Training July/August 2012 : Page 54

best practices Training Across Time Zones While time zone problems seem clear, being aware of the differences in time and reaching compromises to reconcile those differences will help make your training more effective. By NEal GooDMaN, Ph.D. major leader in the manufacturing in-dustry was poised to launch a new series of lessons for its leaders around the world. The sessions would take place in offices around the world but begin with a single teleconference for all participants to introduce the series. The organizers were proactive in converting the time zone difference for all participants, but unfor-tunately, they didn’t account for some (but not all) time zones observing Daylight Saving Time. As a result, nearly one-third of the participants Neal Goodman, Ph.D., called into the meeting an hour late. is president of Global When training across cultural and geograph-Dynamics, Inc., a ic areas, the importance of cultural differences training and development typically is top of mind. But simpler logistical firm specializing in issues, such as time zones, can ruin a training globalization, cultural intervention before it has even begun. While intelligence, effective time zone problems seem clear, being aware of the differences in time and reaching compro-virtual workplaces, and mises to reconcile those differences will help diversity and inclusion. make your training more effective. Here are He can be reached at some best practices to consider for dealing with 305.682.7883 and at time zones: ngoodman@global-• Rotate times. For an ongoing series of train-dynamics.com. For more ing sessions, rotating meeting times is a great information, visit www. way to ensure that training times are chosen global-dynamics.com . evenly and that the burden of making the required time isn’t too great for one side. Alternate convenient meeting times for each region involved. • Ensure participants are ready and motivated. Ideally, everyone should be fully prepared for a training session across time zones just as they would be if the participants were meeting in the same room. Sending training/reading materials, agendas, etc., in advance can help participants to get into the right mindset before the session begins and save time. • Keep sessions as short as possible. All partic-ipants should be ready to meet, and getting down to business quickly can keep the pro-cess as productive, enjoyable, and painless as possible. • Introductions should include each person’s time zone. Along with all the other relevant 54 A contact information that is needed, establish-ing each person’s time zone right away makes group collaboration easier for everyone. • Integrate polling to keep people engaged. Poll-ing helps to make everyone feel involved in the decision-making process regardless of how far away they may be from others. • Make sure tech support is available. There are several options currently available that allow for quick and easy virtual training sessions, but regardless of which you choose, make sure tech support can be readily accessed to keep things running smoothly in case problems arise. • Use UTC (a.k.a., GMT) to avoid Daylight Sav-ing Time. Much of North America and Europe practice Daylight Saving Time, but the prac-tice is not nearly as common in other areas of the world, and the dates when times change can differ. Setting meeting times using UTC can help avoid confusion. • Use multiple technologies. Phone calls and tele-conferencing may not be convenient at all possible times. Other technologies, such as group chat and other online tools, can provide some viable alternatives to allow for easier train-ing session set-ups. • Rest when preparing for a trip. Preparing to travel for that big in-person meeting requires you to be as sharp as possible to make the best impression. Rest is essential to minimize the effects of jet lag and help you adjust the rest of your patterns and schedule when you arrive. Also, ensure you are well rested to compensate for time differences in the event that you are training when it would be the middle of the night in your own time zone. Global Dynamics’ Website (http://www.global-dynamics.com/resources) has a resources page that has several handy links to help you with your international business needs. This includes links to global time references, international dates/holidays, and tools such as global meet-t ing planners. n www.trainingmag.com | JULY/AUGUST 2012 training

Best Practices

Neal Goodman

Training Across Time Zones

While time zone problems seem clear, being aware of the differences in time and reaching compromises to reconcile those differences will help make your training more effective.

A major leader in the manufacturing industry was poised to launch a new series of lessons for its leaders around the world. The sessions would take place in offices around the world but begin with a single teleconference for all participants to introduce the series. The organizers were proactive in converting the time zone difference for all participants, but unfortunately, they didn’t account for some (but not all) time zones observing Daylight Saving Time. As a result, nearly one-third of the participants called into the meeting an hour late.

When training across cultural and geographic areas, the importance of cultural differences typically is top of mind. But simpler logistical issues, such as time zones, can ruin a training intervention before it has even begun. While time zone problems seem clear, being aware of the differences in time and reaching compromises to reconcile those differences will help make your training more effective. Here are some best practices to consider for dealing with time zones:

• Rotate times. For an ongoing series of training sessions, rotating meeting times is a great way to ensure that training times are chosen evenly and that the burden of making the required time isn’t too great for one side. Alternate convenient meeting times for each region involved.

• Ensure participants are ready and motivated. Ideally, everyone should be fully prepared for a training session across time zones just as they would be if the participants were meeting in the same room. Sending training/reading materials, agendas, etc., in advance can help participants to get into the right mindset before the session begins and save time.

• Keep sessions as short as possible. All participants should be ready to meet, and getting down to business quickly can keep the process as productive, enjoyable, and painless as possible.

• Introductions should include each person’s time zone. Along with all the other relevant contact information that is needed, establishing each person’s time zone right away makes group collaboration easier for everyone.

• Integrate polling to keep people engaged. Polling helps to make everyone feel involved in the decision-making process regardless of how far away they may be from others.

• Make sure tech support is available. There are several options currently available that allow for quick and easy virtual training sessions, but regardless of which you choose, make sure tech support can be readily accessed to keep things running smoothly in case problems arise.

• Use UTC (a.k.a., GMT) to avoid Daylight Saving Time. Much of North America and Europe practice Daylight Saving Time, but the practice is not nearly as common in other areas of the world, and the dates when times change can differ. Setting meeting times using UTC can help avoid confusion.

• Use multiple technologies. Phone calls and teleconferencing may not be convenient at all possible times. Other technologies, such as group chat and other online tools, can provide some viable alternatives to allow for easier training session set-ups.

• Rest when preparing for a trip. Preparing to travel for that big in-person meeting requires you to be as sharp as possible to make the best impression. Rest is essential to minimize the effects of jet lag and help you adjust the rest of your patterns and schedule when you arrive. Also, ensure you are well rested to compensate for time differences in the event that you are training when it would be the middle of the night in your own time zone.

Global Dynamics’ Website (http://www.globaldynamics. com/resources) has a resources page that has several handy links to help you with your international business needs. This includes links to global time references, international dates/holidays, and tools such as global meeting planners.

Read the full article at http://pubs.royle.com/article/Best+Practices/1113235/118254/article.html.

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