Do you have a Cultural Exchange program?

Last updated by Tiago Araújo [SSW] 11 months ago.See history

Software can't be built by a single developer anymore, there is always a team involved. Often, those teams consist of people in different geographies. Therefore, it's a social enterprise, and it's essential that teams made of people in different geographical locations can bond and work well together. These multinational teams must communicate and empathize with stakeholders from different cultural backgrounds.

Video: Come Visit Us - the SSW Cultural Exchange Program (5 min)

If you have offices across different countries or cultural boundaries, a Cultural Exchange program can help those teams bond. When these teams work on projects together, it can help improve communication, both with each other and their clients too.

How to implement a cultural exchange program

For example, in the SSW Cultural Exchange program employees (and their families) work from an international office for 2 months. Ideally, during this time, they will be booked for a local client (e.g. if they choose China, they will be booked for a Chinese client).

They immerse themselves in the local office and community by participating in extra-curricular activities, such as:

  • Company retreats (depends on the timing)
  • Present or attend User Groups
  • Team events and outings (like team dinners, board game parties, etc.)
  • Language classes
  • Weekend cultural events (e.g. local festivals)

Tip: Encourage your employees to bring their family too. See: Ruby Cogan - Life in China is not boring for a high school student and Adam Cogan - Luckin Coffee vs Starbucks

Alternate the countries

It's important to diversify your cultural experiences - don't pick the same country for a Cultural Exchange 2x in a row. If you are usually based in France and you picked Australia for your last Cultural Exchange, your next Cultural Exchange should be a different country (if your company has offices in more than 2 countries).

Costs

This can take a lot of planning so encourage your employees to think about it as early as possible. If possible, cover 50% of the cost of your employees' flights and accommodation (and their family, if they want to bring them).

Tip: Put your house on Airbnb while you're away

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