore the highly sensitive issue of stereotypes and prejudice in a relaxed and engaging way, to highlight some of the typical perceptions people have, and then discuss how factual they are, how they impact working relationships and what can be done to reduce this impact. In addition to this a guest speaker was also asked to attend to share their experience of working on high profile projects in multicultural environments, and the challenges and successes they encountered. To help embed the learning the team agreed an action plan that addressed both project processes and behavioural elements, and set themselves objectives at both a personal and team level. The most important element of the session was that it was directed and led by the needs of the team, and while TLD were on hand to facilitate the session, the learning resulted from the input of the group itself, and their willingness to work together to address their challenges.

Challenges

Challenge

The Challenges

The customer organisation is a UK based aviation service that operates internationally

Multicultural group

This was the biggest challenge not just for TLD, but also that the group themselves were facing; the impact of having team members from various countries had been putting significant strain on the group and impacting their performance. It was therefore essential that TLD were able to address this issue in a sensitive, yet impactful way, and were also able to prevent this challenge from impacting the outcomes of the session. To help address this potential barrier TLD employed a training team that was itself culturally diverse, with one native English speaker present accompanied by a French consultant who was also proficient in English and German. This approach not only ensured that more accurate communication could occur between the facilitators and the group, but also helped to demonstrate a clear understanding by TLD of the importance of multicultural working and an appreciation and practical understanding of the challenges it can bring.

Short timeframe for delivery

Due to the conflicting schedules of the individual members of the group and the limited availability of the team to come together, there was a need for the intervention to be delivered over a very short time period. It was therefore important that the sessions be as impactful and relevant as possible to achieve maximum effect. To achieve this it was vital that TLD had a comprehensive understanding of what needed to be addressed, the most effective delivery method appropriate for that team, and what the organisation wanted to achieve as a result. This required in-depth consultation and discussions between TLD and the organisation, as well as flexibility on TLD’s part to adapt to the needs of the group during the session, and trust on the organisation’s part to allow TLD to adapt in this way while still adhering to the agreed objectives.

Outcomes

outcomes

Outcomes

The customer organisation is a UK based aviation service that operates internationally

Due to the specific requirements of the team, and their limited availability it was highly important that the session being run was fully aligned with the needs of the team and would enable them to meet their agreed objectives. This meant that there was very little scope for review of the programme, and that it needed to be fully conceived before delivery. This was successfully achieved, but due to the nature of the session some minor amendments were made as it progressed to better reflect the needs and challenges of the team. The outcomes included better understanding of how a multicultural team can work more effectively together and what steps the team need to take to ensure on-going success for the future. TLD have also been asked to run a follow up session which will focus on feedback from the team and will be used as a further evaluation of the success of the session.

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