“Developing Intercultural Skills in Business Environment” was a project which took place from 2012 to 2014 in Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Hungary and the United Kingdom.
The main aim of this project was to develop the skills of business trainers when it comes to working with intercultural groups, operating both as freelance trainers and as employees of HR departments of private companies. In order to do so, the project’s final results was a guide on Managing Intercultural Groups in Business Training. This guide focused primarily on the topics of ‘Cultural Differences’, ‘Intercultural Communication’ and ‘Conflict Management’. Furthermore, it includes examples of working practices from all the countries involved, aiming to give a better perspective of how businesses are being conducted across the EU, and to help business leaders improve their working environments.
This project was initially developed due to the fact that the demand for intercultural competences is growing in Europe. Moreover, the concepts of labour mobility, cooperation among countries and competitiveness of European business, increase the need for sensitive working practices. Therefore, in a culturally complex setting, it is necessary to be able to choose the adequate working and communication strategies.
The project was carried out throughout several stages. Although this resulted in some obstacles and challenges being created, the cooperation between the organisations remained strong thanks to the creation of a platform dedicated to communication and cooperation. As a result, the outcomes were always met. First, the partners started by conducting research in their countries by paying attention to problems faced by companies when employing and including people from different cultural backgrounds in their teams (religion, language, nationality, etc). Secondly, each partner dedicated themselves to a specific sub-topic for the guide mentioned above, which included: intercultural communication; cultural differences; intercultural group dynamics; conflict management and the implication of this report on the countries. In addition to this, each partner included examples of working practices from their own countries so as to give a better perspective on how businesses are being conducted across the EU, and to help business leaders improve their working environments.
Overall, the project achieved its goals, which included: 1) establishing cooperation between freelance business trainers and HR specialists working in companies, public authorities and other organisations in Europe; 2) successfully exchanging experiences of defining and implementing training and development strategies for groups of culturally diverse employees; 3) collecting good practices on implementing successful trainings for international groups of employees.