Why training intercultural competences is vital in today’s working world

Travelling abroad is the number one stop for getting out of your comfort zone and learning is guaranteed. Doing business abroad is similar, but working across countries is not an easy feat at times. You have to learn the ropes by trial and error but sometimes time is money and your boss at home doesn’t understand the challenges you are up against. 

Is your company constantly experiencing international miscommunication when working in a new country? Despite reading endless guides on how to do business with the UK, Germany, China etc., communication is laborious and your team doesn’t seem to be making progress at the speed your line manager at home expects.

How can HR and L&D professionals support their staff and encourage them to enhance their intercultural skills?

One effective way is by offering intercultural training – either in groups or individually, depending on requirements. It can focus on the country being dealt with in the form of cross-cultural training.  

The International Profiler 

This is where Worldwork’s TIP (The International Profiler) can be used as a coaching tool. TIP can be embedded into any intercultural training program and gives clients the chance to develop concrete skills.




What I personally love about this tool is that it doesn’t pigeonhole people in terms of national culture and personality which often can be the case with psychometric tools and cross-cultural training.  It is also developmental so it gives individuals the opportunity to look at their scores and see if they need to focus on particular competences to improve their communication across cultures or when dealing with one culture in particular.

For talent development programs in companies The International Profileris a great way of equipping high potentials with key cross-cultural competencies required to manage in a VUCA environment. 

So what is TIP and how does TIP work?

It is a questionnaire with 32 questions and generates a report with feedback providing:

  • structured discussion of this energy in light of present or future international challenges 
  • identification of three or four qualities requireing greater focus in the future
  • initiation of a development process involving creation of a ‘Personal Development Plan’ (PDP) by the participant

What intercultural competences does it look at?

All in all there are 22 competences that are seen as being beneficial when working internationally. They include:

  • openness 
  • flexibility 
  • personal autonomy, 
  • inner purpose
  • perceptiveness 
  • listening orientation
  • transparency
  • creating synergy

TIP looks at the relative energy and focus you put on these things at the moment and structured discussion of this energy in light of present or future international challenges. With the feedback you are able to see what are the benefits and disadvantages of your high or low scores.

How does intercultural training and TIP boost your CQ?

Intercultural training with using TIP as a starting point will help you to build trust, empower you with skills such as active listening and trust building when working abroad, it will also make your reflective awareness go through the roof. Maybe you’ve never had to really reflect on the way you come across as your management style has always worked in a domestic environment. 

Encouraging a more international perspective within an organisation is incredibly beneficial especially when it is looking to expand on a global scale. TIP is also a great can also help an HR department to see which areas training and development department needs to focus on. It can also be embedded as part of the on-boarding process for new employees joining a company of applied as part of a performance review process.

Why I value you TIP

I truly believe in this tool – having been through the relocation & repatriation process myself and working abroad regularly, there is always a competence that can be developed – we interculturalists also need to keep an eye on our perceptions and unconscious bias.

TIP has helped me focus on building resilience and find ways of coping whilst working internationally – it’s not always easy working away from home and managing a family  – plus spending time in hotel rooms sounds glamourous but TIP has helped me look at finding ways of coping on a daily basis. 

I have also become more aware about becoming clearer in my communication. Clarity is key in intercultural work – but getting the balance right between being clear and diplomatic is not always easy. Native speakers of English sometimes use too many words to say something simple when working with non-native speakers and this is something that causes miscommunication in the global working environment.

man in brown long sleeved button up shirt standing while using gray laptop computer on brown wooden table beside woman in gray long sleeved shirt sitting


Successful international teams

TIP takes the pain out of working in international teams, helps people to define goals and create a successfully diverse working environment.

TIP helps professionals “hit the ground running” when working in a new cultural location by providing them with a clear narrative of their own development needs. 

TIP gives you some hands on tips and a plan to develop our bouncing back skills. 

So that the next time your employees are sent abroad they can get on with the job and bring their team together, creating maximum potential out of the team they are working in. 

If you would like more information on The International Profiler and how it can boost the intercultural savviness of your workforce  please get in touch – I would be more than happy to discuss your company’s L & D requirements.

About the author: 

Vanessa has been training intercultural communication in various locations for around 14 years. She is accredited and licensed to deliver The International Profiler feedback report. According to TIP she herself scores highly on spirit of adventure and  flexible behaviour. The competences she feels she needs to develop at this point in time are clarity of communication and inner purpose.