ICF for Businesses - Main image

From first impressions to lasting partnerships, successful business in today’s global world is all about effective intercultural engagement. Equipping your staff with the right skills can make the crucial difference. 

How well staff can interact with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds, adapt to new multicultural working environments, and build rapport with international clients and partners, can be fundamental to how a company performs in local and international markets. Research shows that an increasing number of businesses globally consider intercultural skills to be a vital ingredient for success (see below).

Yet working in diverse contexts does not automatically make staff interculturally fluent. Operating effectively in these environments is a complex skill, requiring self-reflection, knowledge and understanding. Companies that support their staff to actively develop these skills within their professional development offer can benefit from higher performing culturally diverse teams, stronger internal and external relationships, and increased success in international markets. 

The British Council’s Intercultural Fluency training can equip your staff with the skills, confidence and awareness to perform at their best in any intercultural situation. The courses enable participants to develop a deeper understanding of cultural similarities and differences, helping them adapt their approach in different environments and avoid potential misunderstandings and conflicts in the workplace. 


Intercultural Fluency training

The British Council’s Intercultural Fluency courses give participants the tools and techniques they need to implement effective and trusted intercultural communication practices, enabling them to confidently adapt their approach in diverse multicultural environments. The courses are designed to match the needs of staff at all levels, including support staff, managers and company directors.

You and your staff will develop an understanding of cultural nuances, gain the skills to communicate effectively and build rapport in intercultural situations, and learn how to avoid common pitfalls when interacting with diverse business communities.

The business benefits of Intercultural Fluency

  • Increase the performance and productivity of multicultural teams
  • Support smoother integration of local and international staff
  • Build better relationships internally and externally, leading to stronger partnerships, improved customer service and increased sales
  • Enhance workplace harmony, worker satisfaction and staff retention
  • Compete better in diverse markets and expand into new territories
  • Recruit more effectively locally and internationally
  •  Avoid potential cultural misunderstandings that can lead to reputational risks and possible legal challenges.

About the British Council

We are in the business of building cultural relations. It’s what we’ve been doing for over 80 years between countries and cultures worldwide, helping people work together across cultural and geographical boundaries. Our locally based, expert trainers use their in-depth specialist knowledge to help your staff become experts in intercultural engagement.

The recognised value of Intercultural Fluency

- ‘Employees who possess a high level of cultural intelligence play an important role in bridging divides and knowledge gaps in an organization: educating their peers about different cultures; transferring knowledge between otherwise disparate groups; helping to build interpersonal connections and smooth the interpersonal processes in a multicultural workforce. Culturally intelligent employees also possess the potential to drive up innovation and creativity, due to their ability to integrate diverse resources and help the business make best use of the multiple perspectives that a multicultural workforce brings to the workplace.’ Forbes 2015

- Half of the executives interviewed for a report for the Economist believe that misunderstandings rooted in cultural differences present the greatest obstacle to productive cross-border collaboration and state that ineffective communication or collaboration have obstructed major international transactions, inevitably resulting in financial loss. The Economist Intelligence Unit 2012

- ‘As organizations become increasingly global, business success often hinges on a leader’s ability to bridge cultural differences and build a productive, cohesive workforce spanning multiple countries or regions. This presents a new set of challenges for HR professionals and other leaders.’ SHRM Foundation & The Economist Intelligence Unit Feb 2015

- ‘Over half (57 per cent) of UAE employers are actively seeking intercultural skills through their recruitment process and almost 60 per cent say they are likely to promote employees with these skills more quickly.’ The National UAE 2013

- The European Chamber of Commerce in China describes ‘cultural differences in management style’ as one of the top three barriers to doing business with Europe. European Chamber 2013

- ‘Two-thirds of teachers (63 percent), parents (63 percent) and Fortune 1000 executives (65 percent) think that the knowledge of other cultures and international issues is absolutely essential or very important to be ready for college and a career…’  Huffington Post 2011