Global versus local training strategies: finding the right balance
When it comes to corporate learning, finding the right balance between global and local training approaches can be a difficult process. Both approaches have advantages, but a combined strategy often appears as the most effective. Here we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each strategy and how to combine the best of both.
The global-only approach
Relying solely on a global approach to training offers multiple benefits in terms of scalability and consistency, cost savings, centralized control, easy alignment with corporate values and goals, and consistent best practices. It also increases the ease of sourcing vendors, and ensures a consistent quality of content and technology supported by large investments. However, global training may not address local needs and challenges, and some training will inevitably need to be customized for local markets. Additionally, it’s more difficult to have local L&D teams rallying your strategy if they are not part of it.
The local-only approach
Relying solely on a local approach has also clear advantages, including truly localized training to meet specific needs, reduced time to market of in-house designed learning programs, quicker and easier feedback from users, the flexibility of dealing with local vendors, and a closer, more personal connection between L&D and the local workforce. It also means increased autonomy of local L&D staff, and a higher likelihood of buy-in from regional management. But, the local approach also has its own drawbacks. Fully local training means increasing costs, and the probability of inconsistent training and results across different regions that could negatively impact client satisfaction and potentially harm an organization’s overall reputation. It could also make local employees feel disconnected from other regions and the central L&D team.
A combined “best of both worlds” approach
Generally, a strictly global approach lacks the nuance and customization that’s necessary for truly impactful training, but it offers consistent and brand-approved training at a lower cost. Strictly local training is more expensive and lacks the centralized control that leads to consistency, but it does offer local customization.
Combining the benefits of a local and global approach means massive cost savings and large return on investment that come with global scalability, the ability to quickly roll out new technologies downstream, the ease of upskilling and reskilling large numbers of employees, and the obvious increase in group competence, but without losing the advantages of a localized approach. The right mix of global and local strategies is the key to a balanced and effective training strategy. The goal is to maximize the return on investment that globalization provides while keeping the flexibility and customization that localization offers.
How do you combine these two different approaches to achieve a balance between local autonomy and global scale? The answer is to make training as global as possible but as local as necessary. Our best practices suggest breaking L&D out into three separate disciplines that are designed and delivered individually. For learning technology, it’s most efficient and effective to pick one technology provider and distribute that technology globally from the top down. For personal skills, it makes the most sense to design training globally but deliver it at the local level and if possible, in the local language. So it is for corporate values and corporate initiatives that require a maximum of consistency. Job – or region-specific programs should be designed and delivered at the local level then sent back up the chain as a best practice when the program is highly effective. The most important is to put in place a strong governance that ensures alignment between the corporate L&D teams and the local ones.
Tying it all together
CrossKnowledge can help you create and implement this “best of both worlds” strategy with the help of our team of experts, consultants and researchers from the field of (digital) pedagogy at the CrossKnowledge Academy. Our Academy team is dedicated to increasing the skills of L&D teams to help them deliver high impact learning solutions that drive skills acquisition and upskill their workforce at both a global and local level.